Oumuamua, the first interstellar object of our solar system. Discovered on October 19, 2017 by Hawaii’s Pan- STARRS1 telescope, funded by NASA’s NEAR –EARTH OBJECT OBSERVATIONS (NEOO) program. NEOO is a program which finds and tracks asteroids and comets in the space. While, as per scientists this object is definitely not a comet. It never showed a cometary activity after it slingshotted past the Sun on September 9, 2017 at a blistering speed of 196,000 miles per hour (87.3 kilometers per second). This is the first confirmed visitor from another star which is travelling in our solar system. This so-called “Interstellar visitor” appears to be a rocky, cylinder-shaped object with a bloodred tinge. As stated by Oumuamua’s discoverers this object is 400 meters long and highly widened – it may be 10 times as long as it is wide. This thing is greater than any asteroid or comet found in our solar system till date. This is the first time we have got an interstellar object in our own solar system but for decades scientists theorized that these types of interstellar objects are out there in other star systems.
How did this interstellar object got its term name OUMUAMUA
This object was conventionally named as 1l/2017 U1 by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). IAU is officially responsible to name these types of objects in our solar system and afar. In addition for naming it technically Pan-STARRS team tagged it as OUMUAMUA, which Hawaiians for “a messenger from afar arriving first.”
Nobody saw Oumuamua coming
This rocky object was seen by a researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, “Rob Weryk”. He was the one to lay eyes on this unknown thing, as he resolved through the telescope’s latest pull. This object was just moving in a rapid pace covering the night sky. Weryk never took it seriously, just thought it was a normal asteroid orbiting the sun. He assured that it was only then when he found out [in the data from] the previous night that it became obvious that it was something else. “I’d never expected to find something like this” he said. Weryk and his teammates spent extra time to study this object more deeply and completely. When astronomers were examining this object they measured the movement of the same. They were astonished. This object was not developed in our own solar system, it just came from some other star galaxy.
Some weird facts about OUMUAMUA other than it’s name!
- As we know, this object is the first seen interstellar object to our own solar system. So, its visit has exciting and scaring moments both for the scientists.
- Oumuamua has many hidden secrets that cannot be answered and one such question is “where did it came from?”
- Till date scientists don’t know that how does this object actually looks like. From there telescopes they can only see this object as a small stain of light.
- At some particular point this interstellar object when entered our solar system just had a small speed boost which changed its course from what it was initially predicted.
- As all the comets and asteroids when enter our solar system they kick off some dust and gas particles, but this was not the case with this interstellar object.
- Oumuamua has already crossed the elliptical of our solar system and its currently exiting our solar system at around 26km per second by some estimates and will take over 20,000 years to finally leave us.
- It’s obvious near-Earth path was also something of a worry. Much as we’ve ‘gotten away with this one’, if it had hit Earth, it would have easily erased an entire city. Estimates of its disastrous power indicate that it could have equaled over 2,050 Hiroshima bombs detonating at the same time. It could have disappeared everything within 50 km of its impact zone.
- This would have killed hundreds of thousands to millions of people. If it hit a large population interiors, of course.