Interstellar Asteroid Oumuamua Had Violent Past, Say Researchers

Interstellar Asteroid Oumuamua Had Violent Past, Say Researchers

Although scientists do not yet understand the cause of the tumbling, they believe that it may have been caused by "Oumuamua colliding with another asteroid, propelling it out into interstellar space".

"Our modeling of this body suggests the tumbling will last for many billions of years to hundreds of billions of years before internal stresses cause it to rotate normally again", researcher Wes Fraser said in a statement from Queen's University Belfast.

The team discovered that 'Oumuamua wasn't spinning periodically like most of the small asteroids we see in our solar system, but instead it was tumbling, or spinning chaotically, and could have been for many billions of years. This argues for broad compositional variations, which is unusual for such a small body'.

It also settles the question of whether 'Oumuamua is solid. And scientists are shedding new light on this fascinating object, including that a violent collision sent Oumuamua tumbling through outer space.

And so - despite its quick trip through out solar system - we continue to learn more about 'Oumuamua.

Astronomers spotted the odd object - the size of New York's Empire State Building - through the powerful Pan-STARR telescope in Hawaii on October 19 past year.

Mr Feng went on to explain that the interstellar has a particularly slow speed compared with most objects in the galaxy. It was the first such object known.

Oumuamua was so mysterious and its shape was so odd that scientists got confused whether to call it an asteroid or a comet.


That's when it was reclassified as an interstellar asteroid - the first ever observed - and named 1I/2017 U1 ('Oumuamua). In addition, it has been officially given the name 'Oumuamua.

Since 'Oumuamua was spotted in October, a team of researchers at Queen's University Belfast have been analysing the object in detail.

Astronomers had been expecting to find interstellar asteroids.

The cigar-shaped object that wandered into our solar system in October was found not to be evidence of alien life - to the dismay of many - but rather just an oddly shaped rock zooming through space.

What perplexed them at first was that they didn't see behavior typical for a comet.

But recent survey telescopes, such as Pan-STARRS, are powerful enough to discover them. "Instead, the object is spinning frantically while reorienting itself, and it could have been for billions of years". The research had speculated the possibility about conspiracy theory behind asteroid Oumuamua transmitting radio signals to be true, but these conspiracy theories turned out to be false.

Scientists realized that, due to its trajectory, the object couldn't have originated in the solar system.

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