Scientists have detected what appears to be an incredibly dense star behaving unlike anything else ever seen.
It is also suspected it might be a type of exotic astrophysical object whose existence has until now been only hypothesized.
It is reported that the object, spotted using the Murchison Widefield Array telescope in outback Western Australia, unleashed huge bursts of energy roughly three times per hour when viewed from Earth during two months in 2018.
It may be the first known example of what is called an ultra-long period magnetar.
This is a variety of a neutron star – the compact collapsed core of a massive star that exploded as a supernova – that is highly magnetized and rotates relatively slowly, as opposed to fast-spinning neutron star objects called pulsars that appear from Earth to be blinking on and off within milliseconds or seconds.