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Interstellar visitor is red and very dark


Posted on Tuesday, 21 November, 2017 | Comment icon 82 comments

The interstellar asteroid measures over 400 meters in length. Image Credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser
An asteroid thought to have come from interstellar space is carrying organic carbon-based molecules.
Named 'Oumuamua', the object, which was recently spotted hurtling past the Sun, is the first confirmed example of an asteroid originating from outside of our solar system.

Now new observations from gound-based telescopes have revealed that this 400-meter long space rock is quite similar to comets and asteroids found closer to home, suggesting that similar planetary compositions may be common throughout the galaxy.

The asteroid also appears to be extremely dark, absorbing 96% of all light, and exhibits a distinct red color indicative of organic carbon-based molecules - the building blocks of life.

Astronomers now believe that interstellar visitors like this one could be quite numerous in our solar system with as many as 10,000 being situated closer to the Sun than Neptune.

It is estimated that three of them enter the solar system and another three leave every single day.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (82)

Tags: Asteroid, Oumuamua

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #73 Posted by toast on 26 November, 2017, 21:05
BTW:  
Comment icon #74 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 28 November, 2017, 0:55
I'm assuming that's a typo and you mean "piece" not price. toast asked you the following, legitimate and pertinent question about your claim that the asteroid that, "doesn't show much signs of being struck by anything," It's interesting that you replied with aggression rather than evidence and logic to back up your claim. Interesting that you totally avoided answering his question. Interesting but not unexpected. It's not unexpected because there is no evidence or logic to back up your claim. toast asked that question because he understands the significance of it, you replied in that manner be... [More]
Comment icon #75 Posted by bison on 28 November, 2017, 22:06
 Below, please find an article giving further information about the interest of the SETI community in Oumuamua. http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=38844
Comment icon #76 Posted by toast on 28 November, 2017, 23:31
Hell, I like such stuff:  
Comment icon #77 Posted by bison on 29 November, 2017, 0:07
If it were such a probe, it might become unobservable  sooner than expected, when it sped up. I check frequently, but haven't found anything, so far, to indicate that Oumuamua has disappeared. Will check again for new observations, or the lack of same. \Addendum-- Just checked the Minor Planet Circulars. The latest reported observation of Oumuamua is Nov. 20th, eight days ago. That short a hiatus don't necessarily tell us much. Previous gaps between observations  are similar in length. Past observations: Oct. 25, 26,27, 29. Nov. 1, 10, 13, 20.    
Comment icon #78 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 29 November, 2017, 1:07
Let's assume for a moment that the most unlikely outcome in scientific history turns out to be true and ?Oumuamua turns out to be artificial, surely then you would expect to see some evidence of manoeuvring as the vehicle passed through the solar system. It seems highly unlikely that the vehicle would just allow itself to pass through without taking a look at the most interesting planet in the solar system, the one with technological life. Instead it has passed through following only the laws of Newton and Kepler as it has done so. Odd behaviour for an interstellar spacecraft. Expected behavio... [More]
Comment icon #79 Posted by bison on 29 November, 2017, 4:32
Speaking of SETI interest in Oumuamua, the SETI Institute's Allen Telescope Array is aimed at that mysterious object as I type this. They've concentrated all their observing power into one beam. It's usually three beams pointed at different objects. Link to their website: http://www.setiquest.org
Comment icon #80 Posted by bison on 30 November, 2017, 3:05
Again, tonight, the Allen Telescope Array is monitoring Oumuamua.  At the moment they're listening around 8.52 Ghz. The position of the object is little changed from last night. The Right Ascension remains the same: 23.30 hours. The Declination has shifted from 6.98 to 7.03 degrees. Both positions are in the constellation Pisces. 
Comment icon #81 Posted by bison on 3 December, 2017, 3:09
Oumuamua is under observation again tonight, at the Allen Telescope Array. That's quite a lot of attention it's received lately.  It's apparently deemed at least as worthwhile, as a potential SETI target, as exoplanets, the usual points of interest.  Position now Right Ascension 23.30 hours, Declination 7.21 degrees.  
Comment icon #82 Posted by bison on 13 December, 2017, 18:54
The Breakthrough Listen project will monitor Oumuamua for narrow-band (artificial) radio emissions for 10 hours today, starting at 20 hours GMT, about an hour and a quarter from now. They will listen with the hundred-meter-wide Green Bank Telescope, in West Virginia. This radio telescope is reportedly sensitive enough to detect a signal of one watt strength, about the same as a mobile phone, from the current distance of Oumuamua.  This amounts to about 7 &1/2 times the sensitivity of the Allen Telescope Array, which the SETI Institute recently used to repeatedly monitor this object.   


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