A strange signal from space.  It is not known what its source is

When a massive star reaches the end of its life, it collapses under its own weight and then explodes, flinging its outer layers into space. All that remains of a massive star is a compact, small, high-mass object. Depending on the mass of the primary star, it is either a black hole or a neutron star. Many of these things have already been observed.

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As a rule, neutron stars, which are only 20 kilometers in diameter and have a mass equivalent to 1-2 that of the Sun, rotate very quickly around their axis. Many are able to complete a full rotation in less than one second, and a few rotate at an astonishing speed of several hundred times per second. We know this because with each rotation, such a star emits a beam of radio radiation, which, like a lighthouse, sweeps across the star’s surroundings, sending another radio pulse toward Earth with each rotation.

However, now scientists analyzing data from the ASKAP and MeerKAT radio telescopes in Australia have discovered an object whose behavior is unlike any known neutron star.

The ASKAP radio telescope observed an object sending a 10- to 50-second long radio pulse toward Earth, then a 26 times weaker signal lasting 370 milliseconds, then pausing for about an hour. It is difficult to imagine the source of such a signal.

ASKAP J1935+2148, because that is the catalog number for this object, resembles a pulsar in many respects. The problem is that a pulsar with a rotation period of 53.8 minutes is not what scientists expected to find in space.

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As if that wasn’t enough, after observing the object for eight months, scientists noticed that the sequence of radio radiation it emits was gradually evolving. Then we can say that this body is undergoing some kind of transformation.

The situation is interesting because scientists still have difficulty explaining how neutron stars emit radio radiation. In some cases, this radiation can be explained at least in part. But this explanation does not fit with the “slow pulsar” discovered by the ASKAP radio telescope.

Source: ICRAR/ASKAP, Kim Steele

This object may have been misidentified

Some scientists point out that in this case we are not dealing with a neutron star, but rather with a white dwarf, that is, the remains of a sun-like star. However, if so, it must be a white dwarf with an extremely strong magnetic field. As you might imagine, such a strong magnetic field in a white dwarf has never been observed before, although the laws of physics do not prohibit the existence of such things. It is also possible that we are dealing here with a binary system consisting of a pulsar or a white dwarf. So there are many options.

More observational data from radio telescopes around the world will be needed to determine the true identity of the emitter of these remarkable and unusual radio signals.

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