DR. SKY BLOG

Oumuamua could be the first interstellar asteroid

Jul 17, 2018, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:19 pm
Artist’s concept of the interstellar object Oumuamu. (NASA/European Southern Observatory Photo/M....
Artist’s concept of the interstellar object Oumuamu. (NASA/European Southern Observatory Photo/M. Kornmesser)
(NASA/European Southern Observatory Photo/M. Kornmesser)

Oumuamua — a very unusual asteroid name, coming from a Hawaiian word meaning ‘Scout’, may be the first observed asteroid body from another solar system.

This object which was discovered by astronomers in Hawaii, back on Oct. 19, is strange indeed.

The object was first thought to be a new comet heading words the sun, from the outer regions of the solar system’s Oort cloud.

Upon further inspection and a detail orbital analysis, this newly discovered object was identified as coming from an even more amazing location.

This space visitor is actually moving in an orbit that comes from the direction of a star some 27 light years away, known as Vega.

This makes the newly named Oumuamua the first true interstellar object to come from outside our solar system.

The official name given to this discovery by astronomers is object, 1l/2017 U1

What makes this object so unique, is the fact that it is traveling at speeds of up to 196,000 mph, something that is really amazing when you think of the fact that even comets do not travel at these speeds in the solar system.

Oumuamua was discovered by astronomer Robert Weryk, using the large PANSTARRS telescope, atop the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii.

Here is a link to my exclusive interview with Weryk on this important discovery.

Here is what we know about this object:

Oumuamua is heading away from our solar system and will reach the orbit of Neptune around 2022 and can travel the distance of a light year in some 10,000 years.

Due to its very deep hyperbolic orbit, it will not return to the solar system.

We know that the object is some 800 feet by 100 feet in size and that it may be tumbling, as it travels through space.

It appears to be flat and disk shaped, like a large spacecraft from some other star system.

Oumuamua appears to have some type of “jets” sending burst of out gassing from its surface, similar to a comet.

Here is what we do not know:

We do not know what the object is really made of!

We have no way to really get a good look at the true shape of the object as it is moving away from us every day.

Best guess, is that Oumuamua is a new class of interstellar objects that astronomers have been searching the skies for a very long time.

With the recent discoveries of many new planets around distant stars, it seems logical that there are many Oumuamua type objects, yet to be discovered.

Weryk was at the right place and the right time, to make this amazing discovery.

See the moon and Mars in telescopes, along with a free raffle and some prizes. Call 602-843-2900 for more information.

To print your very own July 2018 star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

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Oumuamua could be the first interstellar asteroid