Oumuamua Not An Alien Spacecraft, But No One Knows What It Is
Oumuamua Not An Alien Spacecraft, But No One Knows What It Is
Oumuamua: Mysterious space thing not an alien spacecraft, researchers conclude
04 July, 2019, 15:52
In October 2017, astronomers documented a unusual object zooming through our solar system.
The object is now out of sight but could take up to 20,000 years before it leaves our solar system onto its next destination.
'Oumuamua likely has an elongated, cigarlike shape and an odd spin pattern-much like a soda bottle laying on the ground, spinning on its side. It was also found to have an orbit that indicated it came from interstellar space. Some of these objects would look similar to 'Oumuamua if they escaped the sun's gravitational pull and became interstellar. They dubbed it 'Oumuamua. Its name in the native Hawaiian language means a messenger arriving from a great distance.
Last year, a Harvard paper alleged that it was an alien spacecraft sent to investigate Earth.
The rock moved through the solar system in an entirely unexpected way, mysteriously accelerating as it flew through the universe.
A mysterious cigar-shaped object that zipped through the solar system in 2017 could be explained through a "purely natural origin", an worldwide astronomers' team said on Monday, challenging proposals by some astronomers that it may represent "alien technology".
They suspect Oumuamua could be the first of many visitors from distant solar systems.
Researchers attempting to understand whether the object is natural in origin - or if, as some have suggested, it was a disguised spacecraft exploring our solar system - say they are sure that the rock is not an alien ship. CNN has reached out to Loeb and Bialy for comment.
"That's when we'll start to know whether Oumuamua is weird, or common".
'But our preference is to stick with analogues we know, unless or until we find something unique'.
For Matthew Knight, an associate research scientist at the University of Maryland's Department of Astronomy, Oumuamua's alien-like behavior and features can be attributed to natural phenomena.
Knight said it is not easy to fit 'Oumuamua into familiar classifications such as a comet or asteroid. "But visually, it hasn't ever displayed any of the cometlike characteristics we'd expect". It lacked a dust-tail or gas jets, the attribute of comets.
The research team considered the different ways 'Oumuamua could have ended up in our solar system and where it might have originated.
Scientists think it could have entered our solar system after being ejected by a gas giant planet orbiting another star.
Mr. Knight said, "We tend to assume that the physical processes we observe here, close to home, are Universal".
"We have never seen anything like Oumuaua in our Solar System", he said in a press release.
Explanations behind the shape, rotation and point of origin remain. Knight is looking forward to data from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which is scheduled to be operational in 2022.
The scientists believe 'Oumuamua may just be the first interstellar visitor and that over the coming years many more will be detected.
"We have tried to avoid putting it in one of those boxes and prefer to call it more generically an 'object, '" Knight said. The LSST will be leaps and bounds beyond any other survey we have in terms of capability to find small interstellar visitors.
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