Scientists think they have explained the unexpected behavior of ‘Oumuamua, the first known interstellar object in the Solar System.


About Oumuamua

  • It is the first confirmed object from another star (interstellar object) to visit the solar system.
  • The object was discovered on 19, 2017, by the NASA-funded Pan-STARRS1 telescope.
  • Astronomers named the object 1I/2017 U1 (‘Oumuamua), Hawaiian for “a messenger from afar arriving first.”
  • Size and Shape — The object is believed to be at least a quarter-mile (400 meters) long and cigar-shaped, with a length roughly ten times longer than the width.


What was the mystery?

  • It had no bright coma or dust tail, like most comets, and a peculiar shape.
  • It was accelerating away from the sun in a way that astronomers could not explain.
  • Recent Finding — Researchers say the answer might be the release of hydrogen from trapped reserves inside water-rich ice as the comet warmed up in the sunlight.