Interstellar Object 'Oumuamua Has Purely Natural Origin, Say Astronomers | Astronomy

Interstellar Object 'Oumuamua Has Purely Natural Origin, Say Astronomers | Astronomy”

Researchers quickly aimed their telescopes at the object before it traveled too far from Earth's view.

"This one's gone forever", David Trilling, an astronomer at Northern Arizona University, previously told Business Insider.

As Loeb explained to Universe Today: "We explain the excess acceleration of 'Oumuamua away from the Sun as the result of the force that the sunlight exerts on its surface".

The limits of information gathered about the object left room for scientists to offer guesses about what it might be and where it came from.

With a cigar shape of 800 meters long and reddish in color, it was detected by the Haleakala Observatory of Hawaii (USA) and from the first moment it showed its characteristics, such as "a disconcerting movement" that did not match either a comet or an asteroid, although in several studies it has been considered both. But almost all other experts who have studied 'Oumuamua say the aliens hypothesis is extraordinarily unlikely. But, after carefully reviewing all our observations of the object, the global team of 'Oumuamua scientists has concluded that everything we know about it is consistent with a natural origin.

"Our key finding is that 'Oumuamua's properties are consistent with a natural origin, and an alien explanation is unwarranted", said University of Maryland astronomer Matthew Knight, co-leader of the research published in the Nature Astronomy.

The source of the 'Oumuamua controversy is that the object is undeniably weird. It appeared to be unaffected by the gravitational pull, and the tell-tale tail of a comet was also missing.

The motion of 'Oumuamua didn't simply follow gravity along a parabolic orbit as we would expect from an asteroid.

What's more, telescopes observed that the object was accelerating rather than slowing down, unlike most space rocks.

Astronomers at the Pan-STARRS observatory identified 'Oumuamua in October 2017, but it was already on its way out of the solar system at that point. "It's really a mystery still", Mr. Knight said. It also possesses the crime of being weird, as it looks like no other asteroid or comet would, it emits no gas (as a comet would), and its trajectory could not be explained by gravity would (as an asteroid would).

Knight and his colleagues agreed with this in their study.

However, after several years of analysis an global collaboration of scientists has adamantly squashed these claims - although they could not say the exact source of the space rock. But scientists are still perplexed about what exactly that explanation could be.

Knight and his team disagree with that hypothesis.

"But our preference is to stick with analogs we know, unless or until we find something unique".

Scientists may never settle on the true identity of 'Oumuamua, but Knight and other authors of the new study don't think 'Oumuamua will be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. It was regarded as the first interstellar visitor.

A team of researchers has debunked a conspiracy theory related to the exotic interstellar object which passed through our galaxy less than one year ago, the so-called Oumuamua. "This cross-pollination led to the first comprehensive analysis and the best big-picture summary to date of what we know about the object", Knight explained.

'If we find 10-20 of these things and Oumuamua still looks unusual, we'll have to reexamine our explanations'.

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