Scientists conclude 'Oumuamua came from another solar system similar to our own

In mid-October of this year, researchers discovered what they believe to be an interstellar object that has entered our own sliver of the universe. Quite aside from everything else, if a comet flew as close to our sun as 'Oumuamua did, there wouldn't be much left of it afterwards, as the heat would have caused it to melt.

While many believe that asteroids and comets are basically identical, the two terms refer to very different kinds of floating space debris - asteroids are hunks of rock that zip around the cosmos, while comets are mostly made of ice - hence the trail of vapor that follows in their wake.

He added: "We have discovered that the surface of 'Oumuamua is similar to small solar system bodies that are covered in carbon-rich ices, whose structure is modified by exposure to cosmic rays".

Research into our Solar System's first known external visitor is ongoing.

Originally, 'Oumuamua was thought to be a comet, but University of Hawaii astronomer Karen Meech ruled out this tidy classification soon after its discovery, because 'Oumuamua didn't produce any plumes of gas or dust, which are the calling cards of comets.

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The team found that the object was the same colour as some of the icy minor planets they had been studying on the outskirts of our solar system.

This is the interstellar object 'Oumuamua (circled) as seen by the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope on La Palma.

An worldwide team of researchers led by Queen's University Belfast (QUB) has confirmed that the 400-meter-long (1,300 ft) spindle is a rocky object containing water ice that is coated with organic-rich substances coming from a planetary system similar to ours and it has been floating through space for millions of years. There are now over 600,000 known asteroids in our solar system.

An artist's impression of how the asteroid looks.

She said: 'The nice thing about driftwood is that it tells you that there's trees that grow on distant shores, so this is a little tangible piece of evidence that the way planets formed and grew in our own solar system, it's happening the same way in other solar systems far away'.

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Fitzsimmons and his colleagues looked at older studies and laboratory experiments that tried to find out what happens to icy bodies, such as comets, that are exposed for a long time to energetic particles and cosmic rays.

'We don't know that the interior does contain ice but if it did contain ice it would have been insulated by the layer on the surface'. "And that's what we saw in our spectra".

Spectroscopic readings revealed it sported a half-metre (1.6-foot) coat of organic-rich material which could have protected a water-ice interior from being vaporised by the Sun. She found staggering similarities.

The mystery object some experts claimed was an alien craft passing Earth has a greyish/red surface and is the size and shape of London's Gherkin skyscraper, according to latest research. Similar objects likely make it into the solar system fairly regularly, the astronomers said, but they are usually too faint to spot with current telescopes. Bannister also says that the ESA spacecraft Gaia, which is mapping the Milky Way in unprecedented 3-D, will publish more data next year-a windfall for astronomers tracing 'Oumuamua back to its last celestial port of call.

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