Oumuamua, o Primeiro Objeto Interstellar Conhecido do Nosso Sistema Solar Obtém Impulso de Velocidade Inesperado

Oumuamua, o objeto interestelar 1I / 2017 U1, recebeu um impulso inesperado ao passar pelo sistema solar interno no ano passado, comportando-se mais como um cometa gelado do que como um asteroide rochoso.

Esta descoberta é baseada em observações com o Telescópio Espacial Hubble e vários observatórios terrestres, conduzidos por cientistas do Centro de Coordenação de Obtenção de Situação Próximo à Terra da Agência Espacial Europeia (NEOCC), Centro de Estudos de Objetos da Terra (CNEOS) da NASA. no Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) e na Universidade do Havaí, juntamente com uma equipe internacional de astrônomos.

O cálculo, baseado nas medidas de alta precisão dos telescópios da posição de Oumuamua no céu, descobriu que seu movimento era perturbado por uma força além das conhecidas influências gravitacionais do Sol e dos planetas.

Embora a equipe tenha considerado várias causas possíveis para o ligeiro desvio de Oumuamua na trajetória, eles concluíram que a explicação mais provável é que o objeto estava expelindo material gasoso – como um cometa. Essa emissão de gás poderia explicar a pequena, mas mensurável, perturbação do caminho do objeto quando ele se dirigia para fora do sistema interno solar. Esta hipótese de saída de gás (não diretamente visível em qualquer observação) foi provavelmente produzida pelo aquecimento do Sol, que fez com que os gelos sublimassem e dessolvessem longe do objeto.

“Nossa análise sugere que ‘Oumuamua se comportou como um minúsculo e estranho cometa'”, disse Marco Micheli, do NEOCC, em Frascati, Itália, e principal autor do artigo descrevendo o resultado da equipe, publicado na edição de 27 de junho de 2018 da Nature. .

As observações de Hubble do visitante interestelar foram combinadas com outras observações precisas baseadas em terra do Telescópio Canadá-França-Havaí, do Very Large Telescope do European Southern Observatory e do Telescópio Gemini South. O co-autor Davide Farnocchia, do CNEOS em Pasadena, Califórnia, avaliou a direção e a magnitude da posição da Oumuamua em um período de dois meses no final de 2017 e início de 2018.

“Nós temos evidências dos dados de que o movimento de ‘Oumuamua foi continuamente afetado por uma perturbação não gravitacional, desde a sua descoberta até as últimas observações em janeiro”, disse Farnocchia. “Essa força adicional que vemos atuando em” Oumuamua é muito semelhante ao tipo de perturbação que vemos nos cometas de nosso sistema solar – que é resultado de uma desgraça. ”

Os cometas do nosso sistema solar normalmente ejetam grandes quantidades de poeira e gás quando aquecidos pelo sol. Esse material ejetado forma uma nuvem chamada “coma” e uma cauda. Surpreendentemente, apesar de ‘Oumuamua ter passado muito perto do Sol – dentro da órbita de Mercúrio – nenhuma poeira ou gás foi detectado, mesmo nas imagens mais detalhadas. “Não vimos nenhum coma, cauda ou pequena nuvem de poeira, o que é incomum se for um cometa”, disse Olivier Hainaut, do European Southern Observatory.

A equipe estimou que, se a saída de gás do Oumuamua contivesse pequenas partículas de poeira, isso só poderia significar um par de latas de café cheias.

Karen Meech, do Instituto de Astronomia da Universidade do Havaí, em Honolulu, especulou que os pequenos grãos de poeira normalmente presentes na superfície da maioria dos cometas podem ter erodido durante a longa jornada de Oumuamua pelo espaço interestelar. Os modelos computacionais dos pesquisadores, no entanto, não descartam a possibilidade de que o visitante interestelar expelisse grãos de poeira maiores e mais grosseiros em sua jornada pelo sistema solar. Uma nuvem esparsa dessas partículas maiores teria sido muito fraca para ser detectada pelos observatórios do Hubble ou terrestres.

“Apesar das muitas incógnitas, fomos capazes de desenvolver um modelo que é consistente com a aceleração observada – desde que este seja um cometa incomum”, explicou Meech. “Quanto mais estudamos Omuamua, mais empolgante fica. Estou impressionado com o quanto aprendemos com uma curta campanha de observação intensa. Mal posso esperar pelo próximo objeto interestelar!”

A perturbação inesperada que age no caminho de Oumuamua torna mais difícil para os astrônomos traçarem com precisão sua trajetória até o sistema estelar original, onde ela havia se formado há muito tempo.

ʻOumuamua, que tem menos de meia milha de comprimento, foi vista pela primeira vez em outubro de 2017 pelo telescópio Pan-STARRS1 da Universidade do Havaí. O visitante interestelar está agora mais longe do Sol do que Júpiter e viajando para longe do Sol a cerca de 70.000 milhas por hora enquanto se dirige para os arredores do sistema solar. Em apenas mais quatro anos, ele ultrapassará a distância da órbita de Netuno no caminho de volta ao espaço interestelar.

ʻOumuamua é o primeiro objeto interestelar observado, alertaram os pesquisadores, e por isso é difícil tirar conclusões gerais sobre essa nova classe de corpos celestes. As observações apontam para a ideia de que talvez corpos cometas de baixa massa sejam ejetados regularmente de outros sistemas estelares e perambular pela galáxia da Via Láctea por bilhões de anos. Portanto, deve haver mais deles à deriva entre as estrelas. Telescópios de pesquisas futuras, como o Telescópio de Levantamento Sinóptico Grande (LSST) em construção no Chile ou o telescópio infravermelho de detecção NEO baseado no espaço da NASA, poderiam detectar mais vagabundos órfãos, fornecendo uma amostra maior para os cientistas analisarem melhor entender sua natureza.

A equipa internacional de astrónomos deste estudo é composta por Marco Micheli (Agência Espacial Europeia e INAF, Itália), Davide Farnocchia (Laboratório de Propulsão a Jato da NASA, EUA), Karen Meech (Instituto de Astronomia da Universidade do Havai, EUA), Marc Buie ( Instituto de Pesquisa do Sudoeste, EUA), Olivier Hainaut (European Southern Observatory, Alemanha), Dina Prialnik (Escola de Geociências da Universidade de Tel Aviv, Israel), Harold Weaver (Laboratório de Física Aplicada da Universidade Johns Hopkins, EUA), Paul Chodas (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, EUA), Jan Kleyna (Instituto de Astronomia da Universidade do Havaí, EUA), Robert Weryk (Instituto de Astronomia da Universidade do Havaí, EUA), Richard Wainscoat (Instituto de Astronomia da Universidade do Havaí, EUA), Harald Ebeling (Instituto do Havaí da Universidade do Havaí) Astronomia, EUA),Jacqueline Keane (Instituto de Astronomia da Universidade do Havaí, EUA), Kenneth Chambers (Instituto de Astronomia da Universidade do Havaí, EUA), Detlef Koschny (Agência Espacial Europeia, Centro Europeu de Pesquisa e Tecnologia Espacial e Universidade Técnica de Munique, Alemanha), e Anastassios Petropoulos (Laboratório de Propulsão a Jato da NASA, EUA).

O JPL hospeda o CNEOS para o Programa de Observação de Objetos Próximos à Terra da NASA, um elemento do Escritório de Coordenação de Defesa Planetária dentro da Diretoria de Missão Científica da agência. O Telescópio Espacial Hubble é um projeto de cooperação internacional entre a NASA e a ESA. O Centro de Voos Espaciais Goddard, da Nasa, em Greenbelt, Maryland, administra o telescópio. O Instituto de Ciência do Telescópio Espacial (STScI) em Baltimore, Maryland, conduz operações científicas do Hubble. O STScI é operado pela NASA pela Associação de Universidades de Pesquisa em Astronomia, em Washington, DC

 

Fonte:http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2018-25

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