Tyrone O'Doherty, a graduate student at Curtin University in Western Australia, was the first to see a cosmic body using a telescope and developed by himself according to the original scheme. This happened, as the BBC reported, at the end of 2020, but the interim results of the research were published in the journal Nature only today.
At first, scientists reacted to O'Doherty's discovery rather calmly. According to them, space objects that emit pulses of energy are quite common. But it soon became clear that the new object makes a powerful burst of energy lasting a minute every 18 minutes.
“Over the course of several hours of our observation, the object appeared and disappeared,” said O'Doherty's supervisor, astrophysicist Dr. Natasha Harley-Walker of the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research ( ICRAR ).
“It was very unexpected and creepy because astronomers had never seen anything like it in the sky,” she said.
According to ICRAR astrophysicist Gemma Anderson , what is unusual is not the irregularly variable behavior of the object itself - such objects are known in astronomy as transients - but the fact that it is in an active state of energy release for a whole minute.
Radio emission of such duration was a complete surprise for Australian scientists.
“We did not think that this was possible, but it is a fact, and it indicates that some extreme physical processes are taking place in space,” Natasha Harley-Walker is surprised.
So far, the ICRAR team has been able to determine that the object is located at a distance of about 4 thousand light years from Earth, it is incredibly bright and has a super-powerful magnetic field.
So far, there are two theories regarding the nature of the discovered body. It may turn out to be a neutron star or a "white dwarf" - the shrunken remains of an old star.