Astronomers have detected a strangely strong signal in the Milky Way galaxy on April 28, seemingly flaring with a single, millisecond-long burst of incredibly bright radio waves which has never been observed before and could’ve been even detected from another galaxy. And finding where they came from has been largely a mystery and a topic of debate for the past one week. The perplexity is among scientists all around the globe.
The signal, a millisecond-wave bursts of radio waves, was traced back to a Milky Way magnetar, a type of neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field. The magnetar suddenly lit up, sending out a gargantuan millisecond-long burst of bright radio waves, picked up by astronomers on April 28.
Astronomers suggest the signal may have originated as a result of massive, shifting gravitational forces causing a starquake or magnetar flare, a disturbance in the magnetic field surrounding it.
Fast radio bursts (FRB) have raised far more questions about the universe than they can answer. The first FRB-s were observed nearly a decade ago and since then, scientists and astronomers have been making rigorous urges to know about what is causing them. They’re extremely unpredictable, despite some of them releasing more energy than 500 million suns. They don’t seem to have a pattern to them and last for only a tiny fraction of a second.
“Something like this has never been seen before”, said Shrinivas Kulkarni, an astronomer at Caltech.
In addition to this the astronomers also saw something else they had never seen in an extragalactic FRB, and that’s the X-ray counterpart. These are quite common in magnetar outbursts, of course. In fact, it is far more normal for magnetars to emit X-ray and gamma radiation than radio waves.
Well, of course there are more findings to do on the same, and whatever might be the results of this intrigue-some burst, it’s already taking us a step closer toward discovering new realms of the universe.
Who knows, we’re step closer to aliens!