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Scientists have caught a radio signal, coming from the middle of the Milky Way

Scientists say the recently captured signal may come from an astronomical object that we do not yet know.

Unusual radio waves have been captured by scientists, presumably from the middle of the Milky Way. Experts have found, after initial investigations, that the peculiar signal is different from any phenomenon currently known. Scientists believe a hitherto unknown astronomical object could be the source.

According to a study in the scientific journal The Astrophysical Journal, the brightness of a specific object changes significantly and, based on the current state, appears to turn on and off randomly.

Illustration. © NSF LIGO Sonoma State University / A. Simonnet

“The strongest feature of a signal is that it oscillates (vibrates) in only one direction, but that direction changes continuously over time,” quoted Ziteng Wangot, lead author of the study at CNN.

Scientists first thought they were dealing with a very fast-rotating neutron star, possibly a type of star that produces enormous eruptions. However, captured radio signals do not have a property that may be characteristic of such stars.

The object, named ASKAP J173608.2-321635 based on the coordinates, is also unique, according to Tara Murphy, a scientist at the University of Sydney. It first began to light up, then faded, and then became brighter again. Scientists have therefore tried to observe the source using several radio telescopes but have not been particularly successful. Researchers believe a radio telescope known as the Square Kilometer Network will help solve the mystery but will only be operational at total capacity from 2024 onwards.

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