According to the scientists, the first discovered interstellar visitor in our solar system is covered with an organic layer.
Qumuamua has been in the center of attention since it was first noticed in October. However, as Independent stated, the more details are found out, the more interesting it becomes.
It is still not known what exactly Qumuamua represents, where it came from and what it is made of. Scientists did not have enough time to study the object when it passed through our solar system. Now, they are continuing to analyze the obtained data.
Before the arrival of Qumuamua, scientists had considered that the objects of its kind would look like comets as they passed through the solar system. Those objects would be made up of ice and would leave visible streams behind them, just like hot stars.
However, when Qumuamua first passed by the Sun, it did not left any visible stream. Analyzing the obtained data, scientists found out that it is an icy object, which is covered with organic material that protects the frozen water being hit by the sun rays.
The lead author of one of the two studies, Alan Fitzsimmons from the University of Belfast, stated that the result was eventually good, because they have expected that the majority of the objects that would visit the solar system would be made of ice.
He added that the thing that worried them is that the object looked like a rock. Their study showed that the object could be icy, but they did not detect any ice due to the fact that it has been burnt by the energetic radiation among the stars for hundreds of millions of years.
However, it is not certain that Qumuamua contains ice at all, because Fitzsimmons’ work stated that this possibility can be excluded, because the object is covered with unusual organic material and the scientists can see only the thinnest external layer. The object was examined with a spectroscope that observes the reflected light and splits it down in wavelength.
Analyzing those measurements, the scientists can found out what the object may be made of. The professor stated that while observing the object, they found out that the icy objects exposed to interstellar space form a thick crust around themselves naturally. They found out that this layer insolates the ice inside, so that it would not lose its form.
Scientists suppose that stones, ejected from other parts of the planet, visit us occasionally. They know that a great number of comets and asteroids are ejected from the solar system during its formation and they assume that the same thing is happening on other plants, too. However, none had been actually noticed until now, because they are so dark.
Studying this object offers a unique possibility for understanding how the other stars formed and how the objects act with their surrounding in the interstellar space.
Scientists have come to interesting discoveries, because the object is an unusual and old visitor. The initial observations showed that it is red, but its exact kind of red cannot be determined.
The professor stated that if they have more time, they will be able to obtain more data and find out what it really is.