what is it? Astronomers are puzzled. It’s a strange, repetitive radio signal and it’s coming from space. It could be a rare object never encountered before. What is the source of the mysterious Milky Way signal?
The signal has been named GLEAM-X. It could be a white dwarf radio pulsar, although this theory has not yet been tested.
“From the earliest days of pulsar astronomy one can speculate this. A rotating magnetic white dwarf showing pulsar-like activity.” Astrophysicist Jonathan Katz of the University of Washington explained.
The study published says that it is a candidate to be the first real white dwarf pulsar. It has a period of 18.18 minutes. Its pulses show low-frequency emission. It has no binary companion with which it can interact. Therefore, it meets the criteria of a classical pulsar, although its period is hundreds of times longer than that of any of them.
When a star dies, it ejects its outer material. Its core no longer withstands the outer pressure of fusion, and collapses under its own gravity. If the precursor star is more than 30 times the mass of the Sun, the core collapses into a black hole.
Glowing radio signal
The core of a precursor star with a mass less than eight times that of the Sun will collapse to become a white dwarf. It will have a mass up to 1.5 times that of the Sun.
GLEAM-X is 4,000 light-years from Earth. From January to March 2018, data were collected. It pulsed brightly for approximately 30 to 60 seconds, every 18.18 minutes. It is one of the most luminous objects in the low-frequency radio sky.
“Somehow it is converting magnetic energy into radio waves. We haven’t seen this before,” astrophysicist Natasha Hurley-Walker described at the time.
Astronomers will continue to observe this behavior. It is possible that the mysterious signal from the Milky Way gives away something entirely new.