Scientists have explained the mechanism of the appearance of the first interstellar asteroid Oumuamua, which entered the solar system in 2017. A study by Yun Zhang of the National Astronomical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of China and Douglas Lin of the University of California at Santa Cruz is published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Asteroid Oumuamua visited the Solar System in October 2017 – he became the first interstellar asteroid known to science. His movement was recorded by an automated telescope Pan-STARRS1. Scientists have found that there is a lot of organic matter on its surface, and the size of the cigar-shaped asteroid itself is about 200 by 20 m.
The assumption that Oumuamua may have an unnatural origin was previously voiced by scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, led by Professor Avi Loeb. Researchers noticed that the object is moving at high speed – more than 315 thousand km / h with slight acceleration, has a high reflectivity and follows a strange trajectory.
Later, researchers at SETI stated that the hypothesis was incorrect – having studied the asteroid using a radio telescope called the Allen Antenna Array, they did not find unusual signals or radiation from a cosmic body.
A group of scientists in a new study developed a computer model that can explain the model of its appearance. In their study, the authors believe that Oumuamua is a fragment of a planetary body that went too close to the host star and was torn to pieces by tidal forces.
Scientists used a model of simulating the tidal destruction of a parent body rotating near its star. The simulation results showed that if a planetary body is within a few hundred thousand kilometers of a star, it is distorted and then destroyed by stellar streams, breaking up into very elongated fragments with sufficient kinetic energy to escape from its planetary system.
This can explain the unusual elongated shape of this asteroid. According to this concept, the ancestor of Oumuamua was a planetesimal with a diameter of about 1 km.