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Astronomers who have been observing the interstellar object that zipped past the Sun last month have concluded that it mostly resembles asteroids seen in our own solar system.
From its changing brightness, the team inferred that U1 is highly elongated with rough dimensions 30m x 30m x 180m. About twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, the 6:1 aspect ratio of U1 is “similar to the proportions of a fire extinguisher — although U1 is not as red as that,” says David Jewitt (UCLA), the first author of the study.
“With such an elongated shape, U1 probably needs a little cohesive strength to hold it together. But that’s not really unusual,” remarked study coauthor Jayadev Rajagopal (National Optical Astronomy Observatory). Commenting on its size, rotation, and color, Rajagopal mused that, “the most remarkable thing about U1 is that, except for its shape, how familiar and physically unremarkable it is.”
I wonder if they are still tracking it.