Institute for Astronomy | University of Hawaii | 2019 Jul 01
An international team of asteroid and comet experts, including two from the University of Hawaiʻi, agrees on a natural origin for our first interstellar visitor.
This artist's impression shows the first interstellar object discovered in the Solar
System, ʻOumuamua. Observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope,
CFHT, and others, show that the object is moving faster than predicted while leaving
the Solar System. The inset shows a color composite produced by combining 192
images obtained through three visible and two near-infrared filters totaling 1.6 hours
of integration on October 27, 2017, at the Gemini South telescope.
Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, ESO/M. Kornmesser, Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF
On October 19, 2017, the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System 1 (Pan-STARRS1) telescope, located at the University of Hawaiʻi's Haleakala Observatory, discovered the first known interstellar object to pass through our solar system. Researchers from around the world raced to collect as much data as possible before ʻOumuamua traveled beyond the reach of Earth's telescopes. In all, they had only a few weeks to observe the strange visitor.
The object is now usually known as ʻOumuamua, a name chosen in consultation with Hawaiian language experts Kaʻiu Kimura and Larry Kimura, which reflects the way this object can be considered a scout or messenger sent from the distant past to reach out to us (`ou means "reach out for", and mua, with the second mua placing emphasis, means "first, in advance of").
Early reports of ʻOumuamua's characteristics led some to speculate that the object could be an alien spacecraft sent from a distant civilization to examine our star system. But a review of all the available evidence by an international team of 14 experts strongly suggests that ʻOumuamua has a purely natural origin. ...
'Oumuamua Is Not an Alien Spacecraft
University of Maryland, College Park | vis phys.org | 2019 Jul 01
The Natural History of 'Oumuamua ~ 'Oumuamua ISSI Team, Michele Bannister et al
- Nature Astronomy (online 01 July 2019) DOI: 10.1038/s41550-019-0816-x