Scientists have intercepted strange signals from space. They fly to Earth and are relatively close – Archyde

NASA has unleashed creepy sounds from space. A shiver runs down their spines

The unknown “something” has been dubbed GLEAM-X J162759.5-523504.3 by astronomers. So far, they think it’s most likely one of two types of dead stars: either a type of ultramagnetic neutron star called a magnetar, or — less likely — a heavily magnetized white dwarf.

If the first assumption is correct, this would be the first time a very long pulse repetition magnetar, known as an ultralong magnetar, has been discovered. The study on this topic was published in a journal nature.

It shone like a lighthouse

Objects that pulsate more or less regularly are actually quite common in the Universe. This includes anything that unexpectedly and dramatically alters its clarity. These phenomena, called transients, include everything from supernovae to star-rending black holes to stellar outbursts.

Pulsars or rotating neutron stars that emit electromagnetic radiation also belong to this group. These stars rotate extremely rapidly and emit bright beams of radio emissions from their poles, making them appear like a lighthouse as they orbit the earth. However, the duration of these rotations and thus also of the impulses is usually in the range from seconds to milliseconds.

Zdroj: Vimeo

In contrast, astronomers in space have never seen anything like GLEAM-X J162759.5-523504.3. The mysterious object only appeared in data from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) low-frequency radio telescope in Western Australia. This radio telescope is made up of thousands of spider dipole antennas scattered across the desert.

In data collected by this radio telescope between January and March 2018, astronomers found 71 pulses from the same spot in the sky. They analyzed the signal, tracked its position, and found that whatever the object was, it was smaller than the Sun and very bright. They also found that its radiation is highly polarized, suggesting that the source of this radiation has an extremely strong magnetic field.

It will likely be a magnetar

This indicates that the pulsing object is a magnetar. As mentioned, it’s a type of neutron star, a collapsed, dead core of a once-massive star up to 2.3 times the mass of our Sun, encased in an ultradense sphere.

For such a star to form a magnetar, it has to have an absolutely insane magnetic field. These magnetic structures are about a thousand times stronger than a typical neutron star and quadrillion times stronger than Earth’s magnetic field. We don’t know how or why they form, but recent evidence suggests they evolved from pulsars.

Ultralong periodic magnetars could be an evolved form of magnetars that have significantly slowed their rotation over time. But until now it was possible to really record them, nobody believed in it, it was considered impossible.

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“Nobody would have ever expected to be able to discover something like this. We never thought the pulses would be so bright. Perhaps the object converts magnetic energy into radio waves in a much more efficient way than we previously knew,” says Hurley Walker.

It’s still possible that the object is something other than a magnetar, such as a white dwarf. However, according to researchers, its profile best matches what one would expect from an ultra-long-period magnetar.

It’s also worth noting that during the eight years of operation of the MWA radio telescope, scientists only recorded the activity of GLEAM-X J162759.5-523504.3 after the two-month period in 2018. There are many possible explanations: It could be so. The activity of this object is manifesting in a way that the technical possibilities of contemporary astronomy are not sufficient for, so that we simply cannot capture it. However, it is also possible that the radio telescope experienced an unusual explosion. These two reasons may explain why we have never found anything like this.

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Scientists continue to monitor the portion of the sky to see if the object becomes visible again. They also suggest that it would be good if this area was monitored using other radio wavelengths. At the same time, they want to look for other similar objects.

“Further discoveries will tell astronomers whether this is a rare, one-off event or a huge new population that we’ve never noticed before,” concludes Hurley-Walker.

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