Astronomers have found a new type of neutron star. The objects send out short bursts of radio waves lasting just two to 30 milliseconds followed by “dark spells” lasting minutes to hours. Conventional plusars, in contrast, emit flashes of radio waves at regular intervals. The new objects — dubbed “rotating radio transients” or RRATs — were discovered by a team led by Maura McLaughlin from the Jodrell Bank Observatory at the University of Manchester in the UK. She believes that the RRATs may outnumber conventional radio pulsars by a ratio of four to one.
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