The mysterious, 3,000 foot-long interstellar object “Oumuamua” is not an iceberg made of pure nitrogen. There’s simply too much in the universe for an object to be that large. Scientists say

  • Harvard researchers disprove a study in March that said “Oumuamua was not a nitrogen glacier.”
  • It is impossible to find enough nitrogen in our universe for an object of this size. 
  • “Oumuamua” is 300-3,000 feet in length and between 115-548 to 548 feet thick
  • Scientists attempt to figure out why the sun’s radiation seemed to be moving faster than it did when it left the solar system.
  • In October 2017, the mysterious, oblong interstellar object became visible for the first time. 

While scientists debate the nature of interstellar objects like ‘Oumuamua for many years, one new study suggests that it may not be an iceberg made from nitrogen.

Researchers, which included the Harvard astrophysicist, who proposed that ‘Oumuamua’ was a lightsail sent by another civilization, have found out there’s not enough nitrogen to create an object this size.

The length of ‘Oumuamua, which is estimated to be 300-3,000 feet, could vary between 115 feet and 548 feet.

This means it doesn’t likely represent a piece of a Pluto-like exoplanet, which broke apart 400 million year ago.

'Oumuamua is not a nitrogen iceberg, Harvard researchers say, refuting a study from March

Harvard researchers refute a March study that claimed that ‘Oumuamua was a nitrogen-iceberg.

There is not enough nitrogen in the known universe to make an object that size. As such, it's likely that it is not a chunk of a Pluto-like exoplanet that broke off 400 million years ago, as some have posturized

It is unlikely that there are enough amounts of nitrogen to create an object this large in the universe. It is unlikely that the object in question was a piece of an exoplanet with a Pluto-like appearance that split off around 400 million years ago. Some have speculated that this could be posturized.

Amir Siraj (study’s researcher) and Avi Loeb (researcher), wrote that the necessary mass of heavy metals exceeds star total with 95% certainty, rendering the scenario impossible because only a very small portion of the stars mass is exo-Plutos.

A number of theories – including that it is a hydrogen iceberg or nitrogen iceberg- have been postulated about the origins or the composition of the oblong cigar-shaped ‘Oumuamua since it was first discovered in October 2017.   

Siraj, in an interview with Live Science said that there is no mechanism physical for it not to work. He was speaking about the research done by Steven Desch, Arizona State University astrophysicist, and Alan Jackson.

“And not even error budgets for it to be successful.”

Yale researchers attempted to understand why “Oumuamua” seemed to accelerate in space. They suggested that it might be hydrogen. 

Scientists are attempting to understand why it appeared to accelerate as it was leaving the solar system

Scientists attempt to figure out why the sun’s radiation seemed to be moving faster than it did when it left the solar system.

The mysterious oblong interstellar object was first discovered in October 2017; it is one of two interstellar objects to be discovered

It was one of the two interstellar objects discovered by scientists.

According to Siraj, the only place where pure nitrogen can be found is Pluto in the solar system. 

Loeb told that this argument stems from a simple mass budget accounting.

Loeb sent an email saying that he had found evidence that the Milky Way does not contain enough nitrogen to support a sufficient number of icebergs, and that this would account for the discovery of Oumuamua.

“Oumuamua” was discovered for the first time in October 2017. It flew at nearly 57,000mph and it is unlikely that it originated in the solar system.

He said, “Even if you accept the best assumptions, there is not enough nitrogen to make enough icebergs for Oumuamua. 

“The discrepancy between the two is not minimal, but of orders of magnitude,” especially when you consider cosmic rays evaporation. 

The research was published earlier this month  in the scientific journal New Astronomy. 

In 2017, our first interstellar visitor passed Earth at 97.200mph. But who was Oumuamua exactly?

A cigar-shaped object named ‘Oumuamua sailed past Earth at 97,200mph (156,428km/h) in October.

The telescope first saw it on October 19, and then 34 times were taken over the next week. 

Named after the Hawaiian word for “scout” or “messenger”, it passed Earth around 85 times as far as the moon.

This was the first interstellar object to be seen in the solar systems, which baffled many astronomers.

Initial thought was that the object might be a comet. 

It does not display the typical behavior of comets such as a water-ice, dusty tail.

It is approximately one quarter mile long (400 meters), and is highly extended – possibly 10 times its length.

The aspect ratio of this asteroid is more than any other one we have seen in our solar system.

But the asteroid’s slightly red hue — specifically pale pink — and varying brightness are remarkably similar to objects in our own solar system.

Around the size of the Gherkin skyscraper in London, some astronomers were convinced it was piloted by aliens due to the vast distance the object traveled without being destroyed – and the closeness of its journey past the Earth. 

Alien hunters at SETI – the Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence based at Berkeley University, California said there was a possibility the rock was ‘an alien artefact’.

But scientists from Queen’s University Belfast took a good look at the object and said it appears to be an asteroid, or ‘planetesimal’ as originally thought. 

After looking at light reflecting off the surface, researchers believe that the cigar-shaped asteroids had an ‘violent history’. 

While they don’t know exactly when the collision occurred, experts believe that the asteroid’s slow tumbling will last at most a half a century.