Universe Guide

Asteroid Visitor from Another Solar System

Most asteroids that orbit our Sun are left over debris from the early days of the solar system. They were born and have lived their whole lives within the confines of our solar system. There could be some that were passing by and caught by the Sun's gravity but there are none that we are aware of. It has been announced that an asteroid has been spotted that is from another solar system. The asteroid was probably spat out from its solar system if it got too close to its star in the constellation of Lyra. Hindustan Times

The name of the asteroid is 1I/2017 U1 but it has a more common name for which is better known. The asteroid is also known as Oumuamua, a Hawaiian word that translates to messenger from afar. The asteroid was spotted by astronomers from the Pan-Starrs1 telescope in Hawaii hence its name.

In addition to the shape and path of the object, the shape of the object has also caught people interest. When you look at asteroids in our solar system, they are ball like but this one is different, it is long and thin. The asteroid is estimated at being 400 meters long which is roughly about a quarter of a mile and is said to be ten times as long as it is wide. N.A.S.A.

Oumuamua has a reddish colour and rotates about every 7.3 hours The asteroid is travelling at 85,700 miles an hour, something we can't do yet. The New Horizons space probe that went to Pluto in comparison travelled at 36, 373 miles an hour. New Horizons took ten years to get to Pluto, this asteroid if it were to travel in that direction would do it in a third of the time. As it is travelling too fast, it won't be captured by the Sun's gravity and pulled into orbit round it. At a rough calculation, the New Horizons would take 78,000 years to get to Rigil Kentaurus a.k.a. Alpha Centauri, our second nearest star. The Oumuamua would take 26,000 years. Neither New Horizons or Oumuamua are going in that direction.

Some people have considered whether the asteroid is just asteroid or is an alien craft instead. Radio telescopes were trained on the object to listen for anything that might suggest that is anything other than an asteroid and..... Silence, nothing to indicate that the asteroid is anything other than an asteroid.

If aliens were inside that asteroid, they would be hibernating or dead given the length of the journey that they would have had to undertake to get here. Were they inhibinating, the rock would have slowed down unless their target was elsewhere in the Pegasus constellation. It will reach the orbit of Saturn just over a year from when it was discovered. C.N.N

N.A.S.A. artists impression of the Oumuamua asteroid.

N.A.S.A. artists impression of the Oumuamua path through our solar system.

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