Sci-tech

Astronomers may have found solar system's first observed interstellar object

Astronomers may have found solar system's first observed interstellar object

Until this discovery, all of the asteroids and comets we've identified have clearly originated from our solar system, forming from matter that was trapped around our Sun. An asteroid? A UFO piloted by little green aliens?

If so, the asteroid would be the first "interstellar object" observed and confirmed by astronomers. This unusual space rock, initially thought to be a comet, is the first interstellar object we have ever been able to observe within our solar system.

He said that while everything so far indicated the object was from outside the solar system, more data would be needed to confirm it.

A/2017 U1 approached the solar system from above the ecliptic - the plane on which the planets and most asteroids orbit the sun.

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A/2017 U1 appears to be traveling at 26 kilometres (16.2 miles) per second - too fast to be burned up by our Sun or caught in its orbit. Tugged by the sun's gravity, it reversed course and hurtled back above the elliptic at an angle, passing about 15 million miles from Earth on October 14.

The University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope discovered the object, named A/2017 U1, on October 19. Astronomers are soon working to direct the telescope to the whole world and to be in outer space on the object.

Astronomers are urgently tracking the object to try to know more about its origin and composition.

An unidentified object now hurtling through our solar system has fascinated NASA experts.

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According to scientists at NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), Davide Farnocchia, the object is the most extreme orbit he has ever seen. On Sept. 2, the small body crossed under the ecliptic just inside of Mercury's orbit and then made its closest approach to the Sun on Sept. 9. The researchers, who were searching for near-Earth objects for NASA, had found the high-speed object which was less than a quarter-mile (400 meters) in diameter. A/2017 U1 has moved out of ecliptic plane and is now moving towards the Constellation Pegasus at a speed of 27 miles (44 Km) per second.

"What's most surprising is that we've never seen interstellar objects pass through before". He sent images of the roughly 437-yard wide object to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, then checked previous images taken by the telescope.

"We have been waiting for this day for decades", said CNEOS Manager Paul Chodas.

NASA had recently stated that a mysterious ninth planet exists in the solar system, which could change the orbit and axis of planets as well as change directions of asteroids in the Kuiper belt.

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