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Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING)

Spectroscopy and Thermal Modelling of the First Interstellar Object 1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua

14 Jan 2018, 15:00 UTC
Spectroscopy and Thermal Modelling of the First Interstellar Object 1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua A. Fitzsimmons, QUB/Isaac Newton Group, La Palma

Astronomers using ACAM on the William Herschel Telescope (WHT) report in a paper published in Nature Astronomy, the spectroscopic characterisation of ‘Oumuamua, finding it to be variable with time but similar to organically rich surfaces found in the outer Solar System. This is consistent with predictions of an insulating mantle produced by long-term cosmic ray exposure. This coating could have protected an ice-rich interior from being vaporised during its recent passage close to the Sun. An internal icy composition cannot therefore be ruled out by the lack of activity, even though ‘Oumuamua passed within 0.25 AU of the Sun.

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