Peculiar “Ghost” Radio Emissions Discovered – Their Origin is Still a Mystery


Some curious “ghost” radio emissions were discovered by scientists and their cause is still not known. These emissions seem to have lasted for 25 years, then disappeared, only to make an appearance again. The new research was published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The experts did not decipher the mystery yet

According to Casey Law, who is a Berkeley assistant research astronomer at the University of California, these mysterious emissions might be the glow that remained after a massive star exploded. Such star would have released an undiscovered gamma-ray burst that lasted for a long time. Law also mentioned that his team is probably the first to have ever detected this type of bursts that were missed by a gamma-ray telescope. He also stated that they are called “orphan” gamma-ray bursts.

Observing gamma-ray bursts is a rare event

Uncovering gamma-ray bursts is not an easy thing to do, as their source – a jet coming out of an explosive fusion – has to point exactly at our planet. The chances of such event taking place and being observed by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope from NASA are approximately 1%. The good part is that the afterglow can go on for about two and a half decades, which could definitely help researchers discover other similar events. More than that, thanks to such observations, the astronomers might be able to understand what exactly happens when a massive stellar explosion occurs, as well as what remains after such an explosion. In Law’s opinion, this kind of explosion is able to produce a “highly magnetized neutron star” that spins speedily, which is known as a “magnetar”.

We might have to wait for an explanation of this event

Apparently, the radio source was first noticed in the early 1990s by the Very Large Array in New Mexico, when it was the brightest. Right now, it is too indistinct to be noticeable in the sky, however, it can still be detected by big telescopes. A strange thing for the researchers was when they noticed that these bursts are still perceivable. After going through several archives about this event, they concluded that the peak brightness of the radio emissions happened in 1994 and it disappeared in 2017.


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