Interstellar object “Oumuamua considered an” active asteroid “| Science

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According to the researchers, the interstellar cigar-shaped visitor to our solar system called “Oumuamua” could be the remains of a larger body that was torn apart by its host star.

The dark, reddish object that rushed into our solar system in 2017 and was named after the Hawaiian word for messenger or scout has long puzzled scientists.

Among its peculiarities is the lack of gas and dust envelopes that comets generally give off as they warm up. Other expert work has suggested that the body is accelerated by the loss of water vapor and other gases – as seen with comets but not asteroids. The result is that “Oumuamua has been labeled” disguised comet “.

Scientists now say they’ve cleared up the mystery and tackled the countless pieces of the “Oumuamua” puzzle.

They say that “Oumuamua is an” active asteroid “formed from a body that has been torn apart by its parent star and then ejected into interstellar space.

“Most planetary bodies … are made up of many pieces of rock that have fused under the influence of gravity. You can imagine them as sand castles floating in space, “said Dr Yun Zhang, co-author of the new study by the Observatory of the Côte d’Azur in France.

These bodies are subject to a number of forces as they pass their star.

“A tidal encounter between a planet or a small body and a star is a tug of war game between the gravitational pull of the star and the self-gravity of the flying body,” said Zhang, noting that when the body passes too close to the star and enters the region of tidal disturbance, it can stretch and tear to give birth to fragments.

In the journal Nature Astronomy, Zhang and Professor Doug Lin of the Lick Observatory at the University of California, explain how they used computer models to reveal that such a process could have produced “Oumuamua and explain characteristics such as its movement of fall, its color and its unusual shape.

Zhang said that near and far parts of Oumuamua’s parent body would have been separated from each other in the tidal disturbance region, the ensuing elongated body was glued together by surface materials that melted close from the star and froze when the body flew. The result is that fragments formed from the body – such as “Oumuamua – would also have an elongated shape.

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