Alien object 'Oumuama was a natural body visiting from another solar system

December 18, 2017, Queen's University Belfast
The interstellar object 'Oumuamua (circled) as seen by the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope on La Palma. Background stars and galaxies appear as streaks due to the telescope following 'Oumuamua as it moved across the sky. Credit: A. Fitzsimmons, QUB/Isaac Newton Group, La Palma.

Scientists at Queen's University Belfast have led worldwide investigations into a mysterious object that passed close to Earth after arriving from deep interstellar space.Since the object was spotted in October, Professor Alan Fitzsimmons and Dr Michele Bannister from the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen's University have led an international team of astronomers to piece together a profile of the strange visitor, which has been named `Oumuamua.

The team was made up of researchers from elsewhere in the UK, the US, Canada, Taiwan and Chile and in total seven researchers from Queen's were involved.

Professor Alan Fitzsimmons headed up a team which measured the way that `Oumuamua, reflects sunlight, and found it similar to icy objects covered with a dry crust. This is because `Oumuamua has been exposed to cosmic rays for millions, or even billions, of years, creating an insulating organic-rich layer on its surface.

The research, which has been published this week in Nature Astronomy, suggests that `Oumuamua's dry crust could have protected its icy interior from being vaporised - even though the object was just 23 million miles from our sun in September when it zipped past.

Professor Alan Fitzsimmons commented: "We have discovered that the surface of `Oumuamua is similar to small solar system bodies that are covered in carbon-rich ices, whose structure is modified by exposure to .

"We have also found that a half-metre thick coating of organic-rich material could have protected a water-ice-rich comet-like interior from vaporizing when the object was heated by the sun, even though it was heated to over 300 degrees centigrade."

An artist's impression shows the first interstellar asteroid, 'Oumuamua. Observations show that this unique object was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. Credit: ESO/M.Kornmesser

Dr Michele Bannister and her team observed `Oumuamua while it was still within reach of the largest telescopes in the world and their findings are being published in Astrophysical Journal Letters later this month. They found the object was the same colour as some of the icy minor planets they had been studying in the outskirts of our solar system. This implies that different planetary systems in our galaxy contain minor planets like our own.

Working together, the researchers have been able to uncover some very important facts about `Oumuamua.

Dr Michele Bannister said: "We've discovered that this is a planetesimal with a well-baked crust that looks a lot like the tiniest worlds in the outer regions of our solar system, has a greyish/red surface and is highly elongated, probably about the size and shape of the Gherkin skyscraper in London.

Short loop of 'Oumuamua moving against the background stars. Credit: A. Fitzsimmons, QUB/Isaac Newton Group, La Palma.

"It's fascinating that the first interstellar discovered looks so much like a tiny world from our own home system. This suggests that the way our planets and asteroids formed has a lot of kinship to the systems around other stars."

She added: "We are continuing our research into `Oumuamua and are hopeful that we will make more discoveries in the near future. Discoveries like this really help to give a little more insight into what's out there and encourages people to look up and wonder."

Explore further: ESO observations show first interstellar asteroid is like nothing seen before

More information: Spectroscopy and thermal modelling of the first interstellar object 1I/2017 U1 'Oumuamua, Nature Astronomy (2017). nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/s41550-017-0361-4

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TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Dec 18, 2017
The aliens are a cleverly deceptive bunch-

Perhaps the coating was the best way to protect the vessel...
Steelwolf
not rated yet Dec 18, 2017
Hmmm, GoO, wonder if it was an et version of the U2 spyplane, doing a quick and silent reconnaissance with radio silence blackout and carefully camouflaged craft.

Or perhaps a failed manned trip from a distant star, and the crew died off a couple thousand years ago leaving their ship carreening about the Galaxy on an unguided voyage.

Now where is that sarcasm font?

Actually, with the Universe as large as it is these ideas are not 'impossible', they just belong in the low chance column, just like BH Mergers and Neutron star mergers, not 'common', but they happen regularly.

ta2025
3 / 5 (2) Dec 18, 2017
There is no way to know if it was "natural" or not. They could have merely not wanted to answer us or possibly they use a form of communications we have never thought of. It is only our hubris that makes us believe they would either want to communicate with us or had compatible technology to do so.
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (2) Dec 18, 2017
"They", "Them", "Those LGMs" are carefully spying on you! And you thought you could hide in your mommy's basement.

However, after reading these comments? "They" decided to go look for another star system. Continuing "Their' futile search for intelligent life.

When you stop to think about the cost in diverted funding, scarce resources and limited number of competent personnel? Obviously, These LGMs would "Themselves" need grade-creep to qualify as intelligent.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (5) Dec 18, 2017
Obviously the ship is long dead, alone with the passengers, having likely gotten stuck in the interstellar void. To insist that such a cigar shaped object is naturally formed, is insulting to those who can think. To those who can't think, the explanation offers a nice pacifier. Be happy. You are alone in the universe. You are number one!
gculpex
not rated yet Dec 18, 2017
Proof!!!! The earth is FLAT!

Just had to do it before someone else could...
gculpex
5 / 5 (1) Dec 18, 2017
The only problem with this idea is that this object is not gliding smoothly through our solar system, but is tumbling head over heels, about once every eight hours. So if it is an alien spacecraft, it's in trouble.

Read more at: https://phys.org/...html#jCp
mackita
not rated yet Dec 18, 2017
So if it is an alien spacecraft, it's in trouble.
It's just another aspect of its advanced masking, i.e. Bayesan mimicry of common asteroid behavior. Pray mantis also makes movements which resemble randomly moving leaf in wind - and it does it, because it is a hunting predator. So if it is an alien spacecraft, we are in trouble.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Dec 18, 2017
Obviously it was a seed ship, a carrier dropping off nanobots which are at this moment replicating like rabbits in the outback and intent on dismantling our sun.

For the hell of it.

We should send a probe after it ASAP and spank it.
baudrunner
1 / 5 (1) Dec 18, 2017
Just because an alien race makes it to our solar system doesn't mean that they are super smart.

The particle density of intergalactic space is about 1 hydrogen atom per cubic centimeter, and between stellar clusters in a galaxy the particle density is greater, and between stars greater still, and between planets around a star even greater. What I'm saying is that in an interstellar journey at high rates of speed between stars, an object is going to accrete a lot of mass over that vast distance in the form of those particles, particles that are statically charged and will stick to a spaceship's hull like crazy glue. They will arrive at their destination looking like an asteroid.

I compare this object to the one in the image taken by the Apollo 15 command module pilot 117km from the lunar surface. To see it, pan the image to the right using the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the screen. https://www.lpi.u...5-P-9625
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2017
What I'm saying is that in an interstellar journey at high rates of speed between stars, an object is going to accrete a lot of mass over that vast distance in the form of those particles, particles that are statically charged and will stick to a spaceship's hull like crazy glue. They will arrive at their destination looking like an asteroid
You're pretending to be a physicist. It's tacky.
but is tumbling head over heels, about once every eight hours. So if it is an alien spacecraft, it's in trouble
Not necessarily. Nanobots may need artificial gravity for some reason. And rotation could aid dispersal out the ends.
barakn
5 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2017
Not necessarily. Nanobots may need artificial gravity for some reason. And rotation could aid dispersal out the ends.

A skinny spacecraft would be one of the worst possible designs to accomplish this as the percent of internal volume where the artificial gravity would be strong (the two ends) would be small. If artificial gravity was a concern, any of a variety of wheels, flattened disks, etc., would be superior.
mackita
1 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2017
If artificial gravity was a concern, any of a variety of wheels, flattened disks, etc., would be superior.
There are many reasons for why the cosmic space-ship should remain slim and of low profile: for example it eliminates the risk of collisions with asteroids and micrometeorites impacts. Note that war space-ships are usually thin and aggressively pointy (Sasha Cohen did explain it well) - whereas the peaceful business-cargo ships (like ISS or Nostromo from Alien saga) were merely bulky and of irregular shape instead. This would be another indicia that Oumuama actually IS an assault ship - just masked with bubble wrap for to resemble normal asteroid at least a bit.
leetennant
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
Occam's razor exists for precisely this reason.
mackita
1 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2017
We should send a probe after it ASAP and spank it
Or we could send a probe of European Space Agency for to land on Oumuama peacefully: that would scare the shit out of it - and we'll even save some money for scientific incentives and conferences about it.
carbon_unit
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
Its size and shape suggest that it could be a #2 General Products hull which has been adrift for a loooong time and gained an accretion of interstellar material.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Dec 20, 2017
one of the worst possible designs to accomplish this as the percent of internal volume where the artificial gravity would be strong (the two ends) would be small. If artificial gravity was a concern, any of a variety of wheels, flattened disks, etc., would be superior
Not necessarily. If these needed to be launched through an atmosphere, or expected to pass through gas clouds at some point in their journey, then a small aspect ratio would be a benefit. They could be spun up after passage.

This is an old idea
https://en.wikipe...0104.jpg

-and if a civilization were launching millions of these, the spinning cylinder would be the cheapest and most efficient. No moving parts.

Nanobots or bioseeds would need very little room as they are self-replicating, and so could be located at optimum g force locations along the spinning cylinder. And as I said, no ancillary dispersal mechanism needed.
Zzzzzzzz
not rated yet Dec 20, 2017
And there is a face on Mars..... and a Man in the Moon.

We see ourselves everywhere we look.
Guy_Underbridge
5 / 5 (1) Dec 20, 2017
To insist that such a cigar shaped object is naturally formed...
Until you post a pic proving that's an alien ship (your collection of rectal probes don't count), I'm going to assume it's just a long rock.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Dec 21, 2017
To insist that such a cigar shaped object is naturally formed...
Until you post a pic proving that's an alien ship (your collection of rectal probes don't count), I'm going to assume it's just a long rock.
Yes a long rock fashioned by aliens and hurled at us for as yet unfathomed purposes...
howhot3
5 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2017
More proof that the EARTH IS FLAT!!! Oh damn, someone else already posted that joke.
mackita
not rated yet Dec 22, 2017
With compare to this spiky asteroid the Earth really looks more flat than ever..
mackita
not rated yet Dec 23, 2017
Interstellar object 'Oumuamua covered in 'thick crust of carbon-rich gunk': Cigar-shaped body has a deep surface layer made of organic ices baked in interstellar radiation – and potentially has ice in its heart, say astronomers in a new article in Nature Astronomy today.

OK, so it's stuffed with organic nanorobots and will spread them with no mercy.
mackita
not rated yet Dec 24, 2017

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