Technology: Oumuamua is the only interstellar object we’ve ever seen in our solar system. What is it? - PressFrom - US
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TechnologyOumuamua is the only interstellar object we’ve ever seen in our solar system. What is it?

13:01  15 january  2019
13:01  15 january  2019 Source:   vox.com

Strange interstellar object 'Oumuamua is tiny and very reflective

Strange interstellar object 'Oumuamua is tiny and very reflective After no small amount of mystery, we're starting to understand more about 'Oumuamua, the first known interstellar object to visit the Solar System. A newly published study indicates that the object can't be that large, for one thing. As the Spitzer Space Telescope's infrared detection couldn't catch the cigar-shaped entity, that makes it relatively small. It's likely less than half a mile (2,600 feet) at its longest. It also can't have a diameter larger than 1,440 feet, and that figure could be as small as 320 feet.

What is it ? Harvard scientists recently speculated it could be an alien spaceship. It ’s a fun thought , though extremely unlikely. Since the rock was the first interstellar object ever spotted in our solar system , the scientists called it Oumuamua — a Hawaiian word meaning either “scout” or “messenger

The first interstellar object ever seen in our solar system , named ' Oumuamua , is giving scientists a fresh perspective on March 27, 2018 by Jeanette Kazmierczak, NASA. An illustration of ‘ Oumuamua , the first object we ’ ve ever seen pass through our own solar system that has interstellar origins.

Oumuamua is the only interstellar object we’ve ever seen in our solar system. What is it? © ESO/M. Kornmesser Oumuamua.

Harvard scientists recently speculated it could be an alien spaceship. It’s a fun thought, though extremely unlikely.

In October 2017, astronomers operating the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Maui found a bizarre cigar-shaped rock blazing its way through our solar system.

The astronomers thought it might be an asteroid. But unlike the millions of known asteroids in our solar system, this one was traveling so fast — more than 70,000 miles per hour — that it couldn’t be captured by our sun’s gravity, the scientists reasoned. For reference, Voyager 1, the spacecraft that’s currently leaving our solar system, is traveling at around 35,000 mph.

There could be hundreds of interstellar asteroids lurking in our solar system

There could be hundreds of interstellar asteroids lurking in our solar system These asteroids will stick around for a long time, so scientists can take their time learning everything about them. A year ago, astronomers spotted something no one had ever seen before: an object visiting our solar system from somewhere else in the galaxy. The object, dubbed ‘Oumuamua, is long since gone, heading rapidly out of our solar system just as quickly as it came. But now that we know interstellar asteroids exist, scientists have been on the hunt for more. And according to a new study by Harvard researchers, there may be plenty to find.

© Vox Oumuamua is the only interstellar object we ’ ve ever seen in our solar system . What is it ? “I was very surprised. Eventually, they calculated that the South Pacific meteor had not grabbed a speed assist by slingshotting around other planets in our solar system , a trick NASA often uses to

We ’ ve only seen it as a speck of light through a telescope ( it is far away and less than half a mile in We can’t see it anymore. Artist’s concepts are the best guesses at what it might look like. Because ′ Oumuamua is the first interstellar object ever observed in our solar system , researchers caution

Since the rock was the first interstellar object ever spotted in our solar system, the scientists called it Oumuamua — a Hawaiian word meaning either “scout” or “messenger sent from the distant past to reach out to us.” But they had no idea where it came from. And they still don’t know whether it was truly an asteroid, or something more closely resembling a comet.

In 2018, the mystery of Oumuamua deepened further. After slingshotting around the sun with enough speed to overcome the grasp of its gravity, it did something a bit unexpected: It sped up, propelled by some inexplicable force.

“There was something affecting its motion other than the gravitational forces of the Sun and planets,” Marco Micheli of the European Space Agency, which was tracking the object, said in a June press statement. When the Hubble Space Telescope spotted Oumuamua in the beginning of January 2018, it was some 25,000 miles ahead of its expected trajectory (see the GIF below), as a paper by Micheli and co-authors in Nature explains.

Voyager 2 probe 'leaves Solar System'

Voyager 2 probe 'leaves Solar System' Voyager 2, a space probe launched in 1977, becomes only the second human-made object to enter the space between the stars.

When we saw this object passing through our Solar System , it jumped out as being unlike anything else. Every object that we ’ ve ever found has an orbit with But when we first found ‘ Oumuamua , we recognized it was something special. Unlike everything else we ’ ve ever found, its eccentricity was 1.2.

What we know and what we don't know about the interstellar object ʻOumuamua. This mysterious visitor is the first object ever seen in our solar system that originated elsewhere. The interstellar object ' Oumuamua perplexed scientists in October 2017 as it whipped past Earth at an unusually

Oumuamua is the only interstellar object we’ve ever seen in our solar system. What is it? © NASA JPL

Oumuamua is a very mysterious, fascinating object

There could be a very simple explanation for Oumuamua’s acceleration. Like a comet, it may have been expelling debris and gases from its surface; that would be enough to propel it along like rocket fuel burning off the end of a spacecraft.

However, astronomers saw no visible evidence of these jets. Also confusing: When Oumuamua was closest to the sun, it didn’t break apart like a comet would amid the heat and display a telltale tail. So there’s evidence both for and against the hypothesis that Oumuamua is a comet or comet-like.

There is also a new, um ... far-out-there explanation for Oumuamua’s speed.

Oumuamua is the only interstellar object we’ve ever seen in our solar system. What is it? © NASA/JPL-Caltech An artist’s illustration of how Oumuamua moves through space. An artist’s illustration of how Oumuamua moves through space.'

Was it sent to us by intelligent alien life? (Spoiler: Unlikely!)

In a forthcoming paper in Astrophysical Journal Letters, Harvard professors Shmuel Bialy and Abraham Loeb revisit the observations of Oumuamua and find that its motion does indeed seem to be explained by normal phenomena (Loeb is the head of Harvard’s astronomy department). They find that solar radiation pressure — i.e., the force the sun’s radiation exerts on objects — is a plausible explanation for the object’s acceleration, if it’s the case that Oumuamua is a very thin object.

'Farout,' the most-distant solar system object discovered

'Farout,' the most-distant solar system object discovered For the first time, an object in our solar system has been found more than 100 times farther than Earth is from the sun. The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center announced the discovery Monday, calling the object 2018 VG18. But the researchers who found it are calling it "Farout." They believe the spherical object is a dwarf planet more than 310 miles in diameter, with a pinkish hue. That color has been associated with objects that are rich in ice, and given its distance from the sun, that isn't hard to believe.

Astronomers have confirmed that an object that recently passed by our planet is from outside our Solar System — the first interstellar asteroid that ’s It ’s thought to be about a quarter-mile long, and about 10 times longer than it is wide. That makes it unlike any asteroids seen in our Solar System

The first known interstellar object to visit our solar system , 1I/2017 U1 ‘ Oumuamua , was discovered Oct. That aspect ratio is greater than that of any asteroid or comet observed in our solar system to date. While its elongated shape is quite surprising, and unlike objects seen in our solar system , it

At the very end of the paper, they throw out another hypothetical explanation: “Alternatively, a more exotic scenario is that ‘Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.”

Exotic indeed. It’s possible, they suggest, that Oumuamua is a light sail, a type of spacecraft propulsion device.

You can think of a light sail as being like a kite, but instead of being pushed by air in our atmosphere, radiation from the sun propels it forward. Humans have designed these light sails (there’s a pretty gonzo plan in the works called Breakthrough Starshot to develop solar sails propelled by lasers to send tiny spacecraft to the star Alpha Centauri. As The Verge points out, Loeb is the chair of the advisory board for this project.) So you may think, “Well, an advanced alien species might be able to make these things as well.”

It’s a fun thought, but Bialy and Loeb present nothing beyond hypothetical evidence this could be the case. It’s extremely unlikely that Oumuamua is actually an alien spacecraft, propelled by some sort of alien technology. As this excellent Vox piece by Liv Boeree explains, if other intelligences exist, they are probably far beyond the cosmological horizon and therefore forever invisible to us.

What is Oumuamua? Here's what we know so far

What is Oumuamua? Here's what we know so far Some scientists say the visitor from another star system could be an alien spacecraft. How was Oumuamua discovered? Robert Weryck, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy, found Oumuamua by accident. On Oct. 19, 2017, he was using the Pan-STARRS telescope on Maui to scan the skies for Earth-approaching asteroids. At first he thought he had found one. "But then I was able to locate it in two images from the previous night," he said, "and when I combined them together the orbit didn't make sense.

Beyond our own solar system , we have discovered thousands of planetary systems orbiting other stars in the Milky Way. Life as We Know It . Our solar system is the only one known to support life. ' Oumuamua , the first known interstellar object to travel through our solar system , got an

No object from interstellar space had ever been confirmed in our solar system before. Researchers therefore scrambled to learn more about The Spitzer non-detection also suggests that ' Oumuamua is perhaps 10 times more reflective than comets native to our solar system , study team members said.

Yet which of Bialy and Loeb’s findings do you think got most of the press attention?

Oumuamua is the only interstellar object we’ve ever seen in our solar system. What is it? © Screenshot/GoogleNews

Here’s the thing: Oumuamua doesn’t have to be an object created by an alien species to be cool. It’s still the first interstellar object we’ve ever witnessed crossing into our solar neighborhood.

And scientists still don’t know if it represents an entirely new class of objects — neither comet nor asteroid — that are hurtling through the galaxy. (Bialy and Loeb argue it does represent a new class, writing it was “either produced naturally, through a yet unknown process in or in proto-planetary disks, or of an artificial origin.”)

In a January interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Loeb said he still thinks it’s possible the probe is of intelligent origin, and that scientists should take an “archaeological” approach to studying unfamiliar objects found in space.

“We have no way of knowing whether it’s active technology, or a spaceship that is no longer operative and is continuing to float in space,” Loeb told Haaretz. “But if Oumuamua was created together with a whole population of similar objects that were launched randomly, the fact that we discovered it means that its creators launched a quadrillion probes like it to every star in the Milky Way.”

There are less “exotic” explanations for Oumuamua that are still brain-meltingly awesome. One, as Quanta magazine outlines, is the possibility is that Oumuamua is a shard of a planet that was blown up by a dying star. How cool would that be?

Oumuamua is indeed an odd, alien object. Just probably not the type you’ve seen in the movies.

Read More

'Oumuamua Is Not An Alien Ship, Scientists Say.
New theories suggest that the mysterious 'Oumuamua may not be an alien spacecraft after all. Scientists have recently come up with possible theories on why the space object is not an alien spaceship as what others claimed since its discovery in October 2017. 'Oumuamua is a unique, cigar-shaped space object that’s believed to have come from another solar system. It is estimated to measure 400 meters long and NASA once described it as “unusual.” require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

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