First Interstellar Asteroid Oumuamua Came From Two-Star System

Posted: Mar 22 2018, 9:42am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 22 2018, 12:51pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
First Interstellar Asteroid Oumuamua came from Two-Star System
Credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser

The unusual, cigar-shaped interstellar object entered our solar system in October 2017

Researchers have been able to uncover some very important facts about the first confirmed interstellar object in our solar system, Oumuamua.

Last year, Pan-STARRS 1 telescope spotted a unique object traveling through our solar system. The object was moving remarkably fast and had a weird trajectory unlike any of the asteroids and bodies that we see in our solar system. Follow up observations taken over the next few nights revealed that the object did not originate from inside the Solar System and possibly came from somewhere else. Later, researchers confirmed that it was the first interstellar object that visited our solar system. Prior to its discovery, none of the over 750,000 asteroids and comets found in our Solar System were thought to have come from interstellar space.

At first, researchers thought it was a comet but additional data showed no trace of a comet tail. As a result, it was reclassified as an interstellar asteroid and named Oumuamua.

Ever since the object is spotted in October, researchers have been trying to learn more about its origin and composition. They have found that Oumuamua is about 400 meters long and ten times as long as it is wide. Its shape is unusually elongated, like a cigar and it has a dark color similar to objects found in the outer solar system. It is comprised of rock and possibly metals and contains no water or ice. Researchers suggest that Oumuamua had been wandering through our galaxy Milky Way for hundreds of millions of years before it entered our solar system.

However, researchers were not sure exactly where Oumuamua originated. Now, a new research has found that it very likely comes from a binary star system because binary systems are very efficient at ejecting rocky objects like Oumuamua. The binary system is a star system that consists of two stars orbiting around a common center.

“It's remarkable that we've now seen for the first time a physical object from outside our Solar System," said lead author Dr. Alan Jackson from the University of Toronto Scarborough in Ontario, Canada. "It's really odd that the first object we would see from outside our system would be an asteroid because a comet would be a lot easier to spot and the Solar System ejects many more comets than asteroids."

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.

 

 

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