8 votes
Accepted

How did astronomers determine the path of 'Oumuamua so quickly?

Three accurate observations are sufficient to fix a Keplerian orbit (ie an elliptical or hyperbolic orbit with the sun at the focus) In practice, observations are not perfectly accurate due to ...
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6 votes
Accepted

What were the odds that ʻOumuamua passed so close to the Sun?

How could it be found otherwise? It is currently (November 2018) only at about the orbital distance of Mars and cannot be detected by the world's largest telescopes. Such objects are small and only ...
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  • 114k
6 votes
Accepted

After Oumuamua passage, has an "urgency" telescope time request procedure been set up?

For observing "predictable" transient events (e.g. Gamma Ray burst or gravitational wave events), observers apply (i.e. write a proposal for peer review) for "target of opportunity" (ToO)time in ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Can we get a picture of Oumuamua with Hubble Space Telescope?

No we can't, The Wikipedia article states that: the size and shape have not been directly observed as ʻOumuamua appears as nothing more than a point source of light even in the most powerful ...
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5 votes

How did astronomers determine the path of 'Oumuamua so quickly?

The Minor Planet Center (MPC) routinely gives preliminary orbits for newly discovered asteroids with observations spanning only 48 hours. Ordinary elliptical orbits are computed automatically. After ...
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5 votes

Is Oumuamua tumbling?

Assuming that this is a serious question... yes, Oumuamua will be tumbling, just like every other small body. That it comes from outside the Solar System does not change that it will have three axes ...
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  • 1,335
4 votes
Accepted

When would Oumuamua have entered the solar system?

One problem with answering this question is that it's not precisely clear where the solar-system ends or when (if) Voyager I crossed that border. If we set the estimate at 19 billion km (per article) ...
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  • 22.9k
4 votes

If we've only observed Oumuamua as a single pixel, how can we know its shape?

If we've only observed Oumuamua as a single pixel, how can we know its shape? Nobody "knows" the shape of Oumuamua. However there are standard ways of deducing the objects likely shape based on ...
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  • 31.5k
3 votes

Is there a reason two interstellar objects were found in the solar system in such a short period of time?

The biggest contributor to these two observations happening so close to each other is capability and interest. Our ability to observe such objects is ever increasing. Once we saw one, our interest ...
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3 votes

What's the soonest Oumuamua could return?

Oumuamua as an object is remarkable, because it has a positive net energy, which means it is not bound to the gravitational well of our sun. Therefore it will never return.
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3 votes
Accepted

Determining the shape of ʻOumuamua via stellar occultation

Observing star occultations is dependent on the object passing in front of a star. During its short time in the inner solar system, ʻOumuamua didn't pass in front of a star (from the point of view of ...
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2 votes

Since when are we able to discover interstellar objects similar to 1I/ʻOumuamua?

In general terms we have had the observational capability to discover interstellar objects like this for quite some time - before digital imaging, photographic plates were used, which allowed accurate ...
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  • 1,335
2 votes

After Oumuamua passage, has an "urgency" telescope time request procedure been set up?

Most observatories have a pot of Director's Discretionary Time (DDT) available to respond to these sort of unexpected events that were not part of the regular (normally) 6-month proposal cycle. The ...
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  • 7,135
2 votes

What is the angle between the planes of Oumuamua's hyperbola and the Milky Way Galaxy?

The inclination of the orbit is 122.7 degrees (with respect to the ecliptic), whilst the Galactic plane is inclined at 60 degrees to the ecliptic. So there is 63 degrees between the two. Such a high ...
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  • 114k
2 votes

When would Oumuamua have entered the solar system?

I like the "science" answer posted by userLTK. Here I'll cheat and use a projection from the current ephemeris in JPL Horizons. Set up like this: and using the script below to plot the results, I get ...
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1 vote

Potential formation mechanisms of the interstellar asteroid 'Oumuamua

If you don't mind speculation, it seems to me that a massive impact - like the one that is thought to have formed our moon, but even larger, could eject shards like that. That such a shard could ...
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