(ORDO NEWS) — In 2017, ‘Oumuamua, a tiny asteroid that came from outside the solar system and moved in a strange orbit that made it look like a spaceship, stirred the imagination of scientists.
However, now astronomers are sure: there are no aliens on board Oumuamua.
In November 2017, astronomers spotted 1I/Oumuamua (which means “messenger from afar who arrived first” in Hawaiian), the first known space object to arrive from outside the solar system.
Although it was initially considered a comet, ‘Oumuamua did not have a bright coma (a cloud of dust and gas surrounding the comet’s nucleus) or a dust tail, and its peculiar elongated shape and small size made it possible to finally reclassify it into hyperbolic asteroids.
Astronomers were most interested in the fact that after passing perihelion, ‘Oumuamua began to move away from the Sun surprisingly quickly, at a speed not characteristic of other asteroids.
Because of this, there was even an assumption that terrestrial telescopes fixed a spacecraft, probe, or other object created by the hands of intelligent aliens.
Now American scientists from the University of California at Berkeley and Cornell University have found a simple and completely “non-alien” explanation for Oumuamua’s strange orbit: hydrogen, which is often released by ice objects when they approach a star, could change the asteroid’s trajectory.
Why did only ‘Oumuamua’s orbit change if this phenomenon is so common? The answer is even simpler: it’s all about size.
The maximum length of the asteroid is estimated at only 230 meters, while Oumuamua is cigar-shaped, so even a single release of hydrogen could change its trajectory around the Sun.
According to researchers, under the influence of cosmic rays, up to a quarter of the volume of an icy comet can turn into hydrogen gas.
But if for an object with a diameter of thousands of meters such emissions are hardly noticeable, then they could well push the tiny Oumuamua off the “right path”.
According to scientists, objects like ‘Oumuamua are like snapshots of star systems at the point in evolution when protoplanetary disks were forming.
By studying them, researchers can sort of look into the past and find out how the formation of our star, the Earth and other objects of the solar system took place.
Contact us: [email protected]