& # 39; # 39 & Oumuamua; – the first interstellar object within the solar system – was reclassified to a comet after scientists had made extensive research since their discovery last year.
By combining data from the Very Large Telescope and other observatories, astronomers have found that the object moves faster than predicted. The measured speed gain is tiny and Oumuamua is still slowing down due to the sun's pull – just not as fast as predicted by celestial mechanics.
The team led by Marco Micheli of the European Space Agency investigated several scenarios to explain the faster than predicted speed of this strange interstellar visitor.
The most likely explanation is that & # 39; Oumuamua & # 39; Material from its interior vents surface due to solar heat ̵
Such outgassing is a behavior typical of comets that contradicts the earlier classification of Oumuamua as an interstellar asteroid.
"We think this is a weird comic comet, we can see in the data that its boost is getting smaller and smaller the sun that is typical of comets," Micheli said.
When warmed by the sun, comets usually emit dust and gas, forming a cloud of material called a coma, around them as the characteristic tail. However, the research team did not see any visible signs of outgassing.
"We have not seen any dust, coma or tail, which is unusual, we think Oumuamua can release unusually large, coarse dust grains," said Karen Mete at the University of Hawaii in the US
The team speculated that the tiny dust grains that graced the surface of most comets eroded Oumuamua's journey through interstellar space, leaving only larger dust grains
these larger particles would not be bright enough to be discovered, this would be the unexpected change explain the speed of Oumuamua.
Oumuamua's hypothesis is not only that it resolves an unsolved mystery, but also its interstellar origin. The team originally conducted the new observations on Oumuamua to pinpoint its path, which would likely have allowed it to track the object back to its parent star system. The new results mean it will be harder to get this information.
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