Radio storm in the Milky Way causes controversy


Since April 2020, a phenomenon in the Milky Way has attracted the attention of astronomers. A strong emission of radio signals from space began to be perceived, and it was safe to say that the source was a magnetar, basically a star composed of neutrons with a strong charge that, in consequence, transmits a very high magnetic signal.

Common neutron stars already have a high potential, but the magnetar is placed at an even higher level. The CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) began to carry out studies based on the signal received and was taken to the magnetar SGR 1935 + 2154, which is an important feat, as it was possible to locate a specific source. Contrary to what many expected, even this was not enough to clear up doubts – on the contrary, it only raised others.

Results found

CHIME was not the only institute to conduct research. Shortly thereafter, STARE2 (Transient Astronomical Radio Emission 2) and FAST, the Chinese radio telescope, also began their respective studies. The union of the three perspectives was essential to arrive at more concrete results in a fast way, since each one was proposing answers and refuting what was not really valid.

As this is an important fact, since the radio blast had never been detected within the Milky Way, each institute ended up publishing the results found in the journal Nature, making the findings official and being able to serve as a theoretical basis in the future.

However, more recently another study on the magnetar 1935 + 2154 has been published, bringing to light some important concerns about the described phenomenon.

As pointed out in the article published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the detected signal should be much stronger, since it is a magnetar. Different samples indicate exactly this trend below expectations, leading astronomers to elaborate some possible trends that have influenced the data collected.

One of them is the age of the magnetar, for example, which may be an older one, whose radio burst is weaker than the ones of younger magnetars that reach us and were previously measured, justifying this discrepancy.

With this new hypothesis established, scientists can better focus on problems, even using the base created by the three initial institutes. Even though there is still no concrete answer, the fact of tracking radio signals directly to a specific magnetar is already an important moment for science.


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