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Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Unique glow never seen before discovered, thanks to the MeerKAT radio telescope

There is talk of a "unique and never seen before glow" in the press release published on the University of Manchester website which presents the discovery made by a group of scientists who used the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa to discover a source of radio emissions that it quickly lit up to a level out of the ordinary for a period of three weeks.

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This is a "transient" astronomical event, events in which the emitting source appears and then disappears or becomes brighter and then weaker again in periods of time that can be calculated in seconds, days or even years.

In this case the researchers found that the source comes from a binary system of two objects that orbit each other every 22 days. What are the components of this binary system is still uncertain as is the cause of the anomalous glow they have identified.

What is known is that the source is located near a K type subgiant star, with a mass twice that of the Sun, previously identified in the constellation of the Altar.

"Once we discovered that the glow of the radio source coincided with a star, we discovered that the star emits through almost the entire electromagnetic spectrum from X-rays to the wavelengths of UV and radio rays," explains Laura Driessen, researcher of the University of Manchester who led the team that made the discovery and then published their work in Monthly Monthly of the Royal Astronomical Society .

According to Ben Stappers, a researcher from the same university that participated in the study, we may be faced with a new class of radio wave emitter objects that is completely new as its properties do not coincide with those of the models we are currently aware of.


MKT J170456.2−482100: the first transient discovered by MeerKAT

L N Driessen, I McDonald, D A H Buckley, M Caleb, E J Kotze, S B Potter, K M Rajwade, A Rowlinson, B W Stappers, E Tremou, P A Woudt, R P Fender, R Armstrong, P Groot, I Heywood, A Horesh, A J van der Horst, E Koerding, V A McBride, J C A Miller-Jones, K P Mooley, R A M J Wijers

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, stz3027,

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