Astronomers have discovered a mysterious object never seen before.
Observations of the “creepy” item showed that it gave off a huge burst of energy three times an hour.
As it spins through space, the strange object emits a ray and is one of the brightest objects in the sky for a minute every twenty minutes.
The researchers believe the object could be a neutron star or a white dwarf — a collapsed stellar core — with an ultra-strong magnetic field.
The astrophysicist Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker of Curtin University, International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Australia led the team that made the discovery.
She said: “This object appeared and disappeared during our observations over a few hours.
“It was totally unexpected. It was kind of creepy to an astronomer because nothing in the sky is known to do that.
“And it’s really quite close to us – about 4,000 light-years away. It’s in our galactic backyard.”
dr Hurley-Walker added that the observations are consistent with a predicted astrophysical object dubbed an “ultra-long period magnetar.”
She explained: “It is a type of slowly rotating neutron star that has been theoretically predicted to exist.
“But nobody expected to see something like this directly because we didn’t expect them to be so bright.
“Somehow it converts magnetic energy into radio waves much more effectively than anything we’ve seen before.”
Curtin University student Tyrone O’Doherty discovered the object with the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope in outback Western Australia.
He said: “It’s exciting that the source I identified last year has turned out to be such a strange object.”
Objects that turn on and off in the universe are not new, and astronomers call them transients.
The results will be published in nature Diary.