Mystery Object Could be First Visitor from Another Solar System

in Science & Tech by

Pan-STARRS 1 telescope

Astronomers around the world are trying to track down a small fast moving object that is arcing through our solar system.

Is it a comet? Is it an asteroid? NASA isn’t sure.

The space agency isn’t sure where it came from, but it does know that it does not behave like known space objects and that means it could come from outside our solar system.

If this is confirmed, NASA says that it would be the first interstellar object observed and confirmed by astronomers.

A/2017 U1 space object path
Object’s course and projected path with it’s October 25th location

Paul Chodas, Manager of the NASA Near-Earth Objects Program Office at JPL, said astronomers have long theorized that asteroids and comets can originate outside our solar system, but this may be the first time one has been verified.

For now, the object has been named A/2017 U1. Experts believe that it is less than 400 meters in diameter and is traveling through space at a speed of 25.5 kilometers per second.

It was discovered on October 19 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope (pictured above) at the University of Hawaii, located in Haleakala.

Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Astronomy, was the first to identify the object and confirms it poses no threat to Earth.

Find out more about this object at NASA.gov


Photo: Maxpixel (cc)
Solar System map: NASA