Astronomers have detected an unusual signal ASKAP J173608.2-321635 emanating from the center of our Galaxy. It can be published by a new class of stellar objects.

An international group of scientists for two years studied the sky using the ASKAP radio interferometer complex and found the ASKAP J173608.2-321635 radio signal.

Looking towards the center of the Galaxy, we found ASKAP J173608.2-321635, named for its coordinates. This object was unique in that at first it was invisible, then it became bright, then disappeared, and then reappeared. This behavior was unusual.

Tara Murphy of the Sydney Institute of Astronomy and the School of Physics, University of Sydney.

The authors note that the signal immediately caught their attention. It had high polarization – this is when the radio wave signal vibrated in one direction, but that direction rotates over time.

Scientists have recorded six radio signals in nine months in 2020. After that, they tried to find the source of ASKAP J173608.2-321635 in visible light but failed.

The brightness of the object also changed dramatically, by a factor of 100, and the signal turned on and off, apparently randomly. We have never seen anything like it. At first, we thought it was a pulsar – a very dense type of rotating dead star, or a star that emits powerful flares. But the signals from this new source do not match what we expect from these types of celestial objects.

Jiteng Wang, first article author and graduate student at the School of Physics, University of Sydney

Break field ASKAP J173608.2-321635 became active again, but its character changed. After the appearance, the signal disappeared in one day, although in previous observations this lasted for several weeks.

The recorded radio waves do not match any known source. This, according to the authors, may be a new class of stellar objects.