Powerful radio pulses puzzle astronomers

Byron Leigh Hatch @ team Carl Sagan
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Powerful radio pulses puzzle astronomers

18:00 02 March 2005
New Scientist.com news service
Stephen Battersby

A mystery object near the centre of our galaxy is sending out powerful pulses of radio waves. It is unlike any known source.

A team of astronomers led by Scott Hyman of Sweet Briar College, Virginia, US, detected the mysterious source using the Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico.

The pulses are coming from a spot just to one side of the galactic centre. Each pulse lasts about 10 minutes, and they repeat regularly every 77 minutes. If, as the researchers think, the source is near the centre of the Milky Way, it would be one of the most powerful emitters in the galaxy. The shape and timing of the pulses rules out most known sources, such as radio pulsars.

The object could be a magnetar - a neutron star with an ultra-strong magnetic field. "Magnetars store plenty of energy to power the observed outbursts," says Hyman. Or it may be something entirely new. To find out more, the team is studying it using the Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia, and hopes to use NASA's Chandra space telescope to see if it is also spitting out X-rays.

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7082&feedId=online-news_rss20

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kolch
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Powerful radio pulses puzzle astronomers

We try to understand everything in the universe but the harder we look, the less we understand. It is amazing that after centuries of astronomical observation we can still observe previously unobserved phenomenon in our own galaxy.


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Kye Cochrane
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The universe is a very

The universe is a very exciting, strange and wonderful place to those who remotely know whats going on. I can tell my aunty about certain theories or things that really happen in space, but it just goes right over her head, lol. ^_^

Communities like this are very helpful and enjoyable in that way.

Terrorhertz
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I just read the article prior

I just read the article prior to comeing into the forum. To me it is exciteing. As they predict I think we will be pointing a vast array of scopes at it. Not just Chandra. Have they mentioned gamma ray analysis yet? Optical probably can't reach since it is that close to the center. Obstructed view.
The wave length is about 3 feet from what I read but is it possable to pick up harmonics in other ranges?
At 77 Minutes is that the time that it regularly emits a signal or the time that it take to rotate around another unknown object?
what other energies are radiated? What is it made of? Why/how does it radiate this energy? how did this energy source come to exist over time? how might we be able to predict how/when it may happen again?
I think there will be a flood of scientist trying to answer these and many more much harder questions concerning the signal. For right now all we really have is a signal that we haven't even begun to really look at yet.


Byron Leigh Hatch @ team Carl Sagan
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More information on :

More information on : mysterious radio source:

Report: Space burst could be new object

Experts nickname mysterious source a 'burper'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A strange and powerful burst of radio waves from near the center of our galaxy may have come from a previously unknown type of space object, U.S. astronomers reported on Wednesday.

Other experts nicknamed the mysterious source a "burper" and said there would be a race to scan for similar radio bursts.

"We hit the jackpot," said Scott Hyman, a professor of physics at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, who led the study.

"An image of the Galactic center, made by collecting radio waves of about 1 meter (3 feet) in wavelength, revealed multiple bursts from the source during a seven-hour period from September 30 to October 1, 2002 -- five bursts in fact, and repeating at remarkably constant intervals."

The burst came from the direction of the middle of the Milky Way galaxy, of which Earth is a part, and could have originated from as far away as 24,000 light-years or from as close as 300 light-years. A light-year is the distance light travels in a year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion km).

It cannot have come from a celestial object known as a pulsar, the researchers write in this week's issue of the journal Nature, but the source could be a brown dwarf of a magnetar -- an exotic star with an extremely powerful magnetic field.

They have named the presumed object GCRT J1745-3009.

"GCRT J1745-3009 will cause a stampede of further observations," Shri Kulkarni and Sterl Phinney of the California Institute of Technology wrote in a commentary.

"But perhaps even more important is the possibility that the radio heavens contain other fast radio transients (which, in anticipation of a trove of discoveries, we nickname 'burpers')."

Hyman and colleagues made the discovery by studying observations made by the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico.

Read more here:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/03/03/space.burst.reut/index.html

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