By The Daily Galaxy
“We have been waiting for this day for decades,” said CNEOS Manager Paul Chodas. “It’s long been theorized that such objects exist—asteroids or comets moving around between the stars and occasionally passing through our solar system—but this is the first such detection. So far, everything indicates this is likely an interstellar object, but more data would help to confirm it.“
This unusual object—for now designated A/2017 U1—is less than a quarter-mile (400 meters) in diameter and is moving remarkably fast. Astronomers are urgently working to point telescopes around the world and in space at this notable object. Once these data are obtained and analyzed, astronomers may know more about the origin and possibly the composition of the object.
A small, recently discovered asteroid—or perhaps a comet—appears to have originated from outside the solar system, coming from somewhere else in our galaxy. If so, it would be the first “interstellar object” to be observed and confirmed by astronomers.
A/2017 U1 was discovered on October 19 by the University of Hawaiʻi’s Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakalā during the course of its nightly search for Near-Earth Objects for NASA. Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA), was first to identify the moving object and submit it to the Minor Planet Center. Weryk subsequently searched the Pan-STARRS image archive and found it was present in images taken the previous night, but was not initially identified by the moving object processing.
The image above is an artistic rendition of a nomad object wandering the interstellar medium. The object is intentionally blurry to represent uncertainty about whether or not it has an atmosphere. A nomadic object may be an icy body akin to an object found in the outer Solar System, a more rocky material akin to asteroid, or even a gas giant similar in composition to the most massive Solar System planets and exoplanets. (Greg Stewart/SLAC).
This schematic diagram of our solar system shows the dramatic path of A/2017 U1 (dashed line) as it crossed the plane of the planets (known as the ecliptic), and then turned and headed back out. Image credit: Brooks Bays SOEST Publication Services/UH Institute for Astronomy.
Weryk immediately realized this was an unusual object. “Its motion could not be explained using either a normal solar system asteroid or comet orbit,” he said. Weryk contacted IfA graduate Marco Micheli, who had the same realization using his own follow-up images taken at the European Space Agency’s telescope on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. But with the combined data, everything made sense. “This object came from outside our solar system.”
“This is the most extreme orbit I have ever seen,” said Davide Farnocchia, a scientist at NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “It is going extremely fast and on such a trajectory that we can say with confidence that this object is on its way out of the solar system and not coming back.”
The CNEOS team plotted the object’s current trajectory and even looked into its future. A/2017 U1 came from the direction of the constellation Lyra, cruising through interstellar space at a brisk clip of 15.8 miles (25.5 kilometers) per second.
The object approached our solar system from almost directly “above” the ecliptic, the plane in space near where the planets and most asteroids orbit the Sun, so it did not have any close encounters with the eight major planets during its plunge toward the Sun. On September 2, the small body crossed under the ecliptic just inside of Mercury’s orbit and then made its closest approach to the Sun on September 9. Pulled by the Sun’s gravity, the object made a hairpin turn under our solar system, passing below Earth’s orbit on October 14 at a distance of about 15 million miles (24 million kilometers)—about 60 times the distance to the Moon. It has now shot back up above the plane of the planets and, travelling at 27 miles per second (44 kilometers per second) with respect to the Sun, the object is speeding toward the constellation Pegasus.
“We have long suspected that these objects should exist, because during the process of planet formation a lot of material should be ejected from planetary systems. What’s most surprising is that we’ve never seen interstellar objects pass through before,” said Karen Meech, an astronomer at IfA specializing in small bodies and their connection to solar system formation.
The small body has been assigned the temporary designation A/2017 U1 by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where all observations on small bodies in our solar system—and now those just passing through—are collected. Said MPC Director Matt Holman, “This kind of discovery demonstrates the great scientific value of continual wide-field surveys of the sky, coupled with intensive follow-up observations, to find things we wouldn’t otherwise know are there.”
Since this is the first object of its type ever discovered, rules for naming this type of object will need to be established by the International Astronomical Union.
The Daily Galaxy via University of Hawaii
This article (“It Came From Outer Space” –Mystery of First Interstellar Object Ever Observed in Our Solar System) was originally published on The Daily Galaxy and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.
Continues from UFO International Project…
Unknown Strange Object From Deep Space, Now Entered The Solar System
Like something out of a science fiction blockbuster, a tiny blip of light was seen to be moving through the sky by the PanSTARRS1 telescope in Hawaii, it was only discovered about a month ago. Many are now suggesting the this strange moving object is potentially ‘alien’ of origin.
Understandably the vast amount of number-crunching which followed was automatic. The results were unusual to say the very least, in fact they were that strange that some of the worlds leading scientists and Astronomers have been left scratching their heads!
This strange unknown object is in an incredibly odd position and it is moving very VERY fast. And it’s in what appears to be a somewhat extreme orbit. Extreme enough not to actually be an orbit, in fact.
Some have suggested that the world’s power have far more insight into this mysterious object than they make out, leading many many to believe that this could possibly be ‘alien technology’ or some kind of unknown space rock/ice heading towards planer earth!?
Observations published by the by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center (MPC) suggest it could have come from deep space.
Specifically, it could be a comet that has escaped another star.
“If further observations confirm the unusual nature of this orbit, this object may be the first clear case of an interstellar comet,” the MPC declares.
— Tony Dunn (@tony873004) October 25, 2017
SO… WHAT IS C/2017 U1??
The impressive PanSTARRS telescope had apparently only spotted the strange deep space object only after it was flung back out towards the stars by our Sun. According to top scientists and astronomers it is not likely to ever return. It flashed past Earth at 24 million kilometres on October 14.
Many scientific eyes watched it closely, very keen to determine exactly what this object was. Their curiosity was piqued by where it had come from. Perhaps this object was some kind of alien technology, searching the universe for other inhabited planets !?
Both its extreme hyperbolic eccentricity of 1.19, which is essentially its path through the Solar System, and its very high inclination of 122° compared with Earth’s orbit around the Sun, are making astronomers think this is a visitor.
In other words, if you think of the orbits of the planets in our Solar System arranged in a disc shape, A/2017 U1 has raced in from almost directly overhead, and is now flying out of sight again – almost feels like something was coming in for a ‘closer look’?
Most objects orbiting our Sun do so along a common plane: the planets, dwarf planets and asteroids mostly swing around in roughly the same way.
This strange object appears to have come down on the plane from 122 degrees, from the direction of the star Vega, in the constellation Lyra. And its path did not indicate the curved ellipse typical of clockwork-like returning comets.
Best guesstimates make it a comet of about 160m diameter, with a surface reflectivity (albedo) of about 10 per cent – remember this ONLY a guesstimation and nobody actually knows whether or not this is a comet or asteroid!
A DEEP SPACE WANDERER?
This bizarre object has just been through an extremely close call (in Solar System terms). The object came within 38 million km of our star before its momentum and the Sun’s gravity hurled it back outward – many have suggested that if this was some kind of alien technology, perhaps it is using stars on its journey to fuel its energy!?
Even stranger is that normally such a close pass by a star would be fatal. But (where it gets even stranger) C/2017U1 was travelling far too fast for the Sun’s heat to actually consume it – It was moving at 26km per second when first observed!! Now that’s quick.
Top Scientists and the worlds leading Astronomers are now attempting to refine their observations and data to pinpoint exactly where it came from. If this object is truly is of interstellar origin, then the next task will be to find which star it is likely to have come from – this is if it come from a star?
At this very moment in time the mysterious object appears to be somewhere in the direction of the star Vega.
What makes this whole situation even crazier than what it already is, is the fact that this object was suddenly classed as a Comet and then an asteroid and now……nobody truly knows!?
Questions are now being asked, why did it turn back after reaching the solar system? Is this normal behaviour for asteroids, comets or whatever else this could be? The answer is simply NO!
Well here is yet another story that the media try to keep rather quiet about! And it is not a surprise that this is being kept silent as there as yet is NO 100% explanation as to what this mysterious object could actually be.
If this story seems far-fetched then it really isn’t as we have sent out our very own probe like crafts, like the Voyager 1 which was launched out in space in 1977 and now MANY millions and millions of miles away from earth – whose to say that some far advanced alien civilisation didn’t send out this potential probe way before the human race ever existed!?
This is not the first time that strange objects have been spotted by top astronomers, some of which have even been illustrated as some kind of alien looking crafts (please see previous article below!).
The Universe is infested with life, so it will be interesting to see whether this is an alien probe or something else. One thing is for sure this particular objects trajectory makes one assume that it was perfectly designed to make a close fly by of our solar system.
This article (Unknown Strange Object From Deep Space, Now Entered The Solar System) was originally published on UFO International Project and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.