Oumuamua, the first known interstellar object to arrive in our Solar System, has fascinated scientists and astronomers around the world with its appearance. Now this mysterious object has passed the orbit of Pluto and is about to leave us forever.
When Oumuamua entered our Solar System in 2017, astronomers spent 11 days collecting data on this strange object that divided the scientific community, and the news echoed around the world that some of them did not rule out the possibility that it was an alien creature. One of those scientists, who is at the forefront of this idea, is Avi Loeb, a professor at Harvard University.
At first glance, this theory seems unlikely, but Loeb presented some very interesting facts.
Oumuamua entered our Solar System from the direction of the star Vega, which is 25 light-years away, and things got very interesting as it passed the Sun. Instead of slowing down as it moves away from our star, as other objects in space do under the influence of strong gravity, Oumuamua actually accelerated and left scientists in awe.
Then there is the question of the extremely unusual composition and shape of this object, claims Loeb. Many astronomers have compared its shape to that of a tompus, and the problem with that is that the chances of naturally achieving this geometry are so small that it “turns on a lot of red lights”. The same problem arises with the materials from which Oumuamua is made. Loeb argues that they reflected too much light to be a piece of typical space rock or ice.
Loeb admitted that it can be quite a challenge to understand his theory.
“Some people don’t want to talk about the possibility of other civilizations out there. They believe that we are special and unique. I think that is a prejudice that should be abandoned.”
Of course, many scientists disagree with Avi Leba, but since its discovery in 2017, Oumuamua has remained a mystery to scientists and no significant progress has been made in understanding this object, but one thing is certain – Oumuamua travels extremely fast.
When this interstellar object was closest to Earth, it was moving at a speed of 87.3 kilometers per second. That’s three times faster than the average object in the asteroid belt, 109 times faster than a bullet, and only 0.017% of the speed of light.
Despite its great speed, Oumuamua is only now, five years later, leaving our Solar System. It has just passed Pluto’s orbit, passing over 4.5 million kilometers every 24 hours. However, it will take another two years for it to completely leave the space it is thought to belong to in our solar system.
As Oumuamua rushes off into interstellar space, leaving us forever, scientists have not yet been able to classify it. It was first thought to be an asteroid – a large rock from a distant star system – and then a comet – a piece of space ice that broke off and headed our way, but a consensus was never reached, and scientists were left to study the small amount of data that were collected for this object.400 meters long and its origin is speculated as it moves away from us.