Sunday , January 17 2021

What is Oumuamua? Here's what we know about the interstellar object

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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.

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