‘Oumuamua (OH-mu-uh-mu-uh) races toward the outskirts of our solar system in this artist’s concept. The object, possible a mildly-active comet is estimated at 800 long by 100 feet (230 x 35 meters) wide. The last observations of ‘Oumuamua were in January by the Hubble Space Telescope before it became too faint to see. NASA/ESA/STScI
Ever since astronomers realized that ‘Oumuamua wasn’t a member of our solar system but instead a far-flung visiting asteroid or comet, they’ve been trying to figure out from whence it came. We knew the object wasn’t from here because it was moving so fast it would soon escape the solar system. Now, using data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia stellar surveyor, project scientists have identified four stars that are possible places of origin of ‘Oumuamua, an interstellar object spotted during a brief visit to our solar system in 2017.
Animation of the ‘Oumuamua passing through the solar system. It’s moving along a trajectory unbound to the sun.
It’s not gone just yet. Currently 1.9 billion miles away, a little further than the planet Uranus, ‘Oumuamua’s on its way to stellar encounters in the far distant future. At first, astronomers thought the object was an asteroid, ...