Astronomers from the United States and Korea have analyzed the parameters of the motion of the asteroid Oumuamua and the physical characteristics of its potential “birthplace”. It turned out that the asteroid Oumuamua cannot be a “hydrogen iceberg”. Thus, scientists refuted the assumption that the features of its movement are associated with the reactive burnout of molecular hydrogen. The work was published in he Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Oumuamua researchers discovered in 2017. Then the interstellar object was classified as an asteroid, but later astronomers recorded its acceleration. It looked like Oumuamua was a comet, although he had no other signs of this celestial body.
Then, in early 2020, a group of astrophysicists suggested that the object is partially composed of hydrogen ice. Approaching the Sun, the ice began to melt and the evaporated hydrogen began to push the “iceberg” forward.
In early 2020, a group of astrophysicists suggested that Oumuamua is a “hydrogen iceberg” consisting of ice of molecular hydrogen, which evaporates as it approaches the Sun and gives the object jet acceleration. Molecular cloud (GMC) W51, located at a distance of 17 thousand years from us, was named as the possible birthplace of the asteroid.
If so, Oumuamua’s possible “birthplace” could be the cloud (GMC) W51, consisting of molecular hydrogen, the light from which travels to the Earth for 17 thousand years. The authors of the new study decided to analyze and find out whether such a celestial body could have formed in such an environment.
Scientists from the United States and South Korea decided to analyze and find out if a mysterious asteroid could have formed in such an environment.
In a new study, scientists have shown that in a dense gas environment, a layer of hydrogen quickly forms on the grains, which adsorbs material from the surface. This prevents the particles from sticking together.
Scientists also analyzed several mechanisms through which the hydrogen inside Oumuamua can be destroyed. These included the effects of cosmic radiation and interstellar gas. However, it turned out that the greatest influence on this process will be exerted by the light of the stars.
This means that in this form, a celestial body simply could not overcome 17 thousand light-years if it consisted of at least partially of hydrogen ice. Therefore, the nature of Oumuamua still remains a mystery to researchers.