The interloper could carry information about the makeup of alien planet systems
Astronomers may have just spotted the first asteroid caught visiting the solar system from another star.
The Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii discovered the object, initially dubbed A/2017 U1 and later named 'Oumuamua, on October 18. More observations from other telescopes around the world suggest the object’s trajectory is at an unusually steep angle to the plane on which all the planets lie, and it does not orbit the sun. A/2017 U1’s slingshot route suggests it is a recent visitor to the solar system — and is now on its way out again. The discovery was announced in a bulletin published October 25 by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center.
All asteroids previously seen come from within the solar system and circle the sun. Even comets, which come from a distant reservoir of icy rocks in the solar system called the Oort cloud and can have highly