Interstellar Objects Like 'Oumuamua Might Jump-Start Planet Formation

Space.com | 4/8/2019 | Mike Wall
shardonay (Posted by) Level 3
Click For Photo: https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/akYHTq6z97cLsVKCPPUsu6-1200-80.jpg

'Oumuamua might form the heart of an alien planet someday.

Widely wandering bodies such as the odd, needle-shaped 'Oumuamua — the first interstellar object ever confirmed in our own solar system — commonly seed nascent planetary systems, a new study suggests.

Visitors - Scaffolds - Worlds - Shape - Researchers

Such visitors likely serve as scaffolds, allowing alien worlds to take shape much faster than they otherwise would, researchers said.

"For decades, it has been investigated how planets grow from millimeter-sized grit to planets as huge as Jupiters. This growth process would be very slow, but observations tell us otherwise — some planets exist around very young stars," study lead author Susanne Pfalzner, of the Jülich Supercomputing Center and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany, said in a statement.

Presence - Feet - Objects - Grit - Planet-formation

"The presence of 100-meter-sized [330 feet] objects within this grit could accelerate the planet-formation process considerably," Pfalzner said. "Attracting the grit and gas of the surrounding disk, some of the former interstellar objects could grow into full planets."

'Oumuamua was first spotted zooming through the inner solar system in October 2017. The object's weird trajectory revealed that it came from very far away, and subsequent observations heightened the intrigue. 'Oumuamua is a reflective, narrow object perhaps six times longer than it is...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Space.com
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