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& # 39; oumuamua, the first known interstellar visitor, probably born of 2 stars



The first known interstellar visitor to our solar system is probably even stranger than previously thought, as a new study suggests.

The mysterious acicular object & # 39; Oumuamua, zoomed through the Earth's neighborhood last October, is believed to be from a two-star system, according to the study.

& # 39; oumuamua means "scout" in Hawaii; The object was discovered by researchers using the Panoramic Surveying Telescope and Pan-STARRS Reaction System at the Haleakala Observatory on Maui Island.

Astronomers were able to determine that the Oumuamua, at 1,300 feet (400 meters), was not there due to its hyperbolic orbit, indicating that the object was not gravitationally bound to the Sun. At first, scientists thought the body was probably a comet. But & # 39; Oumuamua had no cometary activity ̵

1; no long tail, no cloud-like "coma" around its core – even after being relatively close to the Sun, so it was soon classified as an asteroid.

The First Known Interstellar System of Our Solar System The visitor is probably even stranger than previously thought, as a new study suggests.

The mysterious acicular object & # 39; Oumuamua, zoomed through the Earth's neighborhood last October, was likely to be studied in a two-star system.

& # 39; oumuamua means "boy scout" in Hawaiian; The object was discovered by researchers using the Panoramic Surveying Telescope and Pan-STARRS Reaction System at the Haleakala Observatory on Maui Island.

Astronomers were able to determine that the 400 meter long Oumuamua Lake was not visible from here, based on its hyperbolic orbit, which showed that the object was not gravitationally bound to the Sun. At first, scientists thought the body was probably a comet. But & # 39; Oumuamua had no cometary activity – no long tail, no cloud-like "coma" around its core – even after being relatively close to the Sun, so it was soon classified as an asteroid.

"It's really strange that the first object that we see from outside our system would be an asteroid, because a comet would be much easier to spot, and the solar system ejects many more comets than asteroids," writes Lead author Alan Jackson, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Astronomy Planetary Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough, said in a statement.

But & # 39; Oumuamua probably did not come from a system like ours, according to the new study. Jackson and his colleagues performed computer modeling work that suggested that systems with two closely-circled stars could launch asteroids much more efficiently than single-star systems.

And there are many of these binary systems out there; Previous research has shown that more than half of all Milky Way stars have close stellar companions.

Nobody knows exactly where Oumuamua came from or how long it has traveled through space. But chances are good that it was born into a binary system that, according to the new study, harbors at least one big, hot star. This is because such systems are likely to have predominantly rocky (as opposed to icy) bodies that circle relatively close to the main ejection zone.

And & # 39; Oumuamua was probably booted long ago during the birth of his birth system, said Jackson and his team.

"Oumuamua approached Earth – about 15 million miles (24 million kilometers) – on October 14. The object is now racing toward the outer solar system and has fainted you and fainted to study even with large telescopes since mid-December, NASA officials said. But the astronomers collected a lot of data on 'Oumuamua' as long as they could, and they will undoubtedly gain that information for a long time.

"Just as we use comets to better understand planet formation in our own solar system, perhaps this strange object can tell us more about how planets form in other systems," Jackson said.

The new study was published today (March 19) in the Monthly Notices journal of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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