Predictably, online media go nuts over ‘Oumuamua and Harvard scientists

An artist’s impression of the oddly shaped interstellar asteroid `Oumuamua.

Enlarge / An artist’s
impression of the oddly shaped interstellar asteroid `Oumuamua.
(credit: ESO/M.
Kornmesser
)

A few days ago, a
pre-print
of a research paper to be published in the
Astrophysical Journal appeared online. The paper concerns the
fascinating object known as ‘Oumuamua, which was found in late in
2017 and is the first object of interstellar origin observed in our
Solar System.

Scientists still aren’t sure what the oddly cigar-shaped object
is, and they were further intrigued when they observed it
accelerating away from the Sun. An analysis based upon multiple
telescopes aimed at the object late last year found that ‘Oumuamua

accelerated away from our Sun
significantly faster than could
be explained by gravity alone. Unfortunately, scientists had no
great explanations for why this apparent acceleration occurred.

The new paper investigates the possibility of solar radiation
pressure, or the momentum transfer of photons striking an object.
This radiation pressure is the driving idea behind “solar sails”
that may one day power spacecraft around our Solar System or
beyond.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
Predictably, online media go nuts over ‘Oumuamua and Harvard scientists