Strange Radio Signal From Deep Space Baffles Scientists : ScienceAlert | Space

We’ve received a strange signal from across the galaxy, and astronomers are struggling to understand what it means.

They know what’s emitting the signals. It’s a neutron star named ASKAP J193505.1+214841.0 (ASKAP J1935+2148 for short), located in the plane of the Milky Way, some 15,820 light-years from Earth.

But the signals themselves are like none we’ve ever seen before. The star goes through periods of strong pulses, periods of weak pulses, and periods of no pulses at all.

What we don’t know, according to a team led by astrophysicist Manisha Caleb of the University of Sydney in Australia, is why. The strange object poses a fascinating challenge to our models of neutron star evolution – which, let’s be honest, are currently pretty far from complete.

A neutron star is what’s left after a star within a certain mass range dies, between about 8 and 30 times the mass of the Sun. The star’s outer material is blasted off into space, culminating in a supernova explosion.

The leftover core of the star collapses under gravity, forming an ultra dense object up to 2.3 times the mass of the Sun, in a sphere just 20 kilometers (12 miles) across.

The neutron star that results can then present in a variety of ways. There’s the base neutron star, which just hangs out not doing a great deal. There’s the pulsar, which sweeps beams of radio emission from its poles as it rotates, flashing…


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