Mysterious Interstellar Object Has Scientists Looking Towards The Stars


We have a visitor from beyond the stars and its name is 'Oumuamua.

Discovered by Robert Weryk using the Pan-STARRS telescope at Haleakala Observatory, Hawaii on October 19th, 2017, 'Oumuamua is the first interstellar object to enter our solar system that we have been able to record. Scientists have been studying the object in the narrow window that it will be visible to our telescopes before traveling back into the universe. Both SETI and physicist Stephen Hawkings' private research group the Breakthrough Initiative's are attempting to scan it for signs of life.

ʻOumuamua is a relatively small object, estimated to be about 230 by 35 meters (800 ft × 100 ft) in size. It is long, slender, and very dense, comparable to metal-rich rock. The surface has a reddish exterior, which is similar to objects in the outer solar system and is theorized to be caused by billions of years of exposure to solar radiation. It is tumbling on its axis rather than gliding smoothly due to its proximity to the sun's gravitational pull. When it first entered the solar system it was classified as a comet, though a new categorization type had to be created upon further study. 

NASA scientists are intrigued because nothing similar to 'Oumumua has been close enough to be studied before. 

This object is simply a piece of another solar system that was expelled and it has been travelling through interstellar space through hundreds of millions of years - for billions of years - we don’t know.”
— Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies

The name comes from Hawaiian ʻoumuamua, meaning "scout", and mua, reduplicated for emphasis, meaning "first, in advance of." This fanciful name has been part of the object's mythology, as many people are investigating the object for alien evidence. The SETI Institute's radio telescope, the Allen Telescope Array, examined ʻOumuamua, but detected no unusual radio emissions. The Green Bank Telescope, which is funded by the Breakthrough Initiative, are listening for radio signals and we will update the story as new discoveries become available. As it stands, this truly unique visitor is on the way out of the solar system, leaving behind a fascinating legacy of scientific study.