Recording periodic activity from the signals, known as fast radio bursts (FRBs), was a first for scientists working to discover the source.
The discovery was made by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment Fast Radio Burst Project (CHIME/FRB), which is dedicated to researching FRBs.
The group discovered FRB 180916.J0158+65 had a regular cadence while it was observed using the CHIME radio telescope in British Columbia between September 2018 and October 2019.
Bursts were found to have a total cycle of about 16 days – four days of clusters and then 12 days of silence – which then repeated.
“We conclude that this is the first detected periodicity of any kind in an FRB source,” the research explained.
“The discovery of a 16.35-day periodicity in a repeating FRB source is an important clue to the nature of this object.”
Observations at both radio and optical wavelengths revealed the source is in a galaxy 500 million light years from Earth – the closest FRB ever detected.
Researchers suggest the periodic nature of the signals could be the source orbiting a compact object, such as a black hole.
The paper claimed the signals were being sent from the neutron star, with the signals periodically eclipsed by its giant companion.
Researchers from the CHIME/FRB hope to find other repeating bursts to see if they have anything in common with 180916.J0158+65.