Wolfram Science Group
Phoenix, AZ USA
Registered: Aug 2003
candidate "wow" signal
Though the principle investigator is downplaying it and a few (fairly implausible) explanations have already been offered by others, there is a fun candidate "wow" signal that has some astronomers and astrophysicists scratching their heads. It was announced back in the March 3 issue of Nature.
A powerful bursting radio source towards the Galactic Centre
Scott D. Hyman, T. Joseph W. Lazio, Namir E. Kassim, Paul S. Ray, Craig B. Markwardt, and Farhad Yusef-Zadeh
Abstract: Transient astronomical sources are typically powered by compact objects and usually signify highly explosive or dynamic events. Although high-time-resolution observations are often possible in radio astronomy, they are usually limited to quite narrow fields of view. The dynamic radio sky is therefore poorly sampled, in contrast to the situation in the X-ray and (g)-ray bands in which wide-field instruments routinely detect transient sources. Here we report a transient radio source, GCRT J1745−3009, which was detected during a moderately wide-field monitoring programme of the Galactic Centre region at 0.33 GHz. The characteristics of its bursts are unlike those known for any other class of radio transient. If located in or near the Galactic Centre, its brightness temperature ( 1016 K) and the implied energy density within GCRT J1745−3009 vastly exceed those observed in most other classes of radio astronomical sources, and are consistent with coherent emission processes that are rarely observed. We conclude that it represents a hitherto unknown class of transient radio sources, the first of possibly many new classes that may be discovered by emerging wide-field radio telescopes.
Additional press comment from Hyman "There's no reason to expect anything but a natural cause," Hyman said. "There are so many classes of objects we don't know about out there."
He is almost certainly right, but it is still fun to consider the possibilities. "Transient white dwarf pulsar" is not entirely convincing.
The Nature article is here -
The preprint servers have the full PDF, here -
Dr. Hyman's homepage is here -
If you are interested in the explanations on offer, the search term to use is the official designation, GCRT J1745−3009. You can also search on "radio" and "burper".
For what it is worth...
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