The Milky Way’s center has just been identified to emit a powerful new radio wave signal. Because the emitting item does not match any known things, scientists have been unable to pinpoint its nature.
An international team of researchers led by astronomers from the University of Sydney named the signal’ASKAP J173608.2-321635.’ This was discovered six times between January and September 2020. It was inactive for a period after that until reappearing on February 7.
The finding was made possible by the use of Australia’s Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), a radio telescope array designed to explore cosmic magnetism, map black holes, and look into the origins of galaxies. This radio telescope is one of the world’s most sensitive.
So yet, nothing has been discovered.
The strange light emanating from the galaxy’s core perplexes astronomers since it does not appear to belong to any known radio source category.
The ASKAP source, J173608.2–321635, does not appear to behave like any other known source of similar radiation. It can also only be seen in radio waves rather than visible, infrared, or X-ray wavelengths.
“We present the discovery and characterization of ASKAP J173608.2–321635, a highly polarized fluctuating radio source near the Galactic Center with no clear multi-wavelength counterpart.” ASKAP J173608.2–321635, according to the researchers, might be part of a new class of objects discovered by radio imaging examinations.
Some hints were turned down.
In their hunt for the source of this odd radiation, astronomers have already ruled out a few possibilities. It isn’t, for example, an eruptive star. Because an X-ray field emission would accompany the radio transmission. It’s also not a pulsar with a much more regular frequency than ASKAP J173608.2-321635.
Since it has never been spotted in X-rays, near-infrared scans, or old radio data files confirmed by University of Sydney researchers, the source is extraordinarily mysterious. This eliminates the possibility of a supernova, pulsar, or burning star, which were previously assumed to be the culprits.
According to astronomers, ASKAP J173608.2-321635 is also strongly polarized. This suggests that both diffusion and magnetization are present.
ASKAP J173608.2-321635, on the other hand, has certain features with Galactic Core Radio Transients (GCRT), a signal type found in the 2000s that is also emitted from the Milky Way’s core.
For the time being, the researchers aim to continue their investigation and compare their findings to those from other fields in order to “better grasp how really odd ASKAP J173608.2-321635 is and if it is connected to the galactic plane.” All of this was done in the hopes of determining what it was.