Using the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii, astronomers determined that traveling at high speed and originating from interstellar space named ‘Oumuamua and given the official scientific designation 1I/2017 U1 looped around the sun on Sept. 9 and made its closest pass by Earth on Oct. 14. It is zooming away from us now at about 85,700 mph (137,900 km/h) relative to the sun, NASA officials said.
The asteroid Oumuamua
The object is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. It is an irregularly shaped asteroid. It spins on its axis every 7.3 hours being highly elongated: about 10 times as long as it is wide, at least 1,300 feet (400 m) long, rocky (with some metal perhaps mixed in), relatively dense and shaped like a cigar. “We also found that it has a dark red color, similar to objects in the outer solar system, and confirmed that it is completely inert, without the faintest hint of dust around it,” astronomers said. Using the NASA/European Space Agency Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Spitzer space telescope, astronomers continue to study ‘Oumuamua as it heads toward the outer solar system.