Solar System Gets Surprise Visit By Large Comet

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Illustration from NASA's JPL group of the Oumuamua comet. (from jpl.nasa.gov)

Kira Grega, Staff Reporter

October of 2017, scientists were amazed and confused when a large 800 by 100 foot cigar-shaped object zoomed at 16 miles per second around our solar system.  Oumuamua, meaning, scout or messenger in the hawaiian language, is said to have come from either one of 4 orbiting stars. Astronomers are saying that gravitational forces from a large planet ejected the comet while it was taking a trip over a million years ago.

Scientists have been attempting to research Oumuamua’s point of origin, but have been unable to do so. The European Space Agency’s Gaia probe has been able to attain more accurate readings and pictures of the stars we believe Oumuamua to originate from.

In Germany, a team led by Coryn Bailer-Jones of the Max Planck institute for astronomy, were able to trace the trajectory of the object back in time, and the stars it may have been in contact with over the past couple of millions of years. The Gaia probe has the information of more than a billion stars in our solar system.

The potential home of Oumuamua is said to have been a dwarf planet, although it hasn’t been proven yet due to the fact that none of them are known to have hosted large planets or have a “binary” star.  Many scientists believe that at least one of these are needed in order to house the object.

Planned releases of data about Oumuamua are planned to be released to the public in the 2020’s. So for anyone hoping to know more information about the mysterious new object, you’re unfortunately going to have to wait a couple more years. New sources to the story have been adding and removing information about the mysterious giant.