The mystery signal, which was detected during observations of a spiral galaxy known as NGC 2082, was reported by a team of astronomers headed up by Joel Balzan of Western Sydney University.
It manifested as a strong point radio source in data from the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) and the Parkes radio telescope.
The galaxy that was being observed is situated 66 million light years away and measures approximately 33,000 light years across.
While the nature and origin of the mysterious radio source remains unknown, it’s important not to jump to conclusions – most unexplained sources turn out to be pulsars, nebulae, quasars and other similar objects, so there’s no immediate reason to jump to an extraterrestrial interpretation.
As things stand, there is much work to be done to determine what the radio source could be.
“We present radio continuum observations of NGC 2082 using ASKAP, ATCA and Parkes telescopes from 888 MHz to 9,000 MHz,” the researchers wrote in a paper on the discovery.
“Some 20 arcsec from the center of this nearby spiral galaxy, we discovered a bright and compact radio source, J054149.24-641813.7, of unknown origin.”