Flying Nuggets

Out in the depths of space; out among the comets, asteroids, moons, planets, stars and galaxies; something lurks. And, if our universe is theoretically only one of many, then out among those many universes, something lurks. But one of those things is now with us.

Meet Oumuamua. In the Hawaiian language, the word means “scout”. This is an artist’s visualization of the first interstellar visitor to pass through our Solar System.

Artist's impression of ╩╗Oumuamua
Original: ESO/M. Kornmesser Derivative: nagualdesign [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

What Is It?

What is an interstellar object? And is it really the first such object, that we have ever seen, here on our little blue ball of mostly water? An interstellar object is anything that travels between stars. This particular chunk of rock is literally too fast for our Sun to capture in it’s orbit. But, as the saying goes though, always read the fine print. This is the first such known visitor to our Solar System. Which implies that perhaps it’s not really the first?

Food for Thought

  • Cool presentation by NASA’s JPL.
  • Royal Astronomical Society believes that Oumuamua most likely came from a binary star system.
  • Astronomer Wesley Fraser thinks that this particular asteroid didn’t glide smoothly through space. Instead, he thinks that it’s actually tumbling and flipping it’s way through space.

That’s a Wrap!

So, this is a rather interesting traveler, isn’t it? For now, let’s not dive deeper just yet. It’s hard enough to get a handle on what this thing may be, even with just those few ideas floating through our heads, much less any other theories we can dream up.

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