Believe it or not, pretty much all of the asteroids that we’ve seen in the night sky are local. It wasn’t until just last month that we spotted our very first interstellar asteroid. Scientists are ecstatic about the new discovery as they’ve been waiting to see their first interstellar object for as long as the space program has existed.
The spike-shaped asteroid could be as long as a quarter mile and has a shape unlike any of our local space rocks. NASA researchers have named the asteroid, ‘Oumuamua’, and they are rushing to gather as much information as they can, as the trajectory of the asteroid has it heading back out of our solar system very soon.
Scientists were surprised and delighted to detect –for the first time– an interstellar asteroid passing through our solar system. Additional observations brought more surprises: the object is cigar-shaped with a somewhat reddish hue. The asteroid, named ‘Oumuamua by its discoverers, is up to one-quarter mile (400 meters) long and highly-elongated—perhaps 10 times as long as it is wide. That is unlike any asteroid or comet observed in our solar system to date, and may provide new clues into how other solar systems formed.