Sci-tech

New observations of first-known interstellar asteroid reveals spaceship-like rock

New observations of first-known interstellar asteroid reveals spaceship-like rock

Astronomers have confirmed an object spotted in space last month is the first known visitor from outside the solar system. Now, they have determined that this object, named 'Oumuamua, is unlike anything normally found in the Solar System. The dotted line shows the light curve expected if 'Oumuamua were an ellipsoid with a 1:10 aspect ratio; the deviations from this line are probably due to irregularities in the object's shape or surface albedo. The huge object is believed to be travelling through the Milky Way for hundreds of thousands of years before it encounters with our own star system.

But the object has another name in Hawaiin language: Oumuamua, meaning a "messenger sent from the distant past to reach out to us", according to the study. Here's another: until 'Oumuamua came along, scientists believed that interstellar objects would behave like comets, not asteroids.

Now, in a study published today (Nov. 20) in the journal Nature, astronomers using the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile describe the unusual characteristics of U1. It is said to be the biggest comet ever seen in our solar system and could give us an understanding of how other solar systems are formed. That means rather than orbiting the Sun, this thing came and went with enough speed to "clearly" imply it was from outside the solar system.

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Observers believe that he tried to belittle the gulf crisis triggered after Saudi led quartet cut ties with Qatar earlier in June. The draft appears to be in sync with Saudi Arabia's strong stance against Iran since the Houthis fired a missile on November 4.

"While study of 'Oumuamua's colors shows that this body shares characteristics with both Kuiper Belt objects and organic-rich comets and trojan asteroids, its orbital path says it comes from far beyond", Dr. Meech said. The initial observations of the object - first classified as a comet and later reclassified as an asteroid - suggested its origins lied outside the solar system. In fact, this turned out to be the first-ever documented interstellar asteroid to fly by Earth. The coloration wasn't surprising, but the shape was, say astronomers from the European Southern Observatory.

The astronomers collated data from telescopes worldwide to chart the shape and movement of the object.

The new paper is based on observations taken by telescopes in Hawaii and Chile, with astronomers from institutions around the world chipping in. The asteroid has been moving at an impressive speed of 59,000 miles an hour, per the release, and came from the same direction as Vega, a bright star once featured in the famous sci-fi film Contact.

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Combining the images from the FORS instrument on the VLT using four different filters with those of other large telescopes, the team of astronomers led by Karen Meech (Institute for Astronomy, Hawai'i, USA) found that 'Oumuamua varies dramatically in brightness by a factor of ten as it spins on its axis every 7.3 hours.

"We also found that it had a reddish color, similar to objects in the outer Solar System, and confirmed that it is completely inert, without the faintest hint of dust around it".

"We are continuing to observe this unique object", Hainaut said in the ESO statement. As it appears this isn't the case, the chances are that there are lots more interstellar rocks in the Solar System than we thought.

Chiefs' Tamba Hali, Dee Ford ruled out for game at Giants
Quarterback Alex Smith's shovel pass to Travis Kelce was intercepted after a Giants defender hit Kelce, jarring the ball loose. The Giants will have to win five key matchups if they hope to earn their first home victory of the 2017 season.

Pronounced Oh-moo-ah-moo-ah, the first character is a Hawaiian 'okina, not an apostrophe.


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