Discovered by an international team of astronomers, the enigmatic star was spotted using the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa.
It is a particularly unusual find, not only because of its slow rotational speed, but also because it was found within a neutron star graveyard from which there should be no radio signals at all.
Neutron stars are the extremely dense remnants of a supernova explosion and typically rotate tens of thousands of times per minute.
One possibility is that this newly discovered object could be a new theoretical class of ultra-long period magnetar, however further work will be needed to confirm whether or not this is indeed the case.
“Amazingly we only detect radio emission from this source for 0.5% of its rotation period,” said study leader Dr. Manisha Caleb of the University of Sydney.
“This means that it is very fortuitous that the radio beam intersected with the Earth.”
“It is therefore likely that there are many more of these very slowly spinning sources in the galaxy which has important implications for how neutron stars are born and age.”