The sky is full of surprises. Rocketing through it, at 59,000mph, a giant-shaped asteroid has been spotted blasting into our solar system for the first time. Oumuamua, which is 1,312 feet long and dark red, was detected by a Hawaiian telescope. The celestial object’s speed and position strongly suggested it originated in a different planetary system to ours, astronomers reported, in the journal, Nature, making it the first known entity seen visiting our solar system from another star. And it is around ten times as long as it is wide – the longest asteroid or comet ever observed in our solar system. Most asteroids tend to be round. The rock’s name means ‘messenger’ from afar in Hawaiian and was picked up on 19 October as a faint point of light moving across the sky.
Moving at 59,030 mph, Oumuamua was first thought to have travelled from the bright star Vega, 25 light years away in the Northern constellation of Lyra. But Vega was not even close to its present position, 300,000 years ago, when its journey would have begun. Dr Karen Meech, of the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii, said: ‘Oumuamua may well have been wandering through the Milky Way unattached to any star system for hundreds of millions of years before its chance encounter with the solar system.’
In view of the latest discovery, I have become a keen astronomer observer, in fact totally hooked on the mysteries of what lies beyond our planet. It is mind-boggling to paraphrase it.