Did interstellar object just visit our solar system?

Space rock from another galaxy screams through Solar System

Science Daily explained: "The object approached our solar system from nearly directly "above" the ecliptic, the approximate plane in space where the planets and most asteroids orbit the Sun, so it did not have any close encounters with the eight major planets during its plunge toward the Sun". An asteroid? A UFO piloted by little green aliens?

It would be the first "interstellar object" to be observed and confirmed by astronomers.

By looking more closely at the route, the NASA team worked out more: that it had come from the direction of the constellation Lyra.

Sure enough, there it was the previous night-an asteroid or comet that he believes came from outside our solar system.

He said that while everything so far indicated the object was from outside the solar system, more data would be needed to confirm it.

So farewell, A/2017 U1.

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Not much is known about the object other than its size - less than a quarter mile in diameter - and that it appears to have originated from outside our solar system, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a news release Thursday, Oct. 26. The sun's gravity caused the object to make a steep turn, and it passed safely under the Earth's orbit on October 14 at about 15 million miles, which is roughly 60 times the distance between Earth and the moon. Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA), was first to identify the moving object and submit it to the Minor Planet Center. Astronomers are soon working to direct the telescope to the whole world and to be in outer space on the object. They would be able to give any information about the object only after collecting and analyzing sufficient data. (NASA has prepared this nice visualization of the object's path.) On 9 September, it made its closest approach to the sun, with gravity then tugging it on a route "under" the solar system.

NASA scientist Davide Farnocchia said the object has the most extreme orbit he's ever seen.

Based on its freakish trajectory, astronomers believe C/2017 U1 may be the first comet ever seen that came from interstellar space and through our solar system. It is now looping back above the planetary plane and, traveling at 44 kilometers per second, is shooting toward the constellation Pegasus.

The Minor Planet Center (MPC), which makes all observations on small bodies in our solar system and objects passing through, named the newly discovered object as A/2017 U1. Said MPC Director Matt Holman, "This kind of discovery demonstrates the great scientific value of continual wide-field surveys of the sky, coupled with intensive follow-up observations, to find things we wouldn't otherwise know are there".

"We have been waiting for this day for decades", said JPL's Center for Near Earth Object Studies Manager Paul Chodas.

David Meade, the numerologists who make doomsday predictions based on Biblical quotes, had earlier predicted the start of the world's end on October 15, when mythical planet Nibiru, or Planet X supposedly came close to the earth. They also tend to come from two zones: the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune, or the Oort Cloud closer to the edge of the solar system.

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