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A Population of Interstellar Asteroids?

21 Jul 2020, 12:32 UTC
A Population of Interstellar Asteroids?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

It was hard enough to find ‘Oumuamua, the first object on an interstellar trajectory discovered within our own Solar System. The emergence of new resources like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) should help us develop a preliminary catalog of such interlopers, thought to be not uncommon if we can identify them. But tracking down objects that wandered from one star to another and found their way into residence in our system is another matter entirely.
In April we looked at a study of an unusual set of Centaurs, asteroids whose orbit perpendicular to the orbital plane of the planets and other asteroids raises questions about their origin. A letter to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society had appeared, written by Fathi Namouni (Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, France) and Maria Helena Moreira Morais (Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil). The scientists identified what seems to be a population of asteroids that were probably drawn into the Sun’s gravitational pull at the time of the Solar System’s formation, when the Sun’s birth cluster stars would still be nearby. See Identifying Asteroids from Other Stars for a preliminary look at the idea.
The study has now been expanded and appears as a ...

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