A mysterious space rock, first spotted in 2017, bewildered astronomers — was it an icy comet, a rocky asteroid, or something entirely new? As the object, called 'Oumuamua, hurtles away from us, the mystery may be solved: it's accelerating like a comet.
Researchers tracked the space rock's trajectory on its way out of this solar system, using telescopes on the ground and the powerful Hubble Space Telescope to keep watch even as the interstellar visitor faded out of site. They discovered that 'Oumuamua's speed couldn't just be the result of gravity. It was accelerating — which could be explained by gas puffing out of the sun-warmed end of a comet, the team reports today in the journal Nature [nature.com] [DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0254-4] [DX [doi.org]].
Previously: Interstellar Asteroid Named: Oumuamua [soylentnews.org]
ESO Observations Show First Interstellar Asteroid is Like Nothing Seen Before [soylentnews.org]
Oumuamua Likely Originated in the Local Association (Pleiades Moving Group) [soylentnews.org]