A Harvard professor named Avi Loeb, head of the astronomy department at Harvard University, believes that the first hint we will get about an alien intelligence will not be a spacecraft. Rather, he thinks that the first sign we’ll get from extraterrestrial life will be trash of civilization. Loeb’s book, published January 26, explains why the strange asteroid that entered our solar system in 2017 was a piece of space technology.
The object He was talking about the first interstellar object to enter our solar system and traveled into our solar system from the direction of Vega. Vega is a star about 25 light-years long, close to the cosmic scale. The object entered the orbital plane of our solar system on September 6, 2017. By September 9, the object known as Oumuamua approached its closest point to the sun, and by the end of September, it had exceeded the orbital distance of Venus.
Earth passed at 58,900 mph on October 7 and moved rapidly toward the constellation Pegasus. The body was about 100 yards long and was cigar-shaped. The big spot the object made was that it was the first interstellar object detected in the solar system. Astronomers came to this conclusion after studying the path of an object. They found that it was unrelated to the sun’s gravity, indicating that it was passing through our solar system.
At first it was thought to be an ordinary comet, but Loeb assumed that the technology could be eliminated from an alien civilization. Several observations led him to the conclusion. The first observation was that the cigar-shaped object was 5-10 times longer than it was wide, and scientists had never seen a normal alien object like this.
It was also unusually bright, at least ten times more reflective than typical stone asteroids or comets. The observation that led Loeb to believe it was a strange neglected technique was the way it moved. He said he had an extra push from the sun. Usually, he said, the clouds of the sun will accelerate the body dramatically as it approaches, then the body will slow down dramatically after it passes from the sun and moves away. However, ‘Oumuamua accelerated at a slight but statistically significant rate away from the sun.
Loeb believed it was pushed by the force of the Sun’s gravity alone. Loeb and colleagues looked at the numbers related to the body’s shape and size, and concluded that it was not a cigar-shaped, but likely tablet less than a millimeter in size with sail-like proportions. If it was a solar sail, that would be responsible for its acceleration as it moved away from the sun. Not all scientists agree with this theory and it is likely that they will never know exactly what umuamua is.
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