Take Mah's ballot.
from Cory S. Powell
Astronomers have cataloged eight planets, 6500 comets, and more than 525,000 asteroids, but Oumuamua is the only one of its kind. The extended cosmic object, which was discovered to jump over the sun in 2017, is the only heavenly body known to have visited our solar system from another.
It is believed that Oumaamu is an exotic type of comet or asteroid, but it is so strange that some astronomers have speculated that this might be an alien spacecraft.
How was Oumoumou discovered?
Robert Werick, a postdoctoral student at the Astronomy Institute at Hawaii University, accidentally discovered Oumoumoua. On October 19, 2017 he used Maui's Pan-STARRS telescope to scan the sky for asteroids approaching Earth. At first he thought he had found one. "But then I found two images of the previous night," he said, "and when I put them together, the orbit did not make sense.
After gathering further observations, Weryck and colleague Marco Micheli came to the conclusion that the trajectory of the site showed it was "out of our solar system".
Astronomers have been looking for such a visitor for decades. "It is most surprising that we have never seen any interstellar objects go before," said Karen Mech, another astronomer at the institute, before NASA a week after opening.
What is this name?
The site was officially cataloged as 1I / 2017 U1 ("1" for the first and "I" for the interstellar), but such a historical find obviously needed something more memorable.
"Everyone agreed we wanted a Hawaiian name," says Warrick. – We contacted the Hawaiian Research Group at Hawaiian University. We told them about the subject, how we found it, and they offered you Oumuamua. "The name, which means" first scout from a distant place ", is pronounced" о, моо ах моо ах ".
What does Oumuamua look like?
Imagine a cigar floating in space, and you have the right idea.
Oumuamua went too far from the Earth to look like something more than a point, even through the largest telescopes. But the way his light brightened, then darkened, showed a stretched shape-at least seven times as wide as it was, according to Mike, or about 3000 feet per 400 feet. The object rolls over, ending a full flip every eight hours.
Despite the many realistic illustrations you may have seen from Oumuamua, astronomers have no idea of how they look close – even though the data indicates they have a reddish surface.
What does Oumuamua consist of?
No one knows this for sure, although its color is similar to that of some comets made of rock and ice. Oumamura accelerated as it passed by the sun, as if driven by the "dumping" of frozen material from its surface, which seemed to confirm its identity as a comet. But the observations of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope do not reveal a comet tail of gas or dust disturbing astronomers.
"It has to be fair to explain the acceleration," said Mace, adding that it might look different from the comets we know because it was born around another star. In addition, Oumaamu would have been blasted by radiation and dust during his long journey through the deep space that could form a crust that holds most of his frozen gases inside. A rough rush can explain his long, skinny shape.
Where does Oumuamua come from? Where is it going?
Oumuamua comes from the direction of the Lyra constellation and is now heading for the Pegasus constellation. The road and its movement obviously do not match those of any of the nearby stars. But as it backed off, a team of astronomers found that Oumuamua would be near a small red star called HIP 3757 about a million years ago, suggesting that this is a possible place of origin.
The gravity of the sun slows down Oumuamua, but it is not enough to hold it. Eventually, it will set at a speed of 59,000 miles per hour (16 miles per second) and will move between the stars of the Milky Way.
Can it really be a foreign ship?
Harvard astronomer Avi Lowb gave this controversial idea a big push with a scientific paper stating that the unusual form of Oumoumoua and their surprising acceleration suggest that it could be a spacecraft run by alien light. Leeb does not claim to be an alien craft, but scientists only need to consider this possibility.
The document was rejected by many astronomers, but it inspired some researchers to listen (meaningless) radio broadcasts from Oumuamua. This suggests that the only way we can understand what is certain would be to study it closely.
Bearing this in mind, a group of space engineers prepared a Lira Project, a proposal for an ultra-fast spacecraft that could catch up with Oumoumoua. The authors propose such a mission to be possible by sending a large rocket to a slice trajectory around the sun.
Is Oumama really the only one of his kind?
Although Oumuamua is the first object of this type that has ever been observed, astronomers believe that there may be trillions of others. It is possible that they have passed past us all the time, but they are so fast and weak that we have missed them so far.
The Chilean large telescopic telescope, which will continually scan the sky with a 27-foot light-collecting mirror, could see more such objects when it began functioning in 2022. When it is no longer the only one of its kind, astronomers need, you will eventually get a clearer picture of what Oumuamua really is.
Want more stories about astronomy?
Follow NBC NEWS MACH ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM.