Described as a radio blip, it was picked up by sensors of a sensitive telescope in Australia called the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). The ASKAP picked up waves 13 times in observations between April 2019 and August 2020. But it failed to show up in the attempts that followed in order to confirm its existence using radio telescopes across the world. It signals from close to the centre of the Milky Way and has left scientists baffled because the fingerprint of signal, or the radio signature, doesn’t fit any other known object in our universe.
There have been radio signals detected from space before, like fast radio bursts that come from young stars far away in the galaxy.
But it is possible that these radio signals did come from an object that is already known to us.
The fact that these are really unusual radio wave signatures makes it almost impossible to account for.
But experts say it is more likely to be a new, unknown space object that aliens.
This mystery artefact has been given the name ASKAP J173608.2-321635.
Ziteng Wang, who led the study with a research team from the University of Sydney, wrote in the paper: “ASKAP J173608.2-321635 may represent part of a new class of objects being discovered through radio imaging surveys.”
The paper described it as a “highly-polarized, variable radio source located near the Galactic Centre”.
Earlier on in 2021, the signal appeared again in observations made using telescopes in Australia and South Africa.
The source’s origin is still unknown and a few potential candidates have already been ruled out.
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They lasted for a millisecond but it shocked researchers.
It was a major discovery and the first time ever that a fast radio burst (FRB) had been detected that close to Earth.
It came 30,000 light-years away from our Earth and that event also took place deep within the Milky Way.
The research for the paper was published in the pre-print journal Arxiv and has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.