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Scientists say they have discovered an object that emits bursts of radio energy

Story at a glance

  • Australian researchers recently discovered an object releasing periodic bursts of radio energy out in the Western Australia outback.
  • Over a 24-hour period, researchers noticed the object emitting bursts of radio energy roughly every 20 minutes over a several hour period.
  • More research is needed to figure out what the object is but some believe it could be a type of dead star.

Australian scientists have discovered an unknown spinning object in the Milky Way galaxy.  

Scientists who were observing the object over a 24-hour period, noticed that over the course of a few hours it released large bursts of radio energy roughly every 20 minutes before disappearing, according to NBC News.  

The object was discovered by Curtin University Honours student Tyrone O’Doherty with a telescope and a new technique he developed, according to the BBC.  


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O’Doherty is part of a research team led by astrophysicist Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker at the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Perth, the publication added.  

“It was kind of spooky for an astronomer because there’s nothing known in the sky that does that,” said Dr. Hurley-Walker, according to NBC. The discovery was written about in a study published this week in the scientific journal Nature. 

What O’Doherty observed is also known as a radio transient, when an object occasional emits bursts of radio signs, and has been seen before by researchers but typically for just seconds for milliseconds not over several hours, Hurley-Walker told the publication.  

Researchers are working to find out more about the object and the long radio signal bursts, but some believe it could be a “ultra-long period magnetar,” a type of dead star with a strong magnetic field.  


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