The mystery of the first interstellar object discovered may have been solved

Asteroid, comet or alien spacecraft? Oumuamua has puzzled astronomers for years; An unknown object with a length of 400 meters entered the solar system in 2017. So far, no object has come towards us from outside the Sun’s gravitational field, but Omuamoa was too fast to be under the Sun’s gravity. Also, this object was surprising because it looked like an asteroid but behaved like a comet.

According to ScienceNow, a group of researchers say that Umwamwa was definitely a comet; But a sequence with an unusual combination. Jennifer Bergnera chemist from the University of California at Berkeley New research “We can explain a lot of its strange behavior,” he says.

Marco Micheli, an astronomer at the European Space Agency who was not involved in the research, calls it the most convincing modeling of Umuamwa yet. In his opinion, this alien visitor was not much different from the comets of the solar system.

“Umuamwa was first identified on October 19, 2017. A telescope in Hawaii observed it shortly after passing close to the Sun and reaching a speed of 87 km/s; A speed that was too high for a mass of solar system origin. Astronomers named this object 1I/2017 U1 (Oumuamua), which means “first messenger from afar” in Hawaiian culture.

The Hubble and Spitzer telescopes found that Ummuamua has a strange elongation, resembling a cigarette, 100 to 400 meters long. The further away from the sun this object is, the faster it speeds up. Mitchell, who led a 2018 study on the accelerated motion of Umuamwa, believes that this behavior is possible due to the ejection of material from comets. But there were no evidences of material exit from Umwamwa. Unlike comets, there was no halo or trail of dust or gas around this object.

Bergner et al Darrell Seliman They think they can now describe what happened. Their modeling suggests that Omuamoa may have been a normal, water-rich comet around a star close to the Sun when it first formed and was ejected. They found that high-energy cosmic rays, abundant in the galaxy from supernovae and other energetic events, may have broken down up to 30 percent of the comet’s water ice into hydrogen; Hydrogen trapped in the ices of Uumamuwa on its interstellar journey.

When Umuamwa was exposed to the sun’s heat, the trapped hydrogen was released and accelerated. Molecular hydrogen has much less mass than carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide that are released in normal comets and separates less dust from the surface of the comet. This could explain the absence of gesso and tail. According to Bergner, “we don’t need to go for strange reasons to explain these behaviors.”

Previously, researchers suggested that Ummuamua might be an asteroid or a rock of hydrogen ice that formed in a cloud of gas and ice in the cold interstellar environment. Suleiman that This idea in 2020 had presented, now prefers the new explanation, based on the sequence of Umwamwa. “This hypothesis explains all the strange aspects of Umuamwa,” he says. It’s what you’d expect from an interstellar comet.”

In the past, there have been claims that Umwamwa may be an alien probe that has turned on its thrusters after passing by the Sun. Can we now disprove this claim? Bergner believes that yes.

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