Most recently, in October, our Solar system for the first time visited interstellar space object. The body, dubbed Omului (from Hawaiian means “messenger”), attracted the attention of astronomers and space enthusiasts from around the world. It got to the point that there was even a suggestion that this could be an interstellar space probe sent reasonable and very advanced civilization.
Disputes in the scientific community even attracted Russian billionaire Yuri Milner behind the science initiative Breakthrough Listen, intrigued by this possibility. So shortly after meeting with the chair of the Department of astronomy of Harvard’s AVI Loeb of the initiative research group Breakthrough Listen has announced that it intends to follow Omwamwi and to check reports that some subtle signals that clearly pointed to the fact that he is not just another space rock.
In correspondence with Milner Loeb said:
“The more I study this subject, the more unusual it is starting to feel, forcing you to think about, not whether it is artificial or whether it is a kind of some kind of probe sent by an alien civilization”.
Third-party observers have noted that the suspicions Loeb to some extent are justified. The object was first discovered by telescope Pan-STARRS, located on the island of Hawaii, and immediately showed some very unusual for a simple asteroid or comet properties. The truth is, scientists first thought that Omwamwi is just a comet, but since he didn’t have a coma — a cloud of dust and gas normally surrounding the nucleus of the comet and tail from this assumption was quickly abandoned.
The shape of the object was also quite unusual. It is strongly elongated and has a small width, while most of us previously observed asteroids had significantly more round shape. Of course, such a feature does not exclude that the object is an asteroid (especially on the background of the fact that the comet it is definitely not because it has a tail), but nevertheless it creates some additional questions.
Group Breakthrough Listen will start monitoring the object by using a radio telescope green Bank this Wednesday, December 13. Hoping to find and intercept transmitted by the object radio signal, a telescope will have to observe him for ten hours, in the range of four radio frequencies. Of course, scientists are increasingly confident that Omwamwi is a naturally formed object, however, science typically does not cast a variety of assumptions, until proven otherwise.