Mysterious ‘heartbeat-like’ radio signals discovered inside a solar flare

Astronomers are examining yet another strange signal coming from space. This time, researchers say the radio signals have a strange “heartbeat-like” pattern — coming from a source inside the Sun’s atmosphere. 

Scientists detected the signals within a C-class solar flare over 5,000 kilometers above the Sun’s surface. Detecting and studying the solar signals could help astronomers understand the physical properties that drive solar flares — the solar system’s most powerful explosions — to release giant bursts of energy.

“The discovery is unexpected,” says Sijie Yu, an astronomer at the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research, in a university release. “This beating pattern is important for understanding how energy is released and dissipated in the Sun’s atmosphere during these incredibly powerful explosions on the Sun. However, the origin of these repetitive patterns, also called quasi-periodic pulsations, has long been a mystery and a source of debate among solar physicists.”