Astronomers have detected a strange radio signal from a distant galaxy. It pulses with the rhythm of a heartbeat

Astronomers have discovered an extremely strange radio signal from a distant galaxy that pulses with a rhythm

reminiscent of a heartbeat. This signal lasted about 1000 times longer than other fast radio bursts (FRBs) and had a distinct periodic structure. Discuss

FRBs are bursts of radio signals from space.which are very fast and last only milliseconds. Some of these are one-offs, while others are known to recur, either randomly or in a predictable pattern.

A team of astronomers using the CHIME radio telescopediscovered an FRB unlike any other. If all other known FRBs last a few fractions of a second, then this new signal, known as FRB 20191221A, lasted a few seconds. Stranger still, the radio waves in the signal were repeated every 0.2 seconds, which has never been seen in any other FRB.

"It was unusual," said Daniele Michilli,lead author of the study. "Not only was it very long, but it also had periodic peaks that were amazingly accurate, radiating every split second - boom, boom, boom - like a heartbeat. This is the first time that the signal itself is periodic."

An analysis of the pulse structure suggests thatthat it came either from a pulsar - a type of neutron star that emits beams of radio waves from its poles - or from a magnetar - a neutron star with an extremely powerful magnetic field.

However, FRB 20191221A was over a million timesbrighter than any radiation ever seen from a pulsar or magnetar in our own galaxy. The researchers speculate that this signal could have come from a pulsar or magnetar, which is usually much dimmer, but it just so happens to have fired a flare in our direction.