Oumuamua 1I/2017: The 1st Interstellar Visitor

Oumuamua 1I/2017: The 1st Interstellar Visitor

An interstellar body “Oumuamua” has been observed without our solar system on 19 Oct using Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii by the astronomers. The object was first thought to be something else and was classified under comet section. On careful analysis, it was then changed and classified as an asteroid. This is not a normal asteroid and scientists are of the view that it is first of its kind. The object has been on the move for millions of years in space and now we have been given a chance to observe it.

Oumuamua 1I/2017: The 1st Interstellar Visitor

There is no evidence of any “cometary” which usually includes a cloud of gas and the dust that surrounds the core of the comet. Oumuamua is classified as ‘Oumuamua: 1I/2017 U1’. Usually, small asteroids and comets come under standard designations which could be “C” or “A” but Ouamuamua has been given an “I” which stands for “Interstellar” and it was discovered in 2017, hence 2017 in the name. International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced its name on 14 Nov which means “a messenger from afar arriving first” and this new “I” designation has also been proposed by MPC in a meeting. The IAU committee agreed to the proposed term for the object.

The name “Oumuamua” was proposed by Pan-STARRS which was later approved by MPC. MPC is the organization which is responsible for gathering information on comets and asteroids in our solar system. MPC comes under IAU.

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Trajectory, Speed, and Distance:

Oumuamua soon revealed its trajectory to be on a hyperbolic path. It is the path which takes the object out of the solar system. Research explains that this object is not encountered by any sort of gravitational energy which proves that it has come from interstellar space.

Oumuamua passed our Sun on 9 Sept. It was closest to earth (approximately 24 million km away or 15 million miles) on 14th of October. This distance is 60 times the distance between moon and earth. Currently, this object is moving to the outer solar system at the speed of 98,400 mph relative to the Sun, analyzed in a research.

According to Matthew Holman director of MPC (Minor Planter Center) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, “Oumuamua’s composition is unknown, the object is probably more ice than rock”.

He gave this theory on the basis that bodies which come from outskirts of our solar system tend to get kicked into interstellar space and are most probably icier than rock.

People have been taking more interest in the space and there have been more observations and discoveries now. This discovery will soon help us discover more interlopers in our inner solar system. It seems like some of Stephan Hawking’s theories could be true. This is one of the reasons a new designation has been assigned to objects like this.