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Space & Astronomy

Mysterious source has been sending signals to Earth for decades

By T.K. Randall
July 22, 2023 · Comment icon 15 comments

What is sending the signals ? Image Credit: NASA / Penn State University
Astronomers have been attempting to understand the nature of a distant object known only as GPMJ1839-10.
There's something strange out in space and it has been sending signals in our direction for the past 35 years that do not seem to conform to any known astronomical phenomenon.

The object, whatever it is, sends out blasts of energy every 20 minutes that vary in brightness.

While this is similar to what astronomers might expect to see from fast radio bursts or pulsars, neither of these possibilities fit what is being observed from GPMJ1839-10.
If it is a pulsar, then it is operating in a way thought to be impossible.

Similar doubts have been cast on the idea that the object could be a type of highly magnetized white dwarf star (or magnetar) as its signals are unlike any others observed to date.

GPMJ1839-10 was first picked up some 35 years ago, but it had gone unnoticed and it wasn't until recently that astronomers fully realized the data's significance.

The search for other examples of the same phenomenon could also help to reveal more clues.

Source: Independent | Comments (15)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Nicolette 10 months ago
Right which is what i said so why is it so unique? Are there just no spinning pulsars?
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 months ago
It's part of what you said before you went on to ask a question that contradicted that explanation. It was that question that I was answering. All pulsars are spinning. They send a beam out like that of a light house. When this beam is in the direction of Earth we see a radio signal tha pulses, hence the name pulsar. As I have already said (and is explained in the original article I linked to): Most pulsars "flash" in very short periods (typically milliseconds) because, as small, extremely dense objects, the tend to rotate extremly quickly. The very first line of the quote in the original post... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Rolci 10 months ago
So to sum it up, the "mysterious" thing about this pulsar is that it spins slowly. Gee, I wonder how that could be. I mean, like, you couldn't think of a dozen reasons for it to be the case in rare circumstances. Or what is the mystery, that we don't know exactly which one of the possible causes actually happened that resulted in it spinning slowly? Like it matters?
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 months ago
Yes.   There's the problem. A dozen reasons? Brilliant. So which one is the right one? What evidence is there to support any of these dozen reasons? There is a huge difference between a wild guess and knowledge.   The problem is that either there is some new, unexplained process at work here... which could have massive implications for science OR there is a more simple explanation but some of the details are missing.   Ah, that old chesnut, used by those that can't see the irony of simply dismissing sciencific porgress whilst using the internet. It matters enough that you took time to comme... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Kleng 10 months ago
Just because we can detect it doesn't mean they're sending it to us, specifically.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Kleng 10 months ago
Who says they're sending it anywhere at all? Maybe it's a byproduct of their white noise.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Rolci 10 months ago
What matters to me is not why the period is slow. Like I said, anyone can come up with a number of reasons that would be unlikely scenarios (making it happen rarely enough to explain the lack of a large number of observable examples). What I am interested in is to see what difference it makes for some (like you apparently) which one of these unlikely scenarios is causing THIS PARTICULAR pulsar to revolve slowly. Let's say it's a pulsar that was born from a star that was the result of a merger of two stars that had not only been spinning in opposite directions at (near-)equal speeds, but also t... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Robotic Jew 10 months ago
My guess is that it's an interdimensional portal used to send ghosts of Bigfoot into the forests of the Earth. 
Comment icon #14 Posted by OverSword 10 months ago
Not only spinning slowly but also brightness varying. 
Comment icon #15 Posted by Hankenhunter 10 months ago
Something gigantic like Jupiter orbiting slowly past the transmitting object? Just spit balling.   

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