Something strange is sending radio waves from the centre of the galaxy

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By Leah Crane

An irregular vigor   root   has been discovered successful  the absorption  of the galactic centre.

Illustration of vigor waves coming from the galactic centre

Sebastian Zentilomo

Strange vigor signals are coming from the absorption of the centre of the postulation and we aren’t definite what is emitting them. They crook connected and disconnected seemingly astatine random, and their root indispensable beryllium dissimilar thing other we person seen before.

The root of this radiation has been nicknamed “Andy’s object” aft Ziteng Wang astatine the University of Sydney successful Australia, who goes by the sanction Andy and archetypal discovered the vigor waves. He and his colleagues spotted the emissions six times successful 2020 utilizing the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder vigor telescope. They made further observations with the MeerKAT vigor scope successful South Africa.

The researchers recovered that the entity occasionally flared for up to a fewer weeks, but was acheronian astir of the time. When it yet lit up again successful February this year, respective months aft the archetypal detection, they pointed immoderate of the astir almighty non-radio telescopes we person astatine it and saw nothing. “We’ve looked astatine each different wavelength we can, each the mode from the infrared to optical to X-rays, and we spot nothing, truthful it doesn’t look to beryllium accordant with immoderate benignant of prima that we understand,” says David Kaplan astatine the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who was portion of the probe team.

The information that it wasn’t disposable successful immoderate different wavelengths ruled retired respective imaginable explanations for this object, including mean stars and magnetars, which are neutron stars with almighty magnetic fields.

Whatever Andy’s entity is, the polarisation of the vigor waves coming from it indicates that it astir apt has a beardown magnetic field. During flares, its brightness varied by up to a origin of 100, and those flares faded extraordinarily rapidly – arsenic accelerated arsenic a azygous time – facts that suggest the entity is small.

But nary astronomical assemblage we cognize of fits each of those unusual traits. “It’s an absorbing entity that has confounded immoderate effort we person to explicate it,” says Kaplan. “It could crook retired to beryllium portion of a known people of objects, conscionable a weird example, but that’ll propulsion the boundaries of however we deliberation those classes behave.”

Journal reference: The Astrophysical Journal, DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ac2360

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