A rhythmic flashing in the night sky is fascinating scientists and baffling astronomers, who have revealed they have no idea what is lurking in our own galactic backyard.
The unknown object was found by Australian observers mapping radio waves and published in Nature on Wednesday, according to The Sun.
Rhythmic flashes of radiation emanating from the object are now some of the most powerful radio sources in observable space.
The 60-second bursts have baffled scientists, who are struggling to theorize what this could be.
The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, which originally spotted the object, says this could be an ultra-dense star whose powerful magnetic field results in the unusually strong broadcasts.
“This object was appearing and disappearing over a few hours during our observations. That was completely unexpected,” the team’s leading astronomer, Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker, said, according to the The Sun.
“It was kind of spooky for an astronomer because there’s nothing known in the sky that does that.”
The mystery object was not found in some distant corner of the universe, but in a nearby place Hurley-Walker describes as “our galactic backyard.”
At some 4,000 lightyears away, however, this puts this strange flasher out of the reach of modern scientists. Astronomers will have to rely on telescopes and other forms of remote viewing to learn about this cosmic body.
The object does not act like other known sources of similar energy in space, such as dying stars and supernovas.
While there is no consensus on the origin or identity of the stellar pulsing giant, Hurley-Walker points to a theoretical star that until now has seemingly existed only on paper.
Whatever it may be, there’s no doubt that this proposed “ultra-long period magnetar” caught scientists by complete surprise.
“It’s a type of slowly spinning neutron star that has been predicted to exist theoretically,” Hurley-Walker explained. “But nobody expected to directly detect one like this because we didn’t expect them to be so bright.”
“Somehow, it’s converting magnetic energy to radio waves much more effectively than anything we’ve seen before.”
Since the nature of this blinding object is unknown, there’s little indication if this is a unique occurrence of nature or something we will encounter more as we venture to the stars.
While the discovery doesn’t give us much information, it confirms we are surrounded by an overwhelming expanse that still holds billions upon billions of mysteries.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.