On October 19, Rob Verick of the Institute of Astronomy of the University of Hawaii discovered a strange cosmic object that crossed the entire solar system and made a loop around the Sun. First it was designated as U1, and then given the name Oumuamua, which in Hawaiian means “scout” or “messenger”.
As scientists suppose, this is the first heavenly body that came to us from another planetary system, which astronomers predicted for many decades. His “homeland” is the interstellar space where he was thrown out of the orbit of a distant star. Wandering in the vast space, such objects sooner or later fall into the zone of gravity of giant planets.
Oumuamua broke into the solar system at an angle of 122 degrees to the plane of the ecliptic. Overcoming its “upper” part with a speed of 25.5 km / sec, the celestial body reached the inner orbit of Mercury, after which it “bounced” upward between the orbits of the Earth and Mars and rushed to our main luminary. To the Sun, the “Scout” approached a distance of 37.6 million km, which was very unsafe: only a huge speed saved him from evaporation.
The reddish color of U1 suggests that Oumuamua is probably an asteroid (rather than a comet). Their main difference is in composition: asteroids have a rocky metal structure, while comets consist of ice and dust.
“Scout” is the first discovered interstellar body that has reached the solar system. Scientists do not doubt that this list will soon be replenished with new names, thanks to a new generation of powerful telescopes equipped with mirrors of 20-30 meters in diameter, adaptive optics and unique software.