Oumuamua is one of the most intriguing celestial bodies know outside our Solar System. It is the first interstellar visitor ever known to cross our system. The dark-red color and its high velocity are what gave Oumuamua away and let scientists know it comes from outside our system. A new study points to the possibility that Oumuamua was formed in the coldest places of space.
In 2017, on October 19, in Hawaii, the Pan-STARRS telescope at Haleakala Observatory discovered a peculiar object transiting the Solar System at 33 million kilometers from Earth. Its trajectory pointed to the presumption it was headed for the Sun.
But it is so fast that there is no chance to be captured into orbit, so most likely, it will travel out of our system juts as it got in. Contradicting features of the object say it is a comet, but a very peculiar one. It exhibited non-gravitational acceleration, but it had no tail.
Oumuamua comes from the Hawaiian word for messenger. We’re not sure what the message is yet, but a new study seems to get a little closer to disclose it.
The recent study on Oumuamua
Observation on Oumuamua revealed surprising new behavior. Unlike a behaving comet, besides expected emitting levels of hydrogen cyanide, it emits unprecedented levels of carbon monoxide—up to 26 times higher than it was expected since it is considered to be a comet.
This led the researchers to the conclusion that Oumuamua could only originate in the coldest corners of space where material high in CO ice abound.
“If the gases we observed reflect the composition of the birthplace, then it shows that it may have formed in a different way than our own solar system comets, in an extremely cold, outer region of a distant planetary system,” said astrochemist and study author Martin Cordiner about Oumuamua.