Discovery: A radio transient with unusually slow periodic emission

In summary, N. Hurley-Walker, X. Zhang et.al's study has revealed a mysterious, highly polarized, and periodic radio transient that has never been observed before. The object, which pulses every 18.18 minutes, is thought to be an ultra-long-period magnetar located within our own Galaxy. This discovery highlights the potential for further exploration of the low-frequency radio sky and the potential for more unusual and unexpected finds.
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Discovery: A radio transient with unusually slow periodic emission
Paper: N. Hurley-Walker, X. Zhang et.al, A radio transient with unusually slow periodic emission (Nature, 26 January 2022)

Abstract:

The high-frequency radio sky is bursting with synchrotron transients from massive stellar explosions and accretion events, but the low-frequency radio sky has, so far, been quiet beyond the Galactic pulsar population and the long-term scintillation of active galactic nuclei. The low-frequency band, however, is sensitive to exotic coherent and polarized radio-emission processes, such as electron-cyclotron maser emission from flaring M dwarfs, stellar magnetospheric plasma interactions with exoplanets and a population of steep-spectrum pulsars, making Galactic-plane searches a prospect for blind-transient discovery. Here we report an analysis of archival low-frequency radio data that reveals a periodic, low-frequency radio transient. We find that the source pulses every 18.18 min, an unusual periodicity that has, to our knowledge, not been observed previously. The emission is highly linearly polarized, bright, persists for 30–60 s on each occurrence and is visible across a broad frequency range. At times, the pulses comprise short-duration (<0.5 s) bursts; at others, a smoother profile is observed. These profiles evolve on timescales of hours. By measuring the dispersion of the radio pulses with respect to frequency, we have localized the source to within our own Galaxy and suggest that it could be an ultra-long-period magnetar.

Article: Mysterious object unlike anything astronomers have seen before (EurekAlert!/AAAS)

Interesting, I think. :smile:
 
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Astronomers have discovered a mysterious object that is unlike anything they have ever seen before. The object, which pulses with radio waves every 18.18 minutes, was spotted using archival low-frequency radio data collected from the Galactic plane.The object was found to be highly linearly polarized, bright, and visible across a broad frequency range. At times, its pulses comprise short-duration (<0.5 second) bursts; at others, a smoother profile is observed. These profiles evolve on timescales of hours.By measuring the dispersion of the radio pulses with respect to frequency, astronomers localized the source to within our own Galaxy and suggest that it could be an ultra-long-period magnetar.The findings were recently published in Nature by a team of researchers led by Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker and Dr. Xin Zhang.The team hopes the discovery of this new type of radio transient will catalyze further research into the low-frequency radio sky. In addition, they suggest that a dedicated survey of the Galactic plane may uncover additional examples of this peculiar and unique object.
 

Related to Discovery: A radio transient with unusually slow periodic emission

1. What is a radio transient?

A radio transient is a sudden, short-lived burst of radio emission that occurs in the sky. It is a type of astronomical event that can be observed by radio telescopes.

2. What is periodic emission?

Periodic emission refers to a pattern of regular and repeated bursts of radio emission. In the case of this discovery, the periodic emission has an unusually slow frequency, meaning the bursts occur at longer intervals than expected.

3. How was this discovery made?

This discovery was made using a radio telescope, which is a specialized instrument that detects and measures radio waves from space. The telescope picked up the unusual slow periodic emission and scientists analyzed the data to confirm the discovery.

4. What could be causing this slow periodic emission?

There are several potential explanations for this phenomenon, including a binary star system, a pulsating star, or a rotating neutron star. Further research and observations will be needed to determine the exact cause.

5. Why is this discovery significant?

This discovery is significant because it adds to our understanding of the universe and the different types of astronomical events that can occur. It also raises new questions and avenues for research in the field of astrophysics.

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