The enigmatic emissary from constellation Lyra
A mysterious object was detected hurtling past our sun last month.
Astronomers have confirmed that it is from another solar system, as the orbit it describes would be impossible to achieve from within our own system.
It has been named ‘Oumuamua’ from the Hawaiian term for messenger or scout.
This object is moving a lot faster than asteroids from within our own solar system and Its orbital path suggests it entered our solar system from the direction of the constellation Lyra.
It exhibits a ‘strange’ pattern of brightening and fading light, which reflects off the asteroid every three and a half hours or so. This is a much more dramatic pattern than astronomers have seen from other objects.
Scientists speculate that the most logical explanation for this is due to the shape of the object; They surmise that the object is cigar shaped (about 10 times longer than it is wide.)
It is thought to be a rapidly rotating, extremely dark object, absorbing 96% of the light that falls on its surface. It is also red, the hallmark colour of organic (carbon-based) molecules.