Nearly four years after its discovery, the inter-center visitor ‘Oumuamua’ continues to be a puzzle. Why that shape? How it structured? Last year, a study suggested that it was a shark from a planet that was destroys when it came too close to a planet’s star. A new study also refers to it as a planetary division, but its origins are very different.
Oumuamua may be a fragment of a Pluto-like planet around a distant star. The study, published in two research papers in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (here and here), aims to explain the intriguing “cigar” shape and other strange features – it looks like an asteroid but spreads out like a comet. That they could have explained much of what we have observed so far if the object were made of nitrogen ice like the surface of Pluto.
If this is the case, scientists have speculated that ‘Omuamua (oh-mo-a-mo-a) first returned to the solar system in 1995 as it slowly began to evaporate as it approached the sun. This process created it is strange plane shape and explains why the object is getting faster and faster as it passes the sun and eventually becomes visible from the earth. Alan Jackson from Arizona State University said in a statement, “The unusual shape of‘Omuamua ’is also explained by the formation of frozen nitrogen. As the outer layers of nitrogen ice evaporated, the shape of the body gradually became flatter, as a bar of soap closed off using the outer layers.”
It entered the solar system a little slower than expected, suggesting that it had not traveled to interplanetary space for more than 1 billion years. Researchers suspect that a planet far away from the stars attacked by something like Pluto, a piece of which flew into space, where they were eventually encouraged to move out of the system and across the stars towards us. “This study is exciting in that we have probably solved the mystery of what‘Oumuamua is and we can reasonably identify each other as part of the Pluto national planet from another solar system, ’says Steven Desch, also from Arizona State University.
“Until now, we had no way of knowing if there were other Pluto-like planets in the solar system, but now we have seen a part of the Earth’s surface.” ‘Oumuamua is no longer studied. To solve this mystery, we need new observatories that can track all interstellar objects passing through the solar system. Recently, new research has estimated that there should be seven of the Earth’s orbits each year, so hopefully, opportunities for further study will soon arise.
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