Author Topic: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper? ('Oumuamua)  (Read 72654 times)

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #160 on: 11/21/2017 05:58 AM »
If an artificially-made object of the same approximate dimensions were to pass through our solar system like this, then how would we really be able to tell that's it's not an asteroid?  We'd need an actual image of it.
Imaging is totally out of the question for objects this size. If it had been spotted earlier, radar might have been possible.

A spectrum could strongly suggest one way or the other. Someone would probably notice if it was covered in gold foil or titanium dioxide paint. In this case, it appears consistent with some known solar system bodies, but being featureless it doesn't tell us definitively that it's made of the same stuff.

Also worth noting: The size estimates assume an albedo similar to the natural objects with similar colors. If our own spacecraft are anything to go by, an artificial object would likely be much more reflective, and correspondingly smaller. We might notice this in thermal IR, which is hopefully forthcoming from Spitzer. OTOH, who knows what a few million years of cosmic radiation does to paint and Kapton...

For a covert system survey flyby. The intruder probe will most likely be clad in fake (or real) dull regolith to obscure the probe from being discovered by the system's natives as an artificial spacecraft instead of some random piece of space rock. One would think.  ;)


Offline Star One

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #161 on: 11/21/2017 07:38 AM »
If an artificially-made object of the same approximate dimensions were to pass through our solar system like this, then how would we really be able to tell that's it's not an asteroid?  We'd need an actual image of it.
Imaging is totally out of the question for objects this size. If it had been spotted earlier, radar might have been possible.

A spectrum could strongly suggest one way or the other. Someone would probably notice if it was covered in gold foil or titanium dioxide paint. In this case, it appears consistent with some known solar system bodies, but being featureless it doesn't tell us definitively that it's made of the same stuff.

Also worth noting: The size estimates assume an albedo similar to the natural objects with similar colors. If our own spacecraft are anything to go by, an artificial object would likely be much more reflective, and correspondingly smaller. We might notice this in thermal IR, which is hopefully forthcoming from Spitzer. OTOH, who knows what a few million years of cosmic radiation does to paint and Kapton...

For a covert system survey flyby. The intruder probe will most likely be clad in fake (or real) dull regolith to obscure the probe from being discovered by the system's natives as an artificial spacecraft instead of some random piece of space rock. One would think.  ;)

If it was a dead or inert probe I imagine it wouldn’t look that dissimilar to a natural object being just as likely to get covered in Tholins & tumbling along.

Offline TakeOff

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #162 on: 11/21/2017 07:57 AM »
For how long will it be observable?
Has it or could it be observed by Hubble. And wouldn't JWST be helpful in infrared, but will it be operating in time?
Will it be possible to determine its shape much better?
As much as I love the idea of this being a mini Rama, this object is tumbling. so not likely a probe or passenger ship.

Even if it WERE some kind of mini Rama, millions, or perhaps billions of years in interstellar space, would probably be too much for even the most robust technologies.
Don't be too sure. Life has thrived on Earth for billions of years. Need not be different in a much smaller object, designed or not. Life's self-repair and evolution makes it pretty resilient. Infinite numbers of different life forms are possible, just from combinatorics of DNA on Earth.

We can only hope that they don't have a frame of reference that makes it look to them as if WE are attacking them with our Sun. ;-)
« Last Edit: 11/21/2017 08:01 AM by TakeOff »

Offline hop

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #163 on: 11/21/2017 08:04 AM »
Where does the "high metal content" idea pushed by some in this thread come from (this is how rumors get started...)?
I suspect it came from the ESO and NASA press releases, which both mentioned the possibility of a metallic composition. However, they don't suggest there is any evidence to favor this over stony composition.
ESO
Quote
These properties suggest that `Oumuamua is dense, possibly rocky or with high metal content, lacks significant amounts of water or ice, and that its surface is now dark and reddened due to the effects of irradiation from cosmic rays over millions of years. It is estimated to be at least 400 metres long.

NASA
Quote
These properties suggest that ‘Oumuamua is dense, comprised of rock and possibly metals, has no water or ice, and that its surface was reddened due to the effects of irradiation from cosmic rays over hundreds of millions of years.

Offline hop

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #164 on: 11/21/2017 08:16 AM »
For how long will it be observable?
Into early 2018, most likely.
Quote
Has it or could it be observed by Hubble.
Hubble observations started today: https://twitter.com/spacetelelive/status/932810823805874176
Quote
And wouldn't JWST be helpful in infrared, but will it be operating in time?
No chance for JWST. Spitzer will observe in IR.
Quote
Will it be possible to determine its shape much better?
Not much better. More light curve data will help some, color and spectroscopy may help disambiguate between color vs shape variations.

Offline Star One

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #165 on: 11/21/2017 08:16 AM »
Where does the "high metal content" idea pushed by some in this thread come from (this is how rumors get started...)?
I suspect it came from the ESO and NASA press releases, which both mentioned the possibility of a metallic composition. However, they don't suggest there is any evidence to favor this over stony composition.
ESO
Quote
These properties suggest that `Oumuamua is dense, possibly rocky or with high metal content, lacks significant amounts of water or ice, and that its surface is now dark and reddened due to the effects of irradiation from cosmic rays over millions of years. It is estimated to be at least 400 metres long.

NASA
Quote
These properties suggest that ‘Oumuamua is dense, comprised of rock and possibly metals, has no water or ice, and that its surface was reddened due to the effects of irradiation from cosmic rays over hundreds of millions of years.

Therefore it’s entirely justifiable to talk of a possible high metallic content.

Online jebbo

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #166 on: 11/21/2017 08:19 AM »
It also may have a high metal content, you can kind of see why its caught people’s attention.

By the way here’s Jim Oberg’s thoughts on the matter. He asks some interesting questions in this post.

Quote
This is basically one way 'first contact' might look. So it is truly exciting, and fun to enjoy the common well-deserved excitement.

One point -- nobody's keeping anything secret, apparently, although they could have. Unless there have been radio intercepts, or laser beam flashes. It might be prudent to broaden the observation instrumentation array just in case there were artificial signals that normal astronomical searching wouldn't look for.

Just in case.

How likely would it be that something randomly passing through the solar system would get so close to the sun?

OR -- are only those passers-by getting that close bright enough to be noticed by existing sky surveys?

To find the farther-out and dimmer ones, what wide-field search strategy would be productive, up to and including Hubble?

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1191385/pg2

First, on the high metal content, this appears to be driven by arguments about its strength: because it is tumbling quite fast, normal "contact binary" type asteroids would break apart so it must be reasonable strong.

However, a stony composition would also fit, and both are consistent with it being an elongated molten object ejected by a violent event.

On Oberg's questions, the reason we could find it at all is that is was close to the sun; we wouldn't have seen it otherwise.

On future prospects, the LSST is the best chance and I've seen estimates of it finding ~1 per year.

--- Tony
« Last Edit: 11/21/2017 08:20 AM by jebbo »

Offline RotoSequence

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #167 on: 11/21/2017 10:01 AM »
ish.

Much smaller and clearly not as regular but with a very elongated profile. You can as easily compare it to a sausage :-)

The colour matches D asteroids pretty well

--- Tony

The albedo of the rotating object suggests the presence of large, flat surfaces that can't be explained on a cylindrical object without non-uniform coloration - and uniform coloration has already been confirmed.  :o
« Last Edit: 11/21/2017 10:01 AM by RotoSequence »

Offline Bynaus

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #168 on: 11/21/2017 10:14 AM »
Where does the "high metal content" idea pushed by some in this thread come from (this is how rumors get started...)?
I suspect it came from the ESO and NASA press releases, which both mentioned the possibility of a metallic composition. However, they don't suggest there is any evidence to favor this over stony composition.
ESO
Quote
These properties suggest that `Oumuamua is dense, possibly rocky or with high metal content, lacks significant amounts of water or ice, and that its surface is now dark and reddened due to the effects of irradiation from cosmic rays over millions of years. It is estimated to be at least 400 metres long.

NASA
Quote
These properties suggest that ‘Oumuamua is dense, comprised of rock and possibly metals, has no water or ice, and that its surface was reddened due to the effects of irradiation from cosmic rays over hundreds of millions of years.

Therefore it’s entirely justifiable to talk of a possible high metallic content.

Nope. Just a case of "might contain peanuts". Doesn't mean it does. The point of distinction is between an ice-rich object and one made of refractory materials, the latter potentially including silicates, oxides, and metal. In particular, talking of a "high" metal content is a false claim. Don't do that.

For all we know, it could be made of cheese.
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Online jebbo

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #169 on: 11/21/2017 10:25 AM »
The albedo of the rotating object suggests the presence of large, flat surfaces that can't be explained on a cylindrical object without non-uniform coloration - and uniform coloration has already been confirmed.  :o

I don't think there is evidence for either of those assertions, certainly not for the colour as there are significant (>3-sigma) differences between the various colour measurements published so far, a number of unpublished datasets, and known difficulties with calibration.

E.g. in Meech et al, there are large time differences between different wavelength measurements.  For a rotating body, this means you can only determine the colour is if you assume a uniform colour.  This is vastly different from confirmation of uniformity.

--- Tony
« Last Edit: 11/21/2017 10:35 AM by jebbo »

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #170 on: 11/21/2017 10:52 AM »
The only reason that I even suggested that the asteroid might have a high metal content is due to it's unusual shape.  Typical asteroids in our solar system tend to be more rounded, rather than long and angular.  Gravity tends to cause this in most cases.

   As this seems to be a singular solid mass, I was suggesting that the asteroid likely was more of an iron nickel structure, rather than a carbon or silicon based structure.  Any other types of nonterrestrial or extra solar artificial structures were inferred by others and not myself.
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Offline RotoSequence

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #171 on: 11/21/2017 10:55 AM »
The elongated shape and rotation seem indicative that the object has a modest amount of tensile strength to keep it in one piece. Meech et al suggests 3 Pascals is the minimum sufficient amount.

Offline sanman

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #172 on: 11/21/2017 11:27 AM »
If an artificially-made object of the same approximate dimensions were to pass through our solar system like this, then how would we really be able to tell that's it's not an asteroid?  We'd need an actual image of it.
Imaging is totally out of the question for objects this size. If it had been spotted earlier, radar might have been possible.

A spectrum could strongly suggest one way or the other. Someone would probably notice if it was covered in gold foil or titanium dioxide paint. In this case, it appears consistent with some known solar system bodies, but being featureless it doesn't tell us definitively that it's made of the same stuff.

Also worth noting: The size estimates assume an albedo similar to the natural objects with similar colors. If our own spacecraft are anything to go by, an artificial object would likely be much more reflective, and correspondingly smaller. We might notice this in thermal IR, which is hopefully forthcoming from Spitzer. OTOH, who knows what a few million years of cosmic radiation does to paint and Kapton...

Shouldn't some specific protocol be created to quickly and efficiently respond, if an event like this were to happen again in the future?

If another Interstellar object comes through our solar system again, then wouldn't it benefit us to detect it at the earliest, and then start taking detailed measurements of it as soon as possible? The data could provide valuable insights on the universe beyond our solar system.

In a perfect world, what would have been the ideal ways to respond to this event?

Offline LouScheffer

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #173 on: 11/21/2017 03:18 PM »
Imaging is totally out of the question for objects this size. If it had been spotted earlier, radar might have been possible
Existing radars could get echos, but not detailed images, at this size and range.

From Astronomers Spot First-Known Interstellar “Comet”, the closest distance to Earth was 24,000,000 km, or about 0.16 AU. From this chart of the sensitivity of the Arecibo radar, for an object this size and range, and an assumed radar albedo of 10%, the signal-to-noise ratio would be about 10.  SNR very roughly translates into pixels on target, so we'd expect about 10 pixel resolution.  Enough to tell if it's really elongated, but not enough to detect any surface features.

Offline Star One

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #174 on: 11/21/2017 04:39 PM »
Where does the "high metal content" idea pushed by some in this thread come from (this is how rumors get started...)?
I suspect it came from the ESO and NASA press releases, which both mentioned the possibility of a metallic composition. However, they don't suggest there is any evidence to favor this over stony composition.
ESO
Quote
These properties suggest that `Oumuamua is dense, possibly rocky or with high metal content, lacks significant amounts of water or ice, and that its surface is now dark and reddened due to the effects of irradiation from cosmic rays over millions of years. It is estimated to be at least 400 metres long.

NASA
Quote
These properties suggest that ‘Oumuamua is dense, comprised of rock and possibly metals, has no water or ice, and that its surface was reddened due to the effects of irradiation from cosmic rays over hundreds of millions of years.

Therefore it’s entirely justifiable to talk of a possible high metallic content.

Nope. Just a case of "might contain peanuts". Doesn't mean it does. The point of distinction is between an ice-rich object and one made of refractory materials, the latter potentially including silicates, oxides, and metal. In particular, talking of a "high" metal content is a false claim. Don't do that.

For all we know, it could be made of cheese.

And you seem to be engaged in what could be seen as a case of semantically dancing on the head of a pin. I am sure many politicians would be proud of that kind of response.
« Last Edit: 11/21/2017 04:43 PM by Star One »

Offline Star One

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #175 on: 11/21/2017 07:24 PM »
Quote
Eric Mamajek
@EricMamajek
Wet blanket for thoughts ‘Oumuamua might be artificial: it had the most boring, slow inbound velocity. W/r to Galactic circular velocity, solar system ran into it like a piece of driftwood. If it was artificial, you’d think someone would make an interstellar probe, uh, fast?

https://mobile.twitter.com/EricMamajek/status/933027160754753536

Offline Cherokee43v6

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #176 on: 11/21/2017 07:49 PM »
I'm convinced:

Actually Blackstar... I'm more thinking along the lines of a Zentradi Warship from Robotech/Macross. :)
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Offline hop

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #177 on: 11/21/2017 07:57 PM »
The only reason that I even suggested that the asteroid might have a high metal content is due to it's unusual shape.  Typical asteroids in our solar system tend to be more rounded, rather than long and angular.
While "rubble piles" are common, small asteroids that appear to be individual, cohesive fragments are known. Rocks can do this just as well as metal. X type is within the error bars of the colors in Bannister's paper, so yeah, it could be metallic, but it could be a lot of other stuff too.

Some people (not you) seem to want jump from "could be metallic composition" to "metallic = probably a spaceship!" which isn't really suggested by any of the available data  :P

edit:
To be clear, I'm saying the current data does not suggest an artificial origin. I'm not claiming that an artificial origin has been ruled out, in reality it's unlikely we will ever be able to do that definitively.
« Last Edit: 11/21/2017 10:40 PM by hop »

Online whitelancer64

Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #178 on: 11/21/2017 08:15 PM »
If an artificially-made object of the same approximate dimensions were to pass through our solar system like this, then how would we really be able to tell that's it's not an asteroid?  We'd need an actual image of it.
Imaging is totally out of the question for objects this size. If it had been spotted earlier, radar might have been possible.

A spectrum could strongly suggest one way or the other. Someone would probably notice if it was covered in gold foil or titanium dioxide paint. In this case, it appears consistent with some known solar system bodies, but being featureless it doesn't tell us definitively that it's made of the same stuff.

Also worth noting: The size estimates assume an albedo similar to the natural objects with similar colors. If our own spacecraft are anything to go by, an artificial object would likely be much more reflective, and correspondingly smaller. We might notice this in thermal IR, which is hopefully forthcoming from Spitzer. OTOH, who knows what a few million years of cosmic radiation does to paint and Kapton...

Shouldn't some specific protocol be created to quickly and efficiently respond, if an event like this were to happen again in the future?

If another Interstellar object comes through our solar system again, then wouldn't it benefit us to detect it at the earliest, and then start taking detailed measurements of it as soon as possible? The data could provide valuable insights on the universe beyond our solar system.

In a perfect world, what would have been the ideal ways to respond to this event?

"Ideal" would be more or less exactly what happened. As soon as the unusual nature of the object was known, astronomers around the world swarmed to observe it. Time on large observatories was granted ahead of requests made months ago due to the body's transience. No special coordination is really needed for something like this, since astronomers everywhere wanted to observe it anyway.
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Hyperbolic Hyperbole or Interstellar Interloper?
« Reply #179 on: 11/21/2017 08:18 PM »
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