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Nearly Seven Alien Interstellar Objects Enter Our Solar System Every Year

Oumuamua was originally classified as a comet, however, the observations revealed no signs of cometary activity after it slingshotted past the Sun. (Credit: Twitter)

Oumuamua was originally classified as a comet, however, the observations revealed no signs of cometary activity after it slingshotted past the Sun. (Credit: Twitter)

Researchers further state that many of these objects will move at velocities greater than that of Oumuamua.

Back in 2017, Oumuamua was the first interstellar object to enter our solar system. Researchers from the Initiative for Interstellar Studies (i4is), since then, have made an assumption that about seen interstellar objects visit our solar system every year, following predictable orbits, according to Universe Today.

The second ISO spotted in the system was 2I/Borisov on August 30, 2019. Marshall Eubank, a physicist with the i4is, mentioned to Universe Todaythat the arrival of the two objects has created “a field of study almost from nothing.”Eubanks and his colleagues have stated that they use two known ISOs, 1I/’Oumuamua and 2I/Borisov, and the efficiency of past and current astronomical surveys, to estimate the number of these objects in the galaxy. The stellar velocity estimates from the Gaia mission has been used to identify the velocity spread we should expect.

Eubank, along with his colleagues, has found that in an average year, the Solar System can be visited by up to sevenISOs that are asteroid-like. On the other hand, ISOs including 2I/Borisov (comets) would be rarer, appearing around once every 10 to 20 years.

Researchers of i4is further state that many of these objects will move at velocities greater than that of Oumuamua – which was moving at over 26 km/s before and after picking up a boost from the Sun.

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Another study from Harvard’s 2019 paper suggests that one more meteor hit Earth’s atmosphere. The said Papua New Guinea object travelled towards the Earth at such a high speed that it burnt up in 2014. This reference suggests that it originated outside of our solar system. The researchers wrote in the paper that the findings imply a possible origin from the deep interior of a planetary system or a star in the thick disk of the Milky Way galaxy.

Many proposals, such as Project Dragonfly, Breakthrough Starshot, and Breakthrough Initiatives are proposed to find more Interstellar objects entering our Solar system.

Keywords: Astronomy, Interstellar object, Solar system, Scientists, Universe, Space Research, Initiative for Interstellar Studies

first published:March 16, 2021, 19:24 IST