It is neither a comet nor an asteroid, and less so that it resembles a cigar, as has been speculated thus far. The first known interstellar visitor to our solar system looks more like the remnants of a Pluto-like world and shaped like a cookie.
Astronomers at Arizona State University defend the theory, who report that the 45-meter-high UFO that passed near Earth in 2017 appears to be made of frozen nitrogen, as well as the surface of Pluto and Neptune’s largest moon, Newt.
Called Oumuamua (something like the “pioneer” in Hawaii, after the observatory in Hawaii discovered it), the interstellar object turned out to be a mystery to astronomers, because it didn’t fit into any of the known categories.
The secret of Alomuamua
Although it looked like an asteroid, it was speeding up like a comet. However, unlike a comet, it had no visible tail. Therefore, speculation has ranged between a comet and asteroid, and it has even been suggested that it could be an artifact made by aliens.
“Everyone is interested in aliens, so it was inevitable that this first object outside the solar system would make people think about this,” the science team said in a statement. “But in science, it is important not to jump to conclusions.”
Depending on the object’s brightness, size, and shape, and the fact that it was supported by materials that dissipated without leaving a visible tail, American scientists created computer models that helped them determine the nature of Oumuamua.
In the form of a cookie
In their study, the researchers concluded that it was likely a piece of nitrogen ice that was gradually eroding. When Oumuamua reached its closest point to Earth, it appeared to be six times its thickness. The scientific team noted that these are the approximate proportions of the cookie.
The results have been published in two articles on Tuesday, March 16th, before American Geophysical Union It was also presented at the Planetary and Moon Science Conference, which is usually held in Houston, but is hypothetical this year.
The product of an alien civilization
But not all scholars agree with the new interpretation. Renowned Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb discusses the results and insists that the object appears more artificial than natural – in other words, something of an alien civilization. He addresses the issue in his new book Extraterrestrial: The first sign of intelligent life outside Earth.
Loeb said in an interview with Agence France-Presse in February: “These ideas that explain the specific characteristics of Oumuamua always include something that we have not seen before.” “If this is the direction we’re taking, why not think of an artificial origin?”
Today more than 3 billion kilometers away, too far to be detected even by the Hubble Space Telescope, Oumuamua should begin leaving our solar system around 2040. By that time, the width-to-thickness ratio will drop to 10 to 1, says Desh. “So maybe the ‘Oumuamua, which looked like a cake when we saw it, is as flat as a pie,” Desh told AFP.
EL (AFP, AP)