Science & Tech

Scientists confused by space object sending radio waves every 21 minutes for decades

Scientists confused by space object sending radio waves every 21 minutes for decades
Astronomer Identify Earth-Like Planet Emitting Repeating Radio Signals In Nearby Star System

For all the advancements in the world of science, there’s still so much yet to be explained.

One of those odd things that continues to baffle experts is a mysterious object which sends radio waves every 21 minutes.

The really strange thing is, it’s been doing the same thing for 45 years and astronomers are still unsure about what it could be.

They do believe that the pattern of the signals is not from a technologically advanced alien race, but experts have stated that they’re too powerful to be anything we know and can easily recognise.

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The unknown object continues to baffle scientists, but a recent discovery might just shine a light on the strange signals.

Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker of Curtin University and her PhD student Tyrone O'Doherty were researching data from 2018 from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) when they came across a similar pattern of signals.

What could the signals mean?iStock

The pair found an object, catchily titled (GLEAM-X) J162759.5-523504.3, that sporadically gave off signals every 18 minutes over the course of three months.

When they went back to it, though, it had stopped giving off the signals. They were left just as baffled with the newly discovered object as they were with the first, and they couldn’t find an explanation.

However, that changed when they observed a third object emitting similar signals in real time. It’s been suggested that the new object, called GCRT J1745–3009, could be a neuron star – objects with such strong magnetic fields that they cause radio pulses. However, the true nature of GCRT J1745–3009 is far from clear.

Hurley-Walker said in a statement: "This remarkable object challenges our understanding of neutron stars and magnetars, which are some of the most exotic and extreme objects in the Universe."

A new paper published in Nature also suggests that the original object, GPM J1839–10, could possibly be a highly magnetised white dwarf. However, the closest comparison we have with signals from white dwarfs are a thousand times weaker.

As ever, there remain many mysteries in the world of science that have yet to be truly deciphered.

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