Update: “Oumuamua” Might Be An Arc-Welded, Twistily Long Legged Planet Shard…

More computer modeling this week led to a newly-plausible explanation for how the lithe visitor, one with unwasted grace [at right, and below] came to exist: it was ripped as a shard, by a star — from an alien world — well away from our solar sytem, becoming molten from the immense stellar tidal force, and then re-solidfying repeatedly, until it took its elongated, leggy, copper clad, and gracefully twisting shape — floating across Milton’s black pavement — now powdered with stars. . . over many, many millennia, silently. . . before ripping on by here [in late 2017].

From Astronomy, today, then — and just a bit:

. . . .[A] pair of astronomers have used complex computer modeling to explain Oumuamua’s combination of strange properties, finding the space rock may be a small shard ripped from a larger parent body.

Their models suggest that when an object — anything from a comet to a super-Earth — passes too close to its star, intense tidal forces can cause heated fragments to slough off. These melted shards then refreeze, locking in their unique shapes.

If these astronomers are right, then we should expect to spot plenty of oddly shaped worlds like ‘Oumuamua in the coming years.

“We anticipate many more interstellar visitors with similar traits to ‘Oumuamua will be discovered by future observation,” says study author Yun Zhang from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. . . .

If Zhang and Lin are right, interstellar asteroids may be even more common than interstellar comets, the authors say. These alien asteroids would be relatively small and lack the comas of comets, which would make them much harder to detect while they’re passing through our solar system. However, new cutting-edge telescopes, like the Vera C. Rubin Observatory being built in Chile, could spot them.

“Oumuamua is just the tip of the iceberg,” Lin said in a media release. “We anticipate many more interstellar visitors with similar traits will be discovered by future observation. . . .”

Excellent. Simply. . . excellent.


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