A new study by researchers from the University of Toronto suggests that the asteroid is likely to have come from a binary star system
At the end of last year, an interstellar asteroid called Oumuamua flew through our solar system sparking fears that it was an alien spaceship.
Now, a new study by researchers from the University of Toronto suggests that the asteroid is likely to have come from a binary star system.
Dr Alan Jackson, who led the study, said: “It’s remarkable that we’ve now seen for the first time a physical object from outside our Solar System.”
Unlike our sun, a binary star system is one with two stars at the centre.
In the study, the researchers looked at how efficient binary star systems are at ejecting objects, and found that rocky objects, like Oumuamua, are far more likely to come from binary than single star systems.
Dr Jackson said: “It’s really odd that the first object we would see from outside our system would be an asteroid, because a comet would be a lot easier to spot and the Solar System ejects many more comets than asteroids.”
The team suggest that the asteroid was very likely to have been ejected from its binary system sometime during the formation of planets.
Oumuamua, which is Hawaiian for ‘scout’, was first spotted by the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii on 19 October 2017.
With a radius of 200 metres and travelling at speeds of 30 kilometres per second, at its closest it was about 33,000,000 km from Earth.
While researchers now know where Oumuamua came from, several questions remain about the mysterious asteroid.
Dr Jackson added: “The same way we use comets to better understand planet formation in our own Solar System, maybe this curious object can tell us more about how planets form in other systems.”
Source : Mirror