(BIVN) – For the first time, scientists have detected an interstellar asteroid passing through our solar system.
The European Southern Observatory produced this conceptual animation, showing the object from another solar system entering our own.
The discovery was made in October by astronomers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Institute for Astronomy using the Pan-STARRS telescope on Haleakala. Numerous Mauna Kea facilities also made observations and collected data.
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory shared this video detailing the find.
Not only is the object the first to be denoted with the letter “I” for interstellar, a new category created by the International Astronomical Union after the discovery, it has also been given a Hawaiian name.
ʻOumuamua, a name chosen in consultation with UH-Hilo Hawaiian language experts Kaʻiu Kimura and Larry Kimura, said to reflect the way this object is like a scout or messenger, sent from the distant past to reach out to us.