All the stars Matthew Knight saw through the giant telescope in Arizona were bright with persistent light. All of them, but one that seemed to blink in a way – light that went in and out, boring and so bright, every hour. He assumed there was something wrong with his data. But days earlier, the researcher at the University of Maryland heard about a strange object in space when it was discovered by the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii.
What he saw was an interstellar object – the first thing we have ever been able to observe from the ground – tumble through our solar system, rotating and reflecting sunlight in pulses.
When it was discovered, many theories arose about the origin of the object. One suggested that it was from a foreign civilization that sailed into our solar system. Some scientists thought it was possible that the object was a foreign sun canopy that stood on the sun's light to push it through the space.
"I don't really want to say that it's not foreigners because we didn't really go to it and see it close," Knight said. "But I think it's a very unlikely opportunity."
For a week at the end of October 2017, data was collected as the object ran through the solar system. Scientists concluded the cigar-shaped object called "Oumuamua" was natural. It does not come from a foreign civilization. In a paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, 14 researchers, including Knight, wrote that "they found" no convincing evidence to favor a foreign explanation to "Oumuamua" to the horror of alien hunters everywhere.
– uh-moo-uh, the Hawaiian word roughly translates to "messenger from afar ." Co-author Karen Meech, an astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, asked Hawaiian language experts to name the object after it first week of observations.
The object of the object waved scientists to its origin, which showed that it was actually interstellar – or in other words to have come outside our solar system. It simply did not take that kind of path as one of our own solar system objects would take. "19659009]" It wasn't actually caught here, it just went through, "said the knight and referred to when a solar system's gravity pulls an object in orbit." So whizzed by us, asserted the sun and then it went out again. "
Scientists noted that & # 39; Oumuamua seemed to unexpectedly accelerate. According to Knight, this could have been because the object was a comet with ice was evaporating and gave it a little kick when it entered the solar system. But the researchers did not see a gas hale or registered person directly.
Instead, scientists categorized it more generally as planetary, which means "Oumuamua is probably" just a residual remnant from another solar system's birth process, "Meech said as a giant bricks that could at some point have merged with other space poles to form a planet but not. suspect that "Oumuamua was excluded from its own solar system.
Now it's on a trip through the galaxy.
It was just to travel through s tempo, sense of his own business, and at one point it became close to our solar system, then it began to feel the gravitational pull from our sun, and then it was pulled through, "knight said.
Once in our solar system" Oumuamua jumped and tumbled for visibility. Using ground telescopes, Meech's team recorded data for a week. Then, from November 2018 through the first week of January, it was only slightly visible through the Hubble Space Telescope.
& # 39; Oumuamua's brightness changed in visibility as you looked at the narrow side and then the long side. Knight compared it to looking at a bottle of soda.
"If you see the length of it, it's a very wide cross section," said the knight. "But if you look at it on the hat, you only see a narrow area."
Scientists do not know exactly how big & O-39 Oumuamua is. They could only appreciate because of how it reflected sunlight. Knight said "sizes from about [650 feet] to about [3,300 feet] would all be consistent with known asteroids and comets in our solar system."
For the past 30 years, researchers predicted that objects from another star system could be detected. Over the past 10 years, the technology of studying such weak and fast objects has improved. & # 39; Oumuamua is the first, but probably not the last, interstellar object to be observed. Over the next 10 years, scientists could probably see one every year.
In early July, "Oumuamua was just outside Saturn."
"Over the next hundred years it will zoom out of our solar system" Ridder said "
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