Author Topic: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor  (Read 1596 times)

Recusant

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First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« on: October 28, 2017, 05:21:38 AM »
Sorry, it's not a UFO.  :)

"Astronomers capture first visiting object from outside our solar system" | PhysOrg

Quote

Image credit: Queen's University Belfast

A Queen's University Belfast scientist is leading an international team in studying a new visitor to our solar system - the first known comet or asteroid to visit us from another star.

The fast-moving object, now named A/2017 U1, was initially spotted on 18 October in Hawaii by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. Professor Alan Fitzsimmons from the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen's, together with colleagues in the UK, USA and Chile have been tracking it using powerful telescopes across the world.

Commenting on the project, Professor Fitzsimmons said: "By Wednesday this week it became almost certain this object was alien to our solar system. We immediately started studying it that night with the William Herschel Telescope in the Canary Islands, then on Thursday night with the Very Large Telescope in Chile."

The initial data implies it is a small rocky or icy object that may have been drifting through our galaxy for millions or even billions of years, before entering our solar system by chance. The object flew into the solar system from above, was close to the Sun last month, and is now already on its way back out to the stars.

Astronomers believe it was probably thrown out of another star system during a period of planet formation. The same process is thought to have unfolded 4.5 billion years ago around our own star, when Jupiter and Saturn formed. Despite suspecting such objects existed and looking out for them over past decades, scientists have never seen such an interstellar visitor until now.


[Continues . . .]

Space.com has a nice animation of the path of A/2017 U1, but the page takes a long time to load.

"Visitor from Far, Far Away: Interstellar Object Spotted in Our Solar System" | Space.com
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Tank

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2017, 08:13:22 AM »
Wow!!!
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
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Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

OldGit

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2017, 02:25:47 PM »
I bet it doesn't have the proper documents and visas.

joeactor

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2017, 04:07:26 PM »
I bet it doesn't have the proper documents and visas.

Ha!

Amazing that they were able to observe it, though...

Bad Penny II

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2017, 04:21:43 PM »
North Korean
Certainty disturbs me


No one

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2017, 07:44:54 PM »
Recusant:
Sorry, it's not a UFO.

And here I was hoping it was the mothership coming to take the trumpster back to planet Blockhead.

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2017, 03:20:53 AM »
Recusant:
Sorry, it's not a UFO.

And here I was hoping it was the mothership coming to take the trumpster back to planet Blockhead.
:therethere:
Soon my child--soon. 

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2017, 11:38:43 PM »
I bet it doesn't have the proper documents and visas.

:lol:
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Recusant

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2017, 03:21:08 AM »
A little more about this object:

"ESO Observations Show First Interstellar Asteroid is Like Nothing Seen Before" | European Southern Observatory

Quote

Artist's impression of `Oumuamua
Image Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser


For the first time ever astronomers have studied an asteroid that has entered the Solar System from interstellar space. Observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that this unique object was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky or high-metal-content object.

On 19 October 2017, the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawai`i picked up a faint point of light moving across the sky. It initially looked like a typical fast-moving small asteroid, but additional observations over the next couple of days allowed its orbit to be computed fairly accurately. The orbit calculations revealed beyond any doubt that this body did not originate from inside the Solar System, like all other asteroids or comets ever observed, but instead had come from interstellar space. Although originally classified as a comet, observations from ESO and elsewhere revealed no signs of cometary activity after it passed closest to the Sun in September 2017. The object was reclassified as an interstellar asteroid and named 1I/2017 U1 (`Oumuamua).

“We had to act quickly,” explains team member Olivier Hainaut from ESO in Garching, Germany. “`Oumuamua had already passed its closest point to the Sun and was heading back into interstellar space.”

ESO’s Very Large Telescope was immediately called into action to measure the object’s orbit, brightness and colour more accurately than smaller telescopes could achieve. Speed was vital as `Oumuamua was rapidly fading as it headed away from the Sun and past the Earth’s orbit, on its way out of the Solar System. There were more surprises to come.

Combining the images from the FORS instrument on the VLT using four different filters with those of other large telescopes, the team of astronomers led by Karen Meech (Institute for Astronomy, Hawai`i, USA) found that `Oumuamua varies dramatically in brightness by a factor of ten as it spins on its axis every 7.3 hours.

Karen Meech explains the significance: “This unusually large variation in brightness means that the object is highly elongated: about ten times as long as it is wide, with a complex, convoluted shape. We also found that it has a dark red colour, similar to objects in the outer Solar System, and confirmed that it is completely inert, without the faintest hint of dust around it.”

These properties suggest that `Oumuamua is dense, possibly rocky or with high metal content, lacks significant amounts of water or ice, and that its surface is now dark and reddened due to the effects of irradiation from cosmic rays over millions of years. It is estimated to be at least 400 metres long.

Preliminary orbital calculations suggested that the object had come from the approximate direction of the bright star Vega, in the northern constellation of Lyra. However, even travelling at a breakneck speed of about 95 000 kilometres/hour, it took so long for the interstellar object to make the journey to our Solar System that Vega was not near that position when the asteroid was there about 300 000 years ago. `Oumuamua may well have been wandering through the Milky Way, unattached to any star system, for hundreds of millions of years before its chance encounter with the Solar System.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Davin

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2017, 01:50:53 PM »
It's OK, we still have humpback whales.

Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

Bad Penny II

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Recusant

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2017, 06:54:18 AM »
They're going to just check that ‘Oumuamua isn't sending out any radio signals.

"Alien Probe or Galactic Driftwood? SETI Tunes In to 'Oumuamua" | Scientific American

Quote
So far limited observations of ‘Oumuamua, using facilities such as the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array, have turned up nothing. But this Wednesday at 3 p.m. Eastern time, the Breakthrough Listen project will aim the West Virgina-based 100-meter Green Bank Telescope at ‘Oumuamua for 10 hours of observations in a wide range of radio frequencies, scanning the object across its entire rotation in search of any signals. Breakthrough Listen is part of billionaire Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Initiatives program, a collection of lavishly-funded efforts aiming to uncover evidence of life elsewhere in the universe. Other projects include Breakthrough Starshot, which intends to develop and launch interstellar probes, as well as Breakthrough Watch, which would use large telescopes to study exoplanets for signs of life.

“With our equipment at Green Bank, we can detect a signal the strength of a mobile phone coming out of this object,” Milner says. “We don’t want to be sensational in any way, and we are very realistic about the chances this is artificial, but because this is a unique situation we think mankind can afford 10 hours of observing time using the best equipment on the planet to check a low-probability hypothesis.” Besides being simply a search for signs of aliens, Breakthrough Listen’s efforts could also narrow down the possibilities for ‘Oumuamua’s composition by looking for signs of water vapor sublimating from any sun-warmed ice lurking beneath the object’s red, desiccated surface.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


AngelOfDeath

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2017, 07:10:14 AM »
alien craft or POS space rock?

Tank

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2017, 09:05:43 AM »
alien craft or POS space rock?

Wouldn't it be a kick in the teeth if it was an alien space craft. I can just see the headlines.

Aliens visit and fuck off without stopping!!!
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
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Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

OldGit

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Re: First Observation of an Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2017, 09:58:46 AM »
They took one good look at this place and said 'bugger that!'