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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pulsing Object Mystifies Astronomers

Astronomers have discovered a strange sputtering and pulsing object in the center of the Milky Way galaxy that appears to be a completely new species of stellar object.


Since its X-ray signal was first picked up by Chryssa Kouveliotou of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in December, scientists worldwide have been trying to make the first visual sighting of the object, said Massachusetts Institute of Technology astrophysicist Walter Lewin.


The object of excitement appears to a strange hybrid of several types of previously detected -- but little understood -- exotic stars. Mysteriously, the rhythm of the object's signals have changed substantially since December.


When NASA's orbiting Compton Gamma Ray Observatory detected the object's signal, it was spitting out erratic streams of high energy X-rays every few minutes. Two days later, the bursts had settled down to one per hour. At the same time, the object was pulsing with the steady beat of rapidly spinning stellar core.