A Passing Object
In 2017, scientists were amazed when they saw a meteor that was slingshotting around the planets. It was unlike anything that usually makes its way around the solar system, and it wasn’t long before they realized its behavior meant that it was from another star system. If this was true, then it meant it was the second object from out of our solar system that has been spotted by humans.
The asteroid was soon named Oumauamua, but it looks as though it won’t be staying around for long. It’s been traveling at almost 37 miles a second meaning that it was way too fast to fall into the gravitational pull of Earth. It looks as though it could have originated from the depths of the Milky Way and become one of the largest comets to be spotted. To top it off, it’s believed that Oumauamua passes Earth many times a year, but is too far away to be detected.
Not The First
It wasn’t until they spotted Oumauamua that researchers began to look if it was the first interstellar object to pass Earth. It wasn’t. In fact, back in 2017, a small meteor crashed into the planet, but it was traveling so fast and was only three feet wide meaning it had disintegrated entirely by the time it landed around Papua New Guinea.
Looking For Clues
Scientists tracked the meteor’s path before it landed on Earth and discovered that it had no gravitational pull until it reached Earth. This means that the rock originated from somewhere outside of our star system. However, it’s thought that 60 sextillion rocks are launched by a single star meaning there could still be more chances yet to come to study these interstellar objects.
Space can be a weird and wonderful thing. However, it looks as though there might be a lot more to that empty space than many of us ever believed – and some of the objects could have got closer than ever.