Interstellar object resembles asteroid

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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.



  • Nick

    They also call this sort of thing a “ranging shot”….

    Not saying it’s aliens, but….! 🤔

  • LocalFluff

    6:1 elongation “but otherwise” a normal object!? It should’ve been a comet. Water, carbon oxide, nitrogen are the most common molecules in the universe and they are volatiles that are vaporized when they get that close to the Sun, for the one and only time. It’s just in recent years that the border between comets and asteroids has been blurred in our Solar system.

    Maybe, billions of years ago, this piece of a thing got mangled and boiled off between the binary stars that finally threw it our way with their gravity.

    Capturing interstellar objects is exceedingly rare, according to people in the business. But flybys must be much more common. This thing was far from being captured by the Sun.

  • hondo

    Not Rama huh?

  • wayne

    This Island Earth

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