It was on October 19, the astronomers responsible for using the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii believed they were observing an asteroid, or even a comet, that had originated within our solar system. However, in analyzing the object in more detail, as well as its orbit, light and shape, they realized that after all, it was not what they expected.
According to a study published in the journal Nature, the description was of a weak light that moved at a very fast speed, and that in fact it was an object that came from outside the Milky Way. This would be the first object coming from outside our solar system to be observed from Earth. Astronomers pointed three telescopes at the object for three nights in a row to try to figure out what it was before it took off at about 85,700 miles per hour.
It was through a statement that the leader of the research team explained the finding was “a fast-rotating object, at least the size of a football field, which alternated the brightness in a dramatic way”. Meanwhile, CNN said that the object coming from space was long and cigar-shaped, with a dark tint (due to millions of years of radiation from cosmic rays). This tone and color resemble those of some objects already located in the Kuiper Belt, outside the Milky Way. However, the orbit and the format of this described as “cigar”, identifies it as being an interstellar object.
The whole team of astronomers who have carried out this whole research process believe that the composition of the object is mainly metal, and that it rotates on its own axis every 7.3 hours. Its shape can be described as being 10 times longer than wide, and nothing like that had ever been identified. As a rule, the longer spatial objects already observed were only about three times longer than wide objects than the object in question.
And this, is the first to get a name, was therefore officially designated as A / 2017 UI, by the International Astronomical Union, responsible for the creation of this category after the discovery. However, the object has one more name at its disposal, it is “Oumuamua”. This is the name of Hawaiian origin, partially derived from the place where the telescope was at the first observation, and means “a message that comes from a distant past”. In a statement, the NASA space agency explained that “for decades we have theorized about the existence of interstellar objects, and now – for the first time – we have direct evidence that they exist. This historical discovery opens a new window for the study of the formation of solar systems beyond ours”.
Its origin is still unknown, but astronomers have information that when the Milky Way was formed, it spread several asteroids and comets, due to the orbits of the higher-sized planets. Thus, it is plausible that other solar systems are doing the same, and that this object carries with it the secrets of the formation of other planetary systems.
Already in relation to its route, scientists believe that it has been traveling through our galaxy for millions of years without being associated with any other solar system, until it reached the planet Earth, until us. Due to the speed at which it travels, “Oumuamua” would have much more impact in the event of a collision with Earth than any other object already identified in the Milky Way.