Oumuamua's new secrets: the interstellar visitor is not a hydrogen iceberg

Oumuamua's new secrets: the interstellar visitor is not iceberg

The scientists made an unusual turn in the study of the interstellar space object Oumuamua. For a certain period of time, science was in the belief that Oumuamua consists of molecular hydrogen ice. However, a new research refuted that assumption. The disputes about the origin of the molecular structure of the interstellar asteroid Oumuamua were not subsided for several months.

Despite promising previous research, today the scientists agree that the asteroid is not a hydrogen space iceberg. Observations of a space object with the Spitzer telescope helped to establish the limits of the release of carbon molecules.

Based on that, it was concluded that Oumuamua could be a hydrogen iceberg. But there is a question: where is the pure hydrogen gas that gives the asteroid a motion? It was not there. The experts from the Center for Astrophysics of Harvard and the Smithsonian University asked if a space object could make that long travel into the solar system using its hydrogen base.

The positive answer was created by the very shape of the object and the possible non-gravitational acceleration. But that whole theory was based solely on the assumption that ice H2 can form in dense molecular clouds. And if it received strong confirmation, then we can say that such objects in the Universe are present in great abundance. The particular molecular composition was considered to explain dark matter.

According to a senior researcher Tim Hoang, the researchers wanted to test not only the assumptions of the theory, but also the assumptions about mysterious dark matter. At the same time, the astronomers objected to the development of such a hypothesis, stating that hydrogen icebergs cannot make such travel, since they evaporate during the movement.

The speed the asteroid Oumuamua is moving is unprecedented: 315 thousand km/h. That speed was recorded in 2017, and later its movement accelerated significantly. In addition, the scientists found that the asteroid has properties that are in the comets.

But Oumuamua with a radius of 0.2 km was not included in their classification for a number of reasons. The astronomers today are at a loss. Oumuamua's mystery remains unsolved. It is a difficult and mysterious object to understand, as it exhibits special properties that science has never seen in comets and asteroids in the solar system.