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Harvard Scientists suggest interstellar items could be sent by foreigners | News

Astronomical Department Chairman Avi Loeb. "Oumuamua", the first interstellar object observed in the solar system, could be a probe sent…

Astronomical Department Chairman Avi Loeb.

“Oumuamua”, the first interstellar object observed in the solar system, could be a probe sent by intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, according to a paper published by Astronomy Department Chair Abraham “Avi” Loeb and Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

“Oumuamua” &#821

1; as Loeb said means “a long-distance visitor” on Hawaiian – was first discovered in October 2017 by a telescope in Hawaii. It has since moved away from satellites and rockets, making it very difficult to study its composition and leave its galactic origin a mystery.

The interstellar object is an anomaly for several reasons, says Loeb. After analyzing sunlight reflected from the surface, he and Bialy concluded that the object is at least five to ten times longer than it is wide and potentially cigar or pancake format, much more elongated than the typical asteroid.

However, “Oumuamuas defining characteristic – and the main reason scientists believe it could be a probe from an alien civilization – is” extra push “in its path that drives it forward more than the sun’s heavy-duty lonely customer, said Loeb . One possibility is that “Oumuamua is a comet because they also have an additional pressure caused by the ice vaporizing on the surface and creating a rocket-like appearance. But Loeb said that the comet hypothesis does not match the observations of “Oumuamua”.

“In that case, we should have seen a cloud of dust or gas around it, because when you look at comets you see a comet taxi” he said. “But there is no proof of anything like that.”

Loeb, instead, taught that “Oumuamuas unusual course was caused by” radiation pressure “from the sun that drove it like a sail. In this case, the object must be less than one millimeter in thickness.

” Light sail – sail driven of light – now being considered in space exploration. “

Loeb currently stands for the breakthrough of the Starshot initiative, which aims to create this precise type of astronomical research technology. He and others are designing a lightweight sail powered by a powerful laser that will be able to search for life in the Alpha Centauri Star System. He suggested that “Oumuamua may be a similar effort from other civilizations.”

“I acknowledge, my imagination is limited to what I know but It’s true to everyone, “said Loeb.” I was inspired by my dedication to this project. “

Loeb said he was amazed at the overwhelming interest – both from the standpoint nde astronomers and the public – in his newspaper. He said that the paper was approved for publication only a few days after it had been submitted, an unusually fast turn in the scientific community.

“I think the public is very interested in this subject, and researchers are very shy away from this.” Loeb said. “Of course, it is obvious to me that a quarter of all stars have habitable planets like the earth that can have floating water on its surface and the chemistry of life we ​​know.”

Despite “Oumuamuas puzzling qualities, Loeb was hesitant to definitely classify it as an object of the stranger’s origin.”

“I prefer not to assign probabilities to the type” Oumuamua “, he wrote in an email.” We just need to be practical and collect more data about it or other members of its population. Interpretation of existing and future data is my plan for the future. “

-Page author Amy L. Jia can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @AmyLJia.

-Page author Sanjana L. Narayanan can be reached at [email protected]

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