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Interstellar asteroid is given a name

What does `Oumuamua really look like? This artistic portrayal of the object 2016 WF9, shown passing Jupiter’s orbit, might provide some clue. NASA / JPL

This article originally appeared on BBC.com. Continue reading it here.

The first known asteroid to visit our Solar System from interstellar space has been given a name.

Scientists who have studied its speed and trajectory believe it originated in a planetary system around another star. The interstellar interloper will now be referred to as ‘Oumuamua, which means “a messenger from afar arriving first” in Hawaiian. The name reflects the object’s discovery by a Hawaii-based astronomer using an observatory on Maui. It was discovered on 19 October this year by Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy.

Weryk and fellow Institute for Astronomy researcher Marco Micheli realised it was going extremely fast (with enough speed to avoid being captured by the Sun’s gravitational pull) and was on a very eccentric trajectory taking it out of our Solar System.

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