Mysterious cigar-shaped interstellar asteroid experienced violent past, reveals new study
‘Oumuamua – the first known interstellar object to visit our solar system – has experienced a violent past, causing it to tumble around chaotically for many billions of years, a study suggests The object flew through our solar system in October and was originally thought to be a comet, then it was later revealed as a cigar-shaped asteroid. Since October, researchers at the Queen’s University Belfast have been analysing the brightness measurements of the object.
They discovered that ‘Oumuamua was not spinning periodically like most of the small asteroids and bodies that we see in our solar system. Instead, it is tumbling, or spinning chaotically, and could have been for many billions of years. While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for this, it is thought that ‘Oumuamua impacted with another asteroid before it was fiercely thrown out of its system and into interstellar space.
“Our modelling of this body suggests the tumbling will last for many billions of years to hundreds of billions of years before internal stresses cause it to rotate normally again,” said Wes Fraser, Queen’s University Belfast in the UK. “While we don’t know the cause of the tumbling, we predict that it was …read more