Unidentified object thought to be a spacecraft that flew by Earth has just left our solar system
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Featured Image Credit: Matteo Omied/Dennis Hallinan/Alamy Stock Photo
Oumuamua - a long, cigar-shaped object that was spotted flying through our solar system five years ago - has finally made its way out.
The object made headlines at the time for being the very first visitor to travel into our solar system from elsewhere in the vast and mysterious galaxy.
Many wondered whether it could have been an alien, or even just a rock, but new reports explain that it has now left our solar system after five years.
Space Explored explains that the UFO is currently passing Pluto, but won't be fully out into interstellar space for a further two years, covering a distance of over 2,832,000 miles every 24 hours.
NEWS 🚨: Unidentified Oumuamua interstellar object is just now leaving the Solar System pic.twitter.com/sT4aE0vRsl— Latest in space (@latestinspace) December 6, 2022
NASA explains that when Oumuamua was closest to Earth, it was travelling at 196,000 miles per hour, which is three times faster than the average speed of an asteroid.
Despite this, back in 2017, University of Hawaii astronomers – who first spotted the unusual traveller – first thought they were looking at an asteroid.
However, its weird characteristics suggested it could be something far stranger altogether. In fact, there’s a chance we could have been visited at an alien-made spacecraft.
The lengthy, needle-like shape of the reddish coloured object does not quite fit with what scientists recognise to be an asteroid – which are normally rounder.
"Researchers working on long-distance space transportation have previously suggested that a cigar or needle shape is the most likely architecture for an interstellar spacecraft, since this would minimise friction and damage from interstellar gas and dust," said a statement from the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (Seti) Breakthrough Listen project.
"While a natural origin is more likely, there is currently no consensus on what that origin might have been, and Breakthrough Listen is well positioned to explore the possibility that Oumuamua could be an artifact."
Ever since 2017, astrologers have been trying to understand the object's origin.
In March last year, research suggested it could be fragment of a Pluto-like planet from another solar system.
“‘Oumuamua may be the first sample of an exoplanet born around another star, brought to Earth,” authors and astrophysicists Steven Desch and Alan Jackson wrote in the study, published in the American Geophysical Union Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.
Jackson added: “It was likely knocked off the surface by an impact about half a billion years ago and thrown out of its parent system."