Seemingly new energy source detected by astronomers

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Mysterious energy source unlike anything astronomers have seen before

by International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research 
January 26, 2022
phys.org

Quote:A team mapping radio waves in the universe has discovered something unusual that releases a giant burst of energy three times an hour, and it's unlike anything astronomers have seen before. (...)

Astrophysicist Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker, from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, led the team that made the discovery. "This object was appearing and disappearing over a few hours during our observations," she said. "That was completely unexpected. It was kind of spooky for an astronomer because there's nothing known in the sky that does that. And it's really quite close to us—about 4,000 light-years away. It's in our galactic backyard." (...)

Objects that turn on and off in the universe aren't new to astronomers—they call them transients. ICRAR-Curtin astrophysicist and co-author Dr. Gemma Anderson said, "When studying transients, you're watching the death of a massive star or the activity of the remnants it leaves behind."

Slow transients like supernovae might appear over the course of a few days and disappear after a few months. Fast transients, like a type of neutron star called a pulsar, flash on and off within milliseconds or seconds. But Dr. Anderson said finding something that turned on for a minute was really weird. She said the mysterious object was incredibly bright and smaller than the sun, emitting highly-polarized radio waves—suggesting the object had an extremely strong magnetic field.
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(2022-01-26, 10:35 PM)Ninshub Wrote: Mysterious energy source unlike anything astronomers have seen before

by International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research 
January 26, 2022
phys.org

The trouble is, very many of these exciting finds turn out to be due to some sort of glitch. I remember a report that neutrinos could travel faster than light turned out to be to a dodgy connector!
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Things which flash on an off are usually interpreted as a spinning object, sending out a beam like a lighthouse. This one is spinning more slowly than some of the more familiar objects.
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(2022-01-27, 10:27 PM)David001 Wrote: The trouble is, very many of these exciting finds turn out to be due to some sort of glitch. I remember a report that neutrinos could travel faster than light turned out to be to a dodgy connector!

I get your point and it's a possibility, but I gather that's not very likely in a case like this where it's a telescope being used. The article says the telescope has an especially "wide field of view and extreme sensitivity".

In any event, the future is potentially going to brin answers.

Quote:Dr. Hurley-Walker is now monitoring the object with the MWA to see if it switches back on. "If it does, there are telescopes across the Southern Hemisphere and even in orbit that can point straight to it," she said.

Dr. Hurley-Walker plans to search for more of these unusual objects in the vast archives of the MWA. "More detections will tell astronomers whether this was a rare one-off event or a vast new population we'd never noticed before," she said.
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(2022-01-27, 11:03 PM)Ninshub Wrote: I get your point and it's a possibility, but I gather that's not very likely in a case like this where it's a telescope being used. The article says the telescope has an especially "wide field of view and extreme sensitivity".

In any event, the future is potentially going to brin answers.

I have gradually come to become very sceptical of a lot of modern science. My neutrino example illustrates the issue - why not run some pretty exhaustive tests before claiming that something breaks the vacuum speed of light limit?

If this does turn out to be false, you can bet that the publicity for the mistake will be far less than the publicity the original report has generated.
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(2022-01-28, 12:14 PM)David001 Wrote: I have gradually come to become very sceptical of a lot of modern science. My neutrino example illustrates the issue - why not run some pretty exhaustive tests before claiming that something breaks the vacuum speed of light limit?

If this does turn out to be false, you can bet that the publicity for the mistake will be far less than the publicity the original report has generated.

Then in debates people will use the old information.  I have seen it so often, for example, experiments that showed people hallucinate when exposed to low level electromagnetic fields were shown later to be sloppy and badly faulty but people still use them as explanations for ghosts.
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(2022-01-28, 12:27 PM)Brian Wrote: Then in debates people will use the old information.  I have seen it so often, for example, experiments that showed people hallucinate when exposed to low level electromagnetic fields were shown later to be sloppy and badly faulty but people still use them as explanations for ghosts.

Yes - nobody really cleans up the goofs in the literature or on the internet.

The other thing is that to some extent scientists thrive on being visible to the public, and it may pay them to rush out with an idea, knowing they will probably have to retract it later, but the retraction will barely be noticed.
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Don’t worry according to Uri it’s a sign we’re about to be invaded by extraterrestrials. Or maybe do worry…
(This post was last modified: 2022-01-28, 10:51 PM by Obiwan. Edited 1 time in total.)
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