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Judi Lynn

(160,512 posts)
Wed Sep 8, 2021, 11:01 PM Sep 2021

Strange, repeating radio signal near the center of the Milky Way has scientists stumped

By Brandon Specktor about 8 hours ago

It's not a fast radio burst, pulsar or low-mass star. So what in the heavens is it?

The center of the Milky Way, as seen by NASA's Chandra, Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. (Image credit: NASA / JPL)

Astronomers have detected a strange, repeating radio signal near the center of the Milky Way, and it's unlike any other energy signature ever studied.

According to a new paper accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal and posted on the preprint server arXiv, the energy source is extremely finicky, appearing bright in the radio spectrum for weeks at a time and then completely vanishing within a day. This behavior doesn't quite fit the profile of any known type of celestial body, the researchers wrote in their study, and thus may represent "a new class of objects being discovered through radio imaging."

The radio source — known as ASKAP J173608.2−321635 — was detected with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope, situated in the remote Australian outback. In an ASKAP survey taken between April 2019 and August 2020, the strange signal appeared 13 times, never lasting in the sky for more than a few weeks, the researchers wrote. This radio source is highly variable, appearing and disappearing with no predictable schedule, and doesn't seem to appear in any other radio telescope data prior to the ASKAP survey.

When the researchers tried to match the energy source with observations from other telescopes — including the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, as well as the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy in Chile, which can pick up near-infrared wavelengths — the signal disappeared entirely. With no apparent emissions in any other part of the electromagnetic spectrum, ASKAP J173608.2−321635 is a radio ghost that seems to defy explanation.


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Strange, repeating radio signal near the center of the Milky Way has scientists stumped (Original Post) Judi Lynn Sep 2021 OP
K n R ! Thanks for posting!... JoeOtterbein Sep 2021 #1
It's not aliens... Moebym Sep 2021 #2
I doubt it lol cstanleytech Sep 2021 #5
I was being cheeky, lol n/t Moebym Sep 2021 #7
I know :) cstanleytech Sep 2021 #8
Fascinating! SheltieLover Sep 2021 #3
Sounds like the opening scene wnylib Sep 2021 #4
Could be dweller Sep 2021 #6
Artefact? scipan Sep 2021 #9
Measurement error perhaps if only one telescope detects it. Irish_Dem Sep 2021 #10
New Top 42 station Wicked Blue Sep 2021 #11


(26,273 posts)
5. I doubt it lol
Thu Sep 9, 2021, 01:51 AM
Sep 2021

After all radio as a means of communication at interstellar distances is extremely impractical.
No, if there is any more advanced civilization that is interstellar capable they are either going to be using some type of communication network which we cannot detect at this time or courier ships for communicating.

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