22-11-2017 11:30 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
First interstellar object spotted in solar system
For the first time, scientists have spotted an object from beyond our solar system near Mars’ orbit. At first, astronomers thought the rapidly moving faint light was a comet or an asteroid that had originated in our solar system. However, its orbit proved that it came from interstellar space.
This strange zooming bright thing was spotted by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. Astronomers say it will pass Jupiter in May, go beyond Saturn's orbit in January 2019 and then leave our solar system, bound for the Pegasus constellation.
Lead study author Karen Meech, of the University of Hawaii's Institute of Astronomy and leader of the research team, said in a statement, "What we found was a rapidly rotating object, at least the size of a football field, that changed in brightness quite dramatically,"
The long and rocky cigar-shaped object has a burnt dark-reddish hue due to millions of years of radiation from cosmic rays. It probably has a high metal content and spins on its own axis every 7.3 hours.
The object has been officially designated A/2017 UI by the International Astronomical Union, but it also has another official name: 'Oumuamua. The Hawaiian name, partly coming because of the location of the telescope that discovered it, loosely means "a messenger that reaches out from the distant past."