About a year ago, scientists who used the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii, noticed that it seemed to be a special asteroid passing through our solar system. It quickly progressed so far, about 64,000 kilometers per hour (40,000 mph), to realize that it must be from somewhere else entirely.
They called the "Oumuamu" asteroid, the Hawaiian word for "long-range messenger". They thought it could be a potential host of alien life. But the current telescope technology did not find anything about the asteroid note.
Nevertheless, there were some strange things about "Oumuamu: Normally, scientists would have assumed that the interstellar object would be a comet. But comets have clouds of gas surrounding them, and "Oumuamu" seems to be missing. Second, it seems to be getting faster – not through the gravitational pull of other objects, as researchers expect.
The mystery prompted Shmuel Biali, a postdoctor at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and Avi Loeb, another Harvard astronomer, trying to find out what's going on with the Oumuamu. One possibility was that the asteroid sailed on solar radiation. "It's already known that when radiation hits an object, it can cause acceleration," says Biali. "It's just as the wind strikes the core," except in the wind, it's easy to move the object forward.
Biali and Loeb announced a pre-press release on November 1 that will be published at the Astrophysical Journal Letter at the end of this month, exploring the solar radiation hypothesis. Their conclusion: if the "Oumuamu" was to run the solar radiation, it should be smaller than a millimeter thick and hundreds of meters long. This shape would probably have been difficult to withstand the dust, plasma and extreme temperatures of the interstellar medium. against interstellar weather, would still be a form that does not matter to anything that exists on Earth, or anything that could exist in accordance with the currently understandable laws of astrophysics.
In other words? Something weird is happening with "Oumuamu". Biali and Loeb concluded that this may have come from "artificial origin," meaning that he did something other than a natural formation. Or, as they write, "the more exotic scenario is that" Oumuamua may have been sent to the full operational probe On purpose to the environment of the Earth by an alien civilization. "
Since then, magazine magazines have gone to the city with titles proclaiming scientists in a prominent institution, suggesting aliens as a real possibility. Many locals also cited various astrophysics. "I am very convinced and honestly think that the study is quite wrong," said CNN Alan Jackson, an associate planetary scientist at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. Other scientists are on Twitter:
As many have pointed out, there is insufficient evidence to prove that "Oumuamua" is a foreign probe – that's just a theory that was not unverified. And as Verge points out, Loeb may be predisposed to be searching for colorful aliens probes: he is currently advising the Breakthrough Starshot project, a project founded by technical entrepreneur Jurie Milner and his spouse Julie, who hopes to send spacecraft similar to the proposed shape & # 39; Oumuamua & # 39; to Alpha Centauri, the closest star to our solar system in four light years. The project included the late Stephen Havking, along with Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook. Loeb admits he has small cores in the brain. "The fact that I was involved in a project using a sailboat enabled me, or encouraged me, to think about it," he told Verge.
Biali, meanwhile, has a different perspective. "Most likely, our paper is wrong and there is a simple explanation [for ‘Oumuamua], "he says. But no one has yet given a better explanation of what an interstellar subject could be. it's not aliens, astrophysicists have to find a better option.
Finding another answer will be challenging. There are limited data on Oumuamua, because scientists could only watch it about two weeks before they got out of our solar system. It may be impossible to find a simple answer to the information we have.
However, the fact that scientists could recognize this interstellar object in general probably means that they could find more in the future, Biali claims. And if scientists are better prepared to observe interstellar objects, you might be able to get more information about them to understand what they are. A good starting point would be to create a real photo of the oumuamu; Right now, scientists work only with the concepts of artists, based on measurements taken by distant telescopes.
Until then, scientists can not exclude the idea that it is "Oumuamu." it's not alien probe. Biali hopes that there will be enough inspiration to find out what is actually.