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Researchers spot interstellar visitor

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, November 23, 2017  /  04:38 pm
Researchers spot interstellar visitor

This handout photo released by the European Southern Observatory on November 20, 2017 shows an artist's impression of the first interstellar asteroid: Oumuamua. (European Southern Observatory/AFP/M. Kornmesser)

Astronomers detected an object passing earth at an extremely high speed and with a strange shape last month. The alien object was spotted by the robotic telescope Pan-STARRS at the University of Hawaii.

According to the Guardian, researcher Karen Meech and her team at the university found that the asteroid is elongated and approximately 400 meters in length.

Although the object has been named 1I/2017 U1, researchers at the university have given it the nickname “Oumuamua,” which translates into “messenger” or “scout” in Hawaiian.

Read also: NASA offers generous salary for 'planetary protection officer'

Another research team at UCLA estimated that interstellar objects commonly travel in areas that are near the sun rather than the outskirts of our solar system, such as areas closer to Neptune -- a planet 30 times farther from the sun than the earth. Their estimates could mean that three interstellar interlopers travel near our solar system’s sun each and every day.

With the rapid improvement of instruments and of processing techniques in the field of astronomy, researchers are expected to detect other interstellar objects soon. (ezr/asw)


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