This is not the first time astronomers have discovered unwelcome interstellar visitors in the solar system. However, what is different in their recent discovery is that these asteroids came from interstellar space, they then entered the solar system and never left.
The study was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The study also revealed that these alien asteroids have been traversing the solar system and have been hiding in plain sight for billions of years.
Astronomers theorize that these alien asteroids were near the solar system when it was forming around 4.5 billion years ago. Through various simulations, the astronomers have found out that these asteroids are from a different star system.
The astronomers that discovered these asteroids are working at the Observatoire de la Cote d`Azur. The study’s lead author, Fathi Namouni said in a statement:
“The close proximity of the stars mean that they felt each others’ gravity much more strongly in those early days that they do today.”
Namouni and her colleagues at the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil used various numerical modelling to simulate how the solar system was formed. Through these models, they were able to accurately point out the exact location of the asteroids billions of years ago.
A total of 19 asteroids by the astronomers. They added that these alien asteroids have been hiding in plain sight. The asteroids orbit the sun alongside Centaurs, or asteroids that are found between Neptune and Jupiter.
Centaurs are rare, and that they sometimes inhibit the characteristic of an asteroid and a comet. Because of this, experts have a hard time predicting their orbits. According to an estimate by NASA, about two-thirds of all the Centaurs came from the fringes of the solar system.
These alien interstellar bodies lived in the solar system for billions of years. It is especially difficult to spot them as they are usually located in the belt between Jupiter and Neptune. Discovering one is a rare occurrence.
Despite being unpredictable, astronomers agree that these alien asteroids do not pose any immediate threat to the planet. Astronomers are keen into studying these asteroids as they might offer a clue of how the solar system was formed.
Image courtesy of NASA/Wikimedia Commons
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