Scientists Detect Mysterious Cosmic Signal for Over 30 Years
In our Galaxy, a puzzling radio source has been discovered, pulsating regularly every 21 minutes for three decades, forming a unique and unprecedented pattern never before observed in space. According to research published in the journal Nature, these enigmatic signals likely originate from an exotic, deceased star located approximately 15,000 light-years away from Earth.
This enigmatic radio source has been named GPM J1839-10, and it stands out as unlike anything previously observed. Currently, scientists have no explanation for all the peculiar characteristics exhibited by this radio source.
GPM J1839-10 was first spotted in 2022 during a study of transient phenomena in the Milky Way using the Murchison Widefield Array radio observation project. Its pulsations differ from other cosmic radio pulses, which typically last from a few seconds to a minute. In an active state, GPM J1839-10 maintains its pulsations every 21 minutes, and each pulsation can last from 30 to 300 seconds.
While some radio pulsars and magnetars (types of dead stars that rotate rapidly and emit bursts of light) are associated with numerous radio transient processes, GPM J1839-10 displays features resembling those of magnetar flares, despite its slow rotation. This makes it unique and unlike any known radio sources in the Universe.
Researchers speculate that the signals may have been generated by another type of dead star known as a "white dwarf," which is significantly larger than pulsars and magnetars and possesses an extremely strong magnetic field capable of creating observable radio emission patterns.
However, the investigation of this unusual radio source will continue for a long time to come in order to unravel its mysteries and understand its origin. The discovery of these pulsations suggests the possible existence of other hidden radio sources that regularly repeat over very long time intervals.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is a collaborative project of an international consortium of organizations dedicated to the creation and operation of a low-frequency radio telescope array. The "Widefield" refers to its large field of view (approximately 30 degrees in diameter). Operating in the frequency range of 70-300 MHz, MWA's main scientific objectives include detecting neutral hydrogen atomic emission from the cosmological epoch of reionization (EoR), studying the Sun, heliosphere, Earth's ionosphere, and radio transient phenomena, as well as mapping the extragalactic radio sky. It is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia.