Last year, Oumuamua became the first-known interstellar object to be identified by astronomers as it passed through our solar system. At first, astronomers thought it was an interstellar asteroid, but upon closer examination, they realized it wasn’t very asteroid-like regarding composition.
The next thought was that Oumuamua might have been an interstellar comet, but captivatingly enough, Oumuamua didn’t exhibit the typical tail effect we see when comets approach the Sun. Furthermore, Oumuamua was elongated and tumbling in such a way that if it were comprised of a comet-like material, it would have broken apart.
Astronomers think they’ve pinpointed a few possible origins from which Oumuamua may have journeyed, but they remain very much intrigued about its composition and what exactly it was. At first glance, it looks like a humble space rock harmlessly passing through our solar system; but was it?
Debates will likely continue for a long time to come, as no one can be entirely sure what it was. Flying at an excess of 88 kilometers per hour, Oumuamua didn’t stick around for long and observations were somewhat short. The only hope for unlocking the mystery is that perhaps we’ll get a chance to observe another object like Oumuamua in the future.