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Shards, Axis Ratios and Interstellar Objects

24 Nov 2017, 14:17 UTC
Shards, Axis Ratios and Interstellar Objects
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

It being the day after the Thanksgiving holiday here in the States, I hadn’t planned a post, but a few more things have cropped up about ‘Oumuamua that I can quickly tuck in here. Now that I’ve learned how to pronounce it (oh MOO-uh MOO-uh), it doesn’t seem nearly as intimidating — it’s the lineup of vowels that trips up the unwary. On the other hand, Jim Benford suggested on Wednesday that we avoid the vowels altogether and call this thing ‘the Shard.’
Here’s the photo Jim sent of the Shard, a 95-story London skyscraper sometimes called The Shard of Glass. It’s 309.7 metres high, the tallest building in the United Kingdom, featuring 11,000 panes of glass with a total surface area of 56,000 square metres. What draws Jim’s attention is the 6 to 1 aspect ratio, with ‘Oumuamua’s thought to be 10 to 1. Jim might also have referenced London’s BT Tower (8 to 1), but what the Guinness Book of World Records calls the “most slender tower” turns out to be the i360 observation tower in Brighton, at a whopping 41 to 1.

With ‘Oumuamua, though, we now have to ask whether the 10 to 1 ratio ...

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