Science

The first interstellar object discovered might be from a binary solar system, a new study suggests

The first interstellar object discovered might be from a binary solar system, a new study suggests

The first interstellar object to visit our solar system was discovered in 2017 by Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) at Haleakala Observatory on Maui Island. The interstellar object was named 11/2017 or ‘Oumuamua’ that means ‘scout’ in Hawaiian. Although it was confirmed that this alien object originated from outside our solar system, it was recently confirmed by a study that it hails from a binary system where two stars are revolving around each other with a common center of gravity.

Oumuamua is a mysterious object with a 1,300 foot-long needle-shaped body and it has a hyperbolic orbit which is pretty strange. It has been concluded that the orbit of the asteroid is hyperbolic because it is not bound to any star. Earlier, scientists believed that it was a comet, however, the object failed to satisfy the requirements of a comet such as the long tail, cometary activity, cloud-like coma ever after it reached near the Sun and thus, it was classified as an asteroid. The object undertook a trajectory with an eccentricity of 1.2 which is an open-ended hyperbolic orbit while transiting at the speed of 30 km per second.

Alan Jackson who is a Ph.D. researcher at the Centre for Planetary Sciences at the University of Toronto, the object being an asteroid was odd since, comets are easy to spot and that, solar system ejects comets higher than the number of ejected asteroids. Soon, the researchers along with Alan Jackson undertook computer-modeling and simulation where they found out that Oumuamua didn’t originate from a single star system but a binary system i.e. a solar system with two stars. Since the universe has a plethora of binary systems with more than half any stellar companion, this is plausible.

Little is known about the mysterious object ‘Oumuamua’ and it is still under wrap whether from when the object is voyaging in the universe and how it was born and ejected from a binary system. According to the statistics, such rocky objects are formed in the prime ejection zone of a binary system where at least one of the star is big. It is said that the object 11/2017 was ejected from its location in the binary system during natal system’s planet-formation period. On Oct 14 last year, the object made the closest approach to the Earth at around 24 million kilometers or 15 million miles at a lightning speed. The asteroid is now barrelling towards the end of our solar system and has become too small to be studied even with the use of the largest telescopes on the Earth.

Per the researchers, similar to how comets help us understand the planet formation in our solar system, such objects originating from distant solar system helps us understand their formation system which is a great achievement. The new study made by Alan Jackson and his colleagues has published in the journal ‘Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society’ on March 19.

Excerpt from Wikipedia
Oumuamua is formally known as 1I/2017 U1 i.e. the first interstellar object to pass our solar system. It was discovered by Robert Weryk using Pan-STARRS at Haleakala Observatory on Maui Island, Hawaii on October 19, 2017. The object has a dark red color and depicts rotation rate and elongation which hints towards its metal-rich rock. Soon, it will traverse our solar system and leave in to travel in the interstellar space. According to the estimated distance from the Sun, it will be over 10AU away from the Sun in 2019 with a velocity of 29.51km/s. It will propel to the distance of 2300AU relative to the Sun by 2430.

About the author

The TeCake Staff

A team of writers hired in the house of The TeCake, which consists of journalists with broad, deep experience in print and online writing, publication and site management, news coverage, and editorial team management.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

You Might Also Like