First interstellar visitor likely came from binary star system

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The mysterious interstellar object named 'Oumuamua likely originated from a binary system, according to the latest update.

The new study also suggests that the composition of the asteroid may indicate it came from a binary system with a "relatively hot, high-mass star" because those kinds of stars would have more rocky material near them, according to the statement. This determination was made by looking at how efficiently a two-star system could eject an object like 'Oumuamua, as well as how common such systems are.

"It's really odd that the first object we would see from outside our system would be an asteroid, because a comet would be a lot easier to spot", Jackson, who specializes in planet and solar system formation, said in a statement.

And, considering there are a sufficient number of these binary systems across the universe, it's not hard to believe 'Oumuamua sputtered out of one-likely during planet formation.

This artist's impression shows 'Oumuamua. Image via ESO/ K. Meech et al.

'Oumuamua was first spotted by University of Hawaii astronomer Robert Weryk using the Pan-STARRS telescope at Haleakala Observatory in October 2017.

When it was first discovered researchers initially assumed the object was a comet, one of the countless icy objects that release gas when they warm up on approaching the Sun. Earlier, scientists believed that it was a comet, however, the object failed to satisfy the requirements of a comet such as the long tail, cometary activity, cloud-like coma ever after it reached near the Sun and thus, it was classified as an asteroid.

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Scientists knew that it had not originated from this solar system because of its speed and trajectory.

Astronomers could tell that the 1,300-foot-long (400 meters) 'Oumuamua wasn't from around here based on its hyperbolic orbit, which showed that the object wasn't gravitationally bound to the sun.

In December a team of astronomers at the at the Breakthrough Listen Initiative blasted the object with radio waves in search of potential signs of alien life.

For the study, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Jackson and colleagues tested how efficient binary star systems are at ejecting objects. However, further investigation revealed that it does not have comet-like characteristics, hence its reclassification to being an asteroid. It might be that 'Oumuamua will be the first of many to come.

As a starting point, Jackson says it's important to understand that in order for an object to be ejected from a star system it needs to interact with something big.

So farewell, 'Oumuamua, and we hope to see more like you soon. Therefore, the scientists concluded that Oumuamua interstellar asteroid could come from a binary system, too.

Last month, a science team led by Wesley Fraser of Queen's University Belfast reported that Oumuamua is actually tumbling through space, likely the result of a collision with another asteroid or other object that kicked it out of its home solar system.