Space & Astronomy
'Oumuamua could be a cosmic 'dust bunny'
By T.K. Randall
September 10, 2020 · 1 comment
Could 'Oumuamua be a 'dust bunny' ? Image Credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser
The cigar-shaped interstellar visitor has remained a topic of heated debate among scientists for several years.
Measuring 400 meters in length, 'Oumuamua gained worldwide attention back in October 2017 after scientists determined that it was the first known visitor from a distant solar system.
Since then, several theories have been put forward to explain exactly what type of object 'Oumuamua might be, including a comet, an asteroid, a hydrogen iceberg and even an alien vessel.
Scientists however have struggled to agree upon a single answer.
Now though, yet another possibility has emerged - a cosmic 'dust bunny' - a term that refers to clumps of dust and debris that stick together with static electricity and float around under furniture.
According to astronomer Jane Luu from the University of Oslo in Norway, and colleagues, 'Oumuamua may have formed when a chunk of rock broke off the nucleus of a comet and attracted dust and gas.
The resulting object was then propelled through the cosmos by solar radiation.
The original comet may have been slow moving and had weak gravity, which facilitated the separation of the material that would ultimately form 'Oumuamua and escape its parent solar system.
By searching out additional interstellar visitors, astronomers hope to corroborate the origins of these objects and determine exactly what they are once and for all.
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