Interstellar Asteroid 'Oumuamua Discovered To Have Come From Binary Star System

ʻOumuamua may have travelled from a binary star system

'Oumuamua binary system origins teased in latest interstellar object study

"The same way we use comets to better understand planet formation in our solar system, maybe this curious object can tell us more about how planets form in other systems", Jackson said. The study has garnered worldwide headlines.

The findings at the time suggested this unusual object had been wandering through the Milky Way, unattached to any star system, for hundreds of millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system.

Scientists originally thought it might be an icy comet, but now agree it is an asteroid.

It may have been cast out some time during the process of planet formation.

Expanding upon the idea, the team was also able to conclude that the object would have comes from a system with a hot high-mass star because these systems would have one of the highest rocky object densities of any binary star system. They also looked at how common these star systems are in the Galaxy.

That aspect ratio is greater than that of any asteroid or comet observed in our solar system to date.

Researchers spotted the object using the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System at Haleakala Observatory.

Objects such as 'Oumuamua, the team found, are far more likely to come from binary than single star systems, the latter often releasing icier objects.

The research, which began this past October and was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, was an intensive project for Jackson and his co-authors.

To succeed that, the systems should hold at least one planet as big as Saturn and, therefore, the planet's gravitational influence could indeed tear a space object like Oumuamua from the gravitational attraction of that system's star. But 'Oumuamua displayed no cometary activity-no long tail, no cloud-like "coma" around its core-even after getting relatively close to the sun, so it was soon reclassified as an asteroid.

Scientists knew that it had not originated from this solar system because of its speed and trajectory. For planetary scientists like Jackson, being able to observe objects like these may yield important clues about how planet formation works in other star systems. But another large object that can easily eject something could be another star.

Instead the new research has suggested Oumuamua may be a lot more alien in origin than initially assumed. Since then, researchers have determined that it is blasting through space at 30km/s.

"It's very hard to track exactly where it came from with any great precision", he says.

In fact, as Jackson points out, 'Oumuamua's orbit has the highest eccentricity ever observed in an object passing through our Solar System.

Lead researcher Dr Alan Jackson, from the University of Toronto in Canada, said: "It's remarkable that we've now seen for the first time a physical object from outside our solar system".

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