Interstellar visitor Omwamwi was a comet, not an asteroid

Visited our Solar system “the first interstellar visitor” Omwamwi actually turned out to be a comet. To such conclusions scientists have led to the observed anomalies in the trajectory and speed of movement. Strange cigar-shaped object was first discovered last year by using an automated telescope Pan-STARRS1. From the comical discovered the body was missing a coma and the tail, which complicated the task of scientists to determine what they see in reality. There was even a suggestion that the object may contain extraterrestrial life.

“Since the discovery of Omwamwi scientists found it difficult to classify the object because some factors have hampered the study: it looked too dull and we had very little time to keep an eye on that”, — quotes the portal Space.com words Karen Meech, astronomer, University of Hawaii and co-author of the published article in the journal Nature, which describes the real nature of this object.

Scientists it’s still unknown how it came to us 800-meter interstellar visitor, but at least they can say with confidence that it’s not a asteroid, but a normal comet.

An artistic representation of the interstellar object Omwamwi producing gaseous material

To such conclusions researchers gave the speed, behavior, and trajectory with which Omwamwi raced through our Solar system. According to scientists, to explain all these features is only due to gravitational interaction with the Sun, planets and other objects in our system is impossible.

The classification of the object as a comet helps to explain its arc motion and non-gravitational acceleration, because the comet can accelerate due to the gas emitted by them. The magnetic interaction with the solar wind, the solar radiation pressure and other forces were also viewed as factors that could explain the peculiarity of the behavior Omwamwi. But they were eventually excluded as main factors.

“We found very clear traces that trajectory Omwamwi was determined not only by its gravitational interactions with the planets and the Sun. Exclude all possible factors, we concluded that additional acceleration was the emission of gas, similar to those that produce the comet,” says another co-author, Hal weaver from the Johns Hopkins University (USA).

The image shows the path of interstellar object Omwamwi through the Solar system

At the same time, the research team explains that “one hundred percent” to confirm the findings is not possible, because the researchers had failed to detect the visible cometary tail of gas and dust.

“But, based on all of the evidence obtained, a more logical explanation we could not find” — said Karen Meech.

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