Mystery radio waves coming from the heart of the Milky Way stump scientists

By Post reporter

Space experts have found unusual radio waves coming from the centre of the Milky Way galaxy. 

The energy signal is unlike any phenomenon studied before.

It could suggest a previously unknown stellar object, according to a new study.

The brightness of the object varies dramatically, and the signal switches on and off apparently at random, said Ziteng Wang, lead author of the new study in The Astrophysical Journal and a doctoral student in the School of Physics at The University of Sydney.

“The strangest property of this new signal is that it has a very high polarisation. This means its light oscillates in only one direction, but that direction rotates with time,” he said.

The team initially thought it could be a pulsar – a very dense type of rapidly spinning neutron (dead) star.

Or speculation is that it could be a type of star that emits huge solar flares. 

The signals from this new source of radio waves, however, don’t match what astronomers expect from these types of stars.

The group of signals, collectively called ASKAP J173608.2-321635 after their coordinates, suggest a new class of stellar object, according to the experts. 

They were discovered using the ASKAP radio telescope.

What’s weird is the signal flickers on and off at irregular intervals for weeks at a time, before suddenly ‘switching off’ and going dark – something that does not align with any known space objects, the experts reveal. 

Our Solar System is part of the Milky Way galaxy, but our Sun is just one of about 200 billion stars in the Milky Way.

And astronomers have discovered more than 3,200 other stars with planets orbiting them in the Milky Way.

The Milky Way is also just one of billions of galaxies in the universe.