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Centauri Dreams

A Formation Scenario for ‘Oumuamua

13 Apr 2020, 15:41 UTC
A Formation Scenario for ‘Oumuamua ESO / M. Kornmesser

The interstellar object we call ‘Oumuamua was bound to be fascinating no matter what it actually was. You discover the first incoming object from interstellar space only once. But this one had its own share of peculiarities. Here was what was assumed to be a comet, but one that showed no outgassing as it reached perihelion and in fact seemed to be unusually dry. Here was an object of an apparently elongated shape, an aspect ratio with which we had nothing to compare in our own system. A tiny but detectable acceleration on the way out of the system seemed to indicate later outgassing, but how was that consistent with earlier data?

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