Strange Comet or Asteroid Could be First Interstellar Object

The path A/2017 U1 took as it crossed through our solar system

It's no surprise that such a space rock, or comet, exists-scientists expect such grist to be wobbling around the galaxy, the ejected remnants of planetary formation. An asteroid? A UFO piloted by little green aliens?

Scientists are now racing to uncover as much about our first interstellar object as they can before it zips away. It's always been theorized that such objects exist - asteroids or comets moving around between the stars and occasionally passing through our solar system- but this is the first such detection. "Once this data is obtained and analysed, astronomers may know more about the origin and possibly composition of the object".

An object that isn't acting like most other objects in space has been picked up by a telescope in Hawaii that takes images for NASA.

This unusual object - for now designated A/2017 U1 - is less than a quarter-mile (400 meters) in diameter and is moving remarkably fast.

It made a sharp turn due to the sun's gravity, and passed under Earth's orbit on October 14 at a distance of 24 million kilometres - roughly equivalent to 60 times the distance between Earth and the moon. Robert Weryk from the the University of Hawaii was the first to identify the object. Astronomers are soon working to direct the telescope to the whole world and to be in outer space on the object. However, even preliminary readings made on October 18 of this unique object indicated it was not local to our solar system.

It has the "most extreme" orbit that NASA scientist Davide Farnocchia has ever seen.

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"This is the first example of a truly interstellar object visiting our solar system", astrophysicist and Senior Lecturer at Rochester Institute of Technology Brian Koberlein said in an email to Futurism.

This telescope has been scanning night skies for near-Earth objects for Nasa.

"What's most surprising is that we've never seen interstellar objects pass through before".

He realised it came from the beyond after cross-checking images taken from the Canary Islands.

Paul Chodas, CNEOS Manager said, "We have been waiting for this day for decades".

The Minor Planet Center (MPC), which makes all observations on small bodies in our solar system and objects passing through, named the newly discovered object as A/2017 U1. They also tend to come from two zones: the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune, or the Oort Cloud closer to the edge of the solar system.

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