First ever interstellar object observed

Discussion in 'science, nature and environment' started by 2hats, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. 2hats

    2hats

    The first interstellar object, not bound to our Sun, has (most likely) just been observed. A/2017 U1, only some 400m across, was spotted by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope (Panoramic Survey Telescope And Rapid Response System), based on Maui, Hawaii, just over a week ago. This object, either an asteroid or comet, possibly ejected during embryonic formation of some solar system, is moving fast enough and in such an orbit (arriving from well above the ecliptic, the plane of the solar system) that very strongly hints at it wandering freely in the galaxy.
    interstellar_orbit.jpg
    A/2017 U1 is a temporary name, being the first class of such object to be spotted, until such time as a naming scheme for these objects can be agreed upon. A short (~3 week) campaign to intensively study it is currently underway before it is beyond the useful observation range of Earth bound telescopes (ie whilst it is still bright enough).

    More details in this JPL press release.
     
    Sea Star, Maggot, kabbes and 17 others like this.
  2. Chilli.s

    Chilli.s changed the little words

    Wow amazing thing. The first one spotted.
     
    S☼I and Pickman's model like this.
  3. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    How about Interstellary McObjectface for a name?
     
  4. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Seagulls and wasps are brilliant!

  5. Ax^

    Ax^ Silly Rabbit

    planetx

    :hmm:
     
    farmerbarleymow likes this.
  6. NoXion

    NoXion Eat leaden death, demon...

  7. NoXion

    NoXion Eat leaden death, demon...



    It has now been designated 1I/2017 U1, to represent it being the first known interstellar object to visit our solar system. It's also been given a name: 'Oumuamua, an Oahu word meaning "visitor from afar"
     
  8. krtek a houby

    krtek a houby Turnips - big! Swedes - small!

  9. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Seagulls and wasps are brilliant!

    krtek a houby and S☼I like this.
  10. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

    It's the Borg! :eek:
     
  11. fishfinger

    fishfinger تپلی

  12. krtek a houby

    krtek a houby Turnips - big! Swedes - small!

    Or is it the alien probe from Star Trek IV?

    [​IMG]
     
  13. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

    Now that we're aware of the existence of Warp Drive, I think the aliens have to make contact with our governments and explain the First Directive, don't they?
     
    krtek a houby likes this.
  14. krtek a houby

    krtek a houby Turnips - big! Swedes - small!

    Make it so.
     
  15. Sprocket.

    Sprocket. Baroudeur...

    Be sure not to wear a red top!
     
  16. gosub

    gosub ~#

    weird it turned up on time for the latest end of the world is nigh bollocks
     
  17. Sprocket.

    Sprocket. Baroudeur...

    The trouble with coincidences is that they require a lot of planning.
     
    coley likes this.
  18. dilute micro

    dilute micro esse quam videri

    It's full of stars.
     
  19. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

  20. gosub

    gosub ~#

  21. NoXion

    NoXion Eat leaden death, demon...



    Interesting take on the origins of objects like Oumuamua. Fascinating to think that throughout the galaxy, there are countless asteroids flying between the stars. A cosmic hinterland of itinerant islands that could conceivably be reached with today's probes. Really exciting stuff.
     
  22. 2hats

    2hats

  23. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Seagulls and wasps are brilliant!

    That's what the aliens want us to think. :hmm:
     
    Idaho, coley and krtek a houby like this.
  24. krtek a houby

    krtek a houby Turnips - big! Swedes - small!

    It's an alien sarcophogus. Just wait and see.
     
    coley and farmerbarleymow like this.
  25. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Seagulls and wasps are brilliant!

    Full of ravenous alien scarab beetles. They're doing a reccy, but will return to scour the Earth clean.
     
  26. 2hats

    2hats

    Spectroscopic results from the Gemini Observatories suggest Oumuamua has a red colour not untypical of many Kuiper belt objects (though is still thought to have originated from outside our solar system). Perhaps a KBO type object ejected from an extrasolar planetary system at some stage long ago.
     
  27. NoXion

    NoXion Eat leaden death, demon...

    It's my understanding that your typical KBO has significant amounts of ices on or near its surface. Wouldn't a KBO type object thus produce a comet-like tail as it got closer to the Sun? If I recall rightly, this object didn't produce a tail, which is why it was first reclassified as an asteroid rather than a comet. Also it's suspected highly elongated shape and rapid rotation doesn't seem plausible for a body composed mainly of ices like a KBO would be.

    Given that 'Oumuamua has been traversing the depths interstellar space for likely millions of years, couldn't the red colour be due to cosmic rays producing tholins in whatever small amount of volatiles the object acquired on its million-year journey?

    Knowing the age of this object would help a lot. It could be the rocky-metallic core of an expelled extrasolar object that once had a lot of ices but lost them after a series of close interstellar encounters. Or the Solar system could just be this object's first stellar flyby, and it has always been mostly composed of rock and metal.

    I hope that there are plans being made for a mission to intercept an object like 'Oumuamua. Who would have thought that we would ever have had a chance to study rocks from other stars without ever having to leave the Solar system?
     
    existentialist likes this.
  28. T & P

    T & P |-o-| (-o-) |-o-|

    I wouldn't be surprised if the Death Star plans are found hidden inside.
     
  29. existentialist

    existentialist Danced on by a twerking bee

    I guess the problem with interception is that we'd need adequate notice of one coming in, and its trajectory, to be able to intercept it...
     
    NoXion likes this.
  30. NoXion

    NoXion Eat leaden death, demon...

    There are some decent telescopes that they're planning to put into orbit soon, such as the James Webb Space Telescope, which would seem likely to have the sensitivity needed to spot an incoming object and determine if its trajectory is suitable for an interception mission.
     

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