The curious asteroid, about 400 meters long, is known as Oumuamua, or 1/2017, and was detected by the telescopes of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
This dark reddish rock was first captured on October 19, 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope, located in Hawaii. The device detected a weak point of light, which at first looked like a small comet. However, later observations confirmed that it was an oval-shaped asteroid.
We have to act quickly,” said Olivier Hainaut, ESO team member, who said that “Oumuamua had already passed its closest point to the Sun and was heading towards interstellar space.”
In turn, a team of researchers led by Karen J. Meech, of the Hawaii Institute of Astronomy, concluded that the celestial object “varies greatly in the intensity of its brightness.”
The scientist indicated that “this great variation in brightness, unusual, means that the object is very elongated and its length is ten times greater than its width, with a complex and convoluted shape”.
According to the observations, the unusual asteroid reached a maximum speed of 315,000 kilometers per hour and is currently about 295 million kilometers from the Sun, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Astronomers suggest that it originated in the Lyra constellation and that it will leave our system in 2022.
“He is a strange visitor to a distant star system, in terms of form, it is unlike anything we have seen in our own neighborhood of the solar system,” concluded Paul Chodas, of the Center for the Study of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. POT.