First Known Interstellar Object – Solar SystemScientists have been working on the Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) observatory at Haleakala, Hawaii just over a month back and had glimpses of something quite extraordinary, the first known interstellar object which had passed through the solar system.
They had distinguished observations together with details with the object for the past month and presently known as 11.2016 U1 `OUMUAMUA’, it seems to be the first object of this type. The `I’ signifies its interstellar origin – ISO. The interstellar `Oumuamua embarked in the solar system as though it had fallen from above, closing to within 0.25 AU from the sun which places it between the orbit of the sun and Mercury.
However, there had been no clue of a tail as `Oumuamua' came near. The interstellar during its initial approach from above the solar system had been moving at a solid 15.8 miles per second – 25.5km/s and had bottomed out under the solar system after the gravity of the sun had pulled it in a different orbit. It is now on its way back out of the solar system on an altered route at an even higher speed of 44km/s.
Developing Follow-Up Strategy
Onumuamua – interstellar, is said to be quickly disappearing as it heads out of the solar system receding from the Sun as well as the Earth and receiving new observations quickly seems to be very vital. The IfA team comprising of those who had discovered 1l had prepared to follow up solar system discoveries quickly from Pan-STARRS, operated by the IfA, funded by NASA, according to Karen Meech, astronomer leading the investigative team who commented that they were capable of developing rapidly a follow-up strategy on a very short timescale.
It was exciting to think that the brief visit by Oumuamua had given them the opportunity to do the first representation of a sample from another solar system. Established on its observed characteristics, `Oumuamua is roughly the shape of a cigar with two of its axes around 80 meters across and the third 800 meters long. Its trail together with the speed recommends that it is not an ejected fragment of our own solar system at any earlier stage of its development.
Insight of the Cosmos
The research team tends to think that it is a distant prospect though this possibility could not be totally ruled out. They have speculated in fact that its encounter with our sun could have been the first instance interstellar `Oumuamua had encountered another star.
Though brief as it could have been, the complete encounter tends to remind us of the classic sci-fi book, `Rendezvous with Rama’ of Arthur C. Clarke wherein a massive cylindrical spacecraft on a quick approach in our own solar system had been explored by humans before it had continued on its journey to the Large Magellanic Cloud.
However, while we will not be seeing `Oumuamua’ again, the brief visit of the interstellar to our solar system has somewhat provided some insight of the cosmos to some extent.