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28th of January 2022
A transient with an unusually slow period
by Hurley-Walker et al.
Hurley-Walker et al. have reported the discovery of a transient radio-source with unusually slow periodic emission. Using data from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), the precursor to the SKA-Low telescope, the team detected emission with an 18.18 minute periodicity from GLEAM-X J162759.5-523504.3. The emission is highly linearly polarized, bright, persists for 30--60 s on each occurrence and is visible across a broad frequency range. By measuring the dispersion of the radio pulses with respect to frequency, the team localized the source to within our Galaxy and suggest that it could be an ultra-long-period magnetar.

The image above is an artist’s impression of what GLEAM-X J162759.5-523504.3 might look like if it’s a magnetar. Magnetars are incredibly magnetic neutron stars, some of which sometimes produce radio emission. Known magnetars rotate every few seconds, but theoretically, “ultra-long period magnetars” could rotate much more slowly. The paper was published in this week's issue of Nature. (Image credit: ICRAR)

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