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In-room guest – Pulso Diario de San Luis

November 11, 2018 3:00

Alfonso Lastras Martínez

On October 19, 2017, Robert Weryk, a doctoral researcher at PanSTARRS Astronomy Observatory in Hawaii, observed an unusual object in the sky about 30 million kilometers away. So much so that it turned out to be the first known object coming from a place outside of our solar system. In these circumstances, it was baptized as "Oumuamua," the Hawaiian origin, which is roughly the "first long messenger".

It is estimated that Oumuamua has a cylinder shape that is about 230 meters long and 35 meters wide. However, this is not safety, however, because we do not have a visual image of him because of the long distance he had seen.

How do we know it, "Oumuamua is an interstellar object?" We know this in light of the speed at which it travels, which is not typical of solar system objects. Due to this speed, it can not be sustained by the gravitational power of the Sun, so it will inevitably leave us on our short visit.

We know that, regardless of the planets that rotate the Sun, there are asteroids and comets. The latter are usually very eccentric orbits, which move them away and periodically turn to the sun. We also know that when exposed to the sun, comets can become very colorful when they form a tail that can cover most of the clouds. This tail consists of gaseous and dust particles emitted from the surface of the comet when exposed to heat that is in contact with the sun. The asteroids, on the other hand, do not create a tail as they are made of materials that do not evaporate the heat of solar radiation.

Although Oumoamua was first categorized as a comet before the tail had been formed, approaching Saul, it was reclassified as an asteroid. The magazine "Nature" appeared in July last year, but it has questioned this issue.

In an article published by an international group of researchers led by Marco Micheli from the European Space Agency, it is reported that Oumoamua suffered from an acceleration that was higher than expected by the Sun. To explain this, Michel and colleagues argue that after all, Oumuamua behaves like a comet, and had additional strength against the sun, evaporating and releasing substances from its surface. It's with a mechanism similar to that of a rocket driving gases flowing out of their engines.

An alternative statement that returns to the Oumoamua asteroid category is proposed in an article published this week in the Manuscript ArXiv repository maintained by the Cornell University. The authors of this article, which were accepted for publication in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters, are Samuel Bialy and Harvard University Abraham Loeb.

According to Bialy and Loeb, the additional acceleration experienced by Oumoamua is precisely the direct sunlight, which, when in contact with an asteroid, slows down when it approaches the Sun or moves forward when it moves from the Sun. It is known that the power generated by the solar radiation of the object has a real effect, which is analogous to the force that the wind acts against the ship sail. Bialy and Loeb think Oumuamua is a thin sheet with a thickness of millimeters, which allowed it to use the solar radiation pulse just like boats.

However, Bialy and Lib does not limit themselves to providing an alternative explanation for the additional acceleration experienced by Oumaamua and to speculate – but they are not demanding – that it could be an artificial structure raised by the alien civilization outside our solar system. According to this hypothesis, Oumuamua would fit the spacecraft's waste that did not work, or it could be a fully operational ship using star radiation to go in its direction.

This is an exotic explanation, at the same time attractive, which naturally caused negative feedback from the expert community. Thus, for example, Marco Micheli notes that the conjecture on the solar array was discussed in his Nature article, concluding that this is unlikely because it would mean that the weight of Oumoamua, given its apparent volume, should be between a thousand and ten thousand times smaller than in other Solar System asteroids with comparable dimensions. Other experts are equally skeptical because radio-electronic emissions have not been detected, which revealed the possible presence of aliens in space ships.

The scholars' discussion of hypotheses and outcomes for the rest is normal and part of their professional practice. Finally, in order to accept, the hypothesis must be confirmed by the results of the experiments developed for this purpose. In the case of Oumoamua, it must be acknowledged that it will be difficult to achieve, because it has been missing for several months in the sky. However, if there is another visit to a similar object – hoping that it will receive a word that is easier to remember – Ouduamua serves as a reference, and we will be better prepared to understand its meaning. Now, we should understand that the hypothesis about Oumoamua's alien's origin is only a hypothesis without strong support. And yet, how valuable is the scientific hypothesis.

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