Scientists have been baffling over our interstellar visitor, the cigar-shaped object called Oumuamua, for a long time. The initial scans indicated it is not an alien ship, but in fact, it started its journey as a comet.
The astronomical structure Oumuamua was examined for radio signals since its shape made researchers to take into account the chance it could be an alien craft.
However, the international team of researchers from the French National Research Council, the University of Bordeaux and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre said that initial information implies it’s not an extraterrestrial object.
Oumuamua got its name after the Hawaiian term for ‘scout’ or ‘messenger’. It was first detected by the astronomers from the University of Hawaii on October 19, 2017. It was passing our Earth at around 85 times the distance to the moon.
Interestingly, it was the first object ever to exist in our solar system but to originate from another part of the galaxy.
French researchers, led by Sean Raymond, analyzed the object. They think that its weird shape of a cigar could signify this object was initially a comet.
According to Raymond, our interstellar visitor could actually be a primitive divine body. These objects are likely created due to aggregation of specks of dust around young stars.
Moreover, he continued describing that during the process of formation of asteroids, comets, and planets, use the gravitational force of a gas giant (like Jupiter), which would have smashed it and eventually discharged it from the system. Therefore, this explains its long and thin shape.
Researcher, Maria Cristina De Sanctis, of the National Institute of Astrophysics said it is likely that Oumuamua originated from a comet family and not an asteroid.
She said: “The fact that it does not have the typical comet’s hair does not mean anything because if it passed near a star it could have run out of the ice that covered it and that’s the reason for the comet’s bright hair.
“It was expected to be an object similar to a comet, but when Oumuamua arrived in the Solar System, researchers realized that it did not emit dust or ice and therefore it was not a comet, but an asteroid”.
In the beginning, researchers thought it’s an asteroid. However, its shape and its large length but small width seemed extremely unusual for a common space rock.
In addition, the object was traveling up to 196,000 mph. Hence, its high speed implies that it doesn’t tie to the sun gravitationally. On the contrary, it’s intended to head back out of the solar system.
Most important, this object can say a lot about the process of formation of planets, asteroids, and comets.
In the meanwhile, the mysterious object was also studied by the Seti project Breakthrough Listen.
Researchers used a telescope in West Virginia to receive sounds of Oumuamua’s body.
This £75 million project revealed that there is “no evidence of artificial signals emanating from the object”.
The Green Bank telescope is the largest fully steerable radio telescope in the world. This telescope “listened” to the object over four radio frequency bands traversing 1 to 12 gigahertz. It collected over 90TB of data in two hours.