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Analysis Reveals Elongated, Cigar-Like Shape for First Interstellar Asteroid

Scientific analysis has revealed that the first object to pass through our solar system from interstellar space is an asteroid with an unusually elongated shape.The asteroid was first spotted on October 19 by researchers using the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii, and named “Oumuamua,” which means a “messenger from afar arriving first” in Hawaiian.Analysis over the past month, published on Novermber 20 in the scientific journal Nature, has revealed that Oumuamua has an irregular, cigar-like shape about 1,300 feet long, which is unlike other asteroids discovered in our solar system.Astronomer Ralk Kotulla of the University of Wisconsin-Madison called it a “really rare object” speeding through the solar system at an unprecedented 40,000 miles per hour.“This object has considerable speed. It is not bound to the sun [like asteroids in our solar system],” Kotulla said in a statement. “Its orbit doesn’t take it anywhere near the major planets.”“For decades we’ve theorized that such interstellar objects are out there, and now – for the first time – we have direct evidence they exist,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This history-making discovery is opening a new window to study formation of solar systems beyond our own.” Credit: NASA via Storyful
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