& # 39; Oumuamua made headlines in 2017 when it was first detected by the Pan-STARRS telescope. Many theories abound about this mysterious object, but here we have compiled a number of strange things about Oumuamua.
In addition to potential conspiracy theories, we know, or think we do, some things about visitors who are far from other worlds.
1. We don't know where it came from
& # 39; Oumuamua still keeps a lot of secrets, and we might never be able to answer. One of the questions is where it came from.
We know that it entered our solar system from the rough direction of Lyra's constellation, but that's all.
Whenever Oumuamua wanders from its parent solar system, stars are in a different position from today, so, at best, educated guesses about where they come from.
Because of its extraordinary speed compared to our Sun, we know it is very unlikely to come from our own Solar System. In addition, the possibility will not be captured in the sun's orbit and will only be a passing visitor.
It might be that Oumuamua actually has galavated around the galaxy for millions, if not billions of years before visiting our home solar system, but we might never really know for sure.
We also know that it approaches us from, more or less, directly above the rough plane where most planets and interstellar objects orbit the Sun. This means that it does not have a meeting close to one of the main planets in our solar system on the approach.
But a team of scientists who are doing the latest work thinks they might have a clue. They believe we can actually narrow its origins to one in four, star candidates.
After taking into account some of the gravitational interactions with our solar system, scientists consulted data from the European Space Agency's Gaia mission to help them reconstruct its path before paying us a visit.
In their estimation, it could have come from the HIP 3757 red dwarf, a sun-like star HD 292249, and two other stars without an adjustable nickname.
2. We don't really know what it is like
Although there are many artistic impressions & Oumuamua circulating on the internet, we actually don't know what that is. Until now, scientists could only see it as a tiny speck of light through their telescopes.
We know that it falls through space and seems, more or less, shaped like a cigar. In this case, it's about 10 times longer from its width. Interestingly, most interstellar objects tend to have a length to width ratio, at most, around 1 to 3.
Scientists know this because the brightness of objects between stars (or the amount of sunlight reflected) varies by a factor of 10 every eight hours or more. This strongly implies that 'Oumuamua has a very elongated shape.
Not only that, but by using the same observational data, scientists have been able to conclude that it must fall throughout space. This, basically, acts like a flashing light when making an inevitable journey towards us.
We are now losing sight because it only exists in the Solar System for several days. Even so, he does have a very low albedo, like a hard metal surface, reddened by cosmic rays. In addition, anyone can guess what this mysterious foreign visitor looks like in reality.
3. & # 39; Oumuamua gets a slight increase in speed when approaching us
At some point during his approach to us, & # 39; Oumuamua seemed to have received a small speed boost. Observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories note that acceleration is increasing which slightly changes its direction from what was originally predicted.
"The measurement of our high-precision position umu Oumuamua reveals that there is something that affects its movements besides the gravitational force of the Sun and planets," said Marco Micheli of the European Space Agency
Although we may never really know for sure, there are several hypotheses as to why this happened. Davide Farnocchia, from the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said:
"This additional subtle power in umu Oumuamua is probably caused by a burst of gas material released from its surface. This same type of outgassing affects the movement of many comets in our solar system."
But this is only a hypothesis. Unlike other space object visitors, such as comets, Oumuamua's outgassing is not observed. The possibility of small dust particles being discharged from the larger surface is enough to give a little kick in speed.
4. This is the first interstellar object that we have successfully observed
& # 39; Oumuamua is the first confirmed interstellar object we have ever observed in our solar system. Even so, scientists expect one at some point.
This kind of event has, in fact, been expected for decades. Interstellar space is likely to have billions of billions of perimeter objects such as asteroids and comets.
It is inevitable that some of these small bodies will eventually come to visit.
However, they also warned that we should not be tempted to draw too many general conclusions from Oumuamua. Especially because it doesn't seem to fit our general understanding of more general visitors such as comets and asteroids.
Our current observations seem to show that the star system regularly secretes objects such as comets at all times. This means there will be more of them flying through cold empty spaces.
Future land and space-based surveys can detect more of these interstellar vagabonds, giving larger samples for scientists to analyze. Many scientists can hardly resist their excitement in anticipation of observing the next.
Except, of course, we found it was on the path of a direct collision with Mother Earth!
5. We don't really know what it is made of
Things like comets, once they enter our solar system, tend to kick a lot of dust and gas when they approach the Sun. But all observations made from & # 39; Oumuamua show this did not happen to this mysterious visitor.
For this reason, some scientists consider classifying objects as asteroids. But, as explained above, it might have kicked some dust and / or gas particles, thereby increasing small velocities at some point during the approach.
We know it's very reflective. Especially considering the relatively small size.
Compared to Oumuamua, other solar-type asteroids are at least ten times more reflective. Beyond that, we cannot really be sure what it is made of.
Other researchers at Queen's University in Belfast, noted that it appeared to have a strange reddish surface color. They believe this could mean it has a protective crust like carbon rather than made of metal.
They also noted that it might, at one time, be more like an ordinary comet. Since long exposure to cosmic radiation has changed its composition so that it cannot be recognized anymore.
Besides that, maybe there is still ice in the core. If the carbon crust is like having at least thickness 20 inches or morethen it will be quite isolated from the sun's heat and prevent the path from being seen.
But all this is just speculation at the moment. We may never know for sure.
6. It won't stay around
& # 39; Oumuamua will only be with us for a very short time, of course relative. After passing through the ecliptic of our solar system, we will return to the void of space.
Right now out of our solar system around 26 km per second by some estimates and it will take more than 20,000 years to finally leave us. That's the blink of an eye in the galaxy's time span.
To add to our frustration, it is relatively difficult to observe it with a telescope that is now. Scientists hope to really be able to send investigations to objects at some point in the future.
With current technology, this is not possible now. Even the fastest object ever launched by humans into space, Voyager 1, currently reaches 16.6 km per second.
Most likely we will never be able to catch it in the near future even with the ambition to use laser propulsion probes and solar screens. We may only need to wait for the next one to arrive.
7. This shows that we are not really ready for the impact of the Earth in the future
While we have a system for detecting impacts that might end up from space, & O39amua shows us that they might not be ready to scratch. But these visitors to space practically shocked the scientific community.
The near-visible trajectory of the Earth is also something worrying. While we've escaped with this one, if it crashes into Earth, it will easily erase the entire city.
Estimates of his destructive power indicate that he can match more than 2,050 Hiroshima bombs that exploded at the same time. It can vaporize everything inside 50 km from the impact zone.
This will kill hundreds of thousands to millions of people. If it crashes into a large population center, of course.
While it was detected by the Pan-STARRS telescope, which was designed to detect this kind of thing, its sudden appearance showed us that more work had to be done. At present there are more sophisticated systems, such as the Big Synoptic Survey Telescope, which is being built, we may need to redesign our early warning system.