Scientists think they have explained the unexpected behavior of ‘Oumuamua, the first known interstellar object in the Solar System.
- It is the first confirmed object from another star (interstellar object) to visit the solar system.
- The object was discovered on Oct. 19, 2017, by the NASA-funded Pan-STARRS1 telescope.
- Astronomers named the object 1I/2017 U1 (‘Oumuamua), Hawaiian for “a messenger from afar arriving first.”
- Size and Shape: The object is believed to be at least a quarter-mile (400 meters) long and cigar-shaped, with a length roughly ten times longer than the width.
- What was the Mystery?
- It had no bright coma or dust tail, like most comets, and a peculiar shape.
- It was accelerating away from the sun in a way that astronomers could not explain.
- Recent Finding: Researchers say the answer might be the release of hydrogen from trapped reserves inside water-rich ice as the comet warmed up in the sunlight.
Q1) What is a Comet?
Comets are large objects made of dust and ice that orbit the Sun. Best known for their long, streaming tails, these ancient objects are leftovers from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.