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What is Oumuamua? We know the following about the interstellar object



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By Corey S. Powell

Astronomers have cataloged eight planets, 6,500 comets and more than 525,000 asteroids, but Oumuamua is unique. The elongated space object, which was pushed past the sun in 201

7, is the only celestial body that has visited our solar system from another location.

It is believed that Oumuamua is an exotic species of comet or asteroid, but it is such a curiosity that some astronomers have speculated it could be an extraterrestrial spacecraft.

How was Oumuamua discovered?

Robert Weryck, a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, found Oumuamua by accident. On October 19, 2017, he used the Pan-STARRS telescope on Maui to scan the sky for near-Earth asteroids. At first he thought he had found one. "But then I could find her in two pictures of the previous night," he said, "and when I combined them together, orbit made no sense."


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