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14th of October 2021
A mysterious source near the Galactic Centre
by Wang et al.
Wang et al. have reported the discovery with ASKAP of a highly-polarized, highly-variable, steep-spectrum radio source The source, ASKAP J173608.2−321635, is located toward the centre of our Galaxy and was detected six times in 2020 as part of the ASKAP Variables and Slow Transients (VAST) survey. It exhibited an unusually high degree (∼25%) of circular polarization when it was visible. Follow-up observations with the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa revealed strong time-variability, being undetectable at first, then brightening, before fading rapidly with a timescale of one day. Various origins were considered, but none of these fully explains the observations, which suggests that this source may represent part of a new class of objects being discovered through radio imaging surveys. This work is described in an article in The Conversation, and the paper was published in the Astrophysical Journal this week.

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