Interstellar visitor ‘Oumuamua from Pluto-like planet outside the solar system, study claims


A new study from Arizona State University researchers argues that interstellar object ‘Oumuamua – discovered passing the solar system on 19 October 2017 by the Hawaiian Pan-STARRS telescope – may have originated from a planet in another solar system. Thought to be a part of a Pluto-like planet, the interstellar visitor passed through our solar system at speeds of 1,77,792 kilometers per hour (1,96,000 mph). While it appeared like a comet, there were some odd features of ‘Oumuamua’s that resembled asteroids more closely. So, it was not classified as a comet. In a new study, published in the journal of the American Geophysical Union

, scientists claim they may have solved the mystery.

Speaking of the two-paper study published on 16 March, author Steven Desch said the team identified ‘Oumuamua as a part of a Pluto-like planet ‘exo-Pluto’ in another solar system. According to a Business Insider report, scientists believe that when ‘Oumuamua approached the sun, the heat of the star started vaporizing the icy body of the interstellar object, which caused it to speed up, causing it to speed up in a ‘rocket effect’.

 Interstellar visitor Oumuamua from Pluto-like planet outside the solar system, study claims

An illustration of ‘Oumuamua, the first object we’ve ever seen pass through our own solar system that has interstellar origins. Image credit: European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser


Calculating the kind of ice that would sublimate at a rate in consideration with the rocket effect that ‘Oumuamua likely experienced, scientists have concluded that the object was made up of nitrogen ice. Though the exact composition isn’t known, the study indicates that the tumbling space rock could have originated from the surface of another planet similar to Pluto, or Neptune’s moon Triton.

Researchers are now hoping that advanced telescopes will be able to detect more interstellar objects that can be further studied and used to learn about other solar systems.