Astrophysicist Avi Loeb refuted yet another theory about the origin of the first interstellar object in the Solar System.
Harvard astrophysicists Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb have refuted the recent hypothesis that Oumuamua was а “nitrogen iceberg”. Scientists suggested this version as it would solve the biggest mystery related to the interstellar object – the “invisible fuel” puzzle. For some reason, the object was accelerating on its way out of our Solar System and researchers have not yet found a logical explanation.
Alien tech or not, Oumuamua was not a “nitrogen iceberg”
Shape and speed
Oumuamua was the first object discovered from Earth that flew into our solar system from outside of it. Scientists were struck by its regular cigar shape, as well as other characteristics. The fact is that Oumuamua literally swept through the solar system, mysteriously increasing its speed. It is estimated that it left the solar system at a speed of about 92 thousand km / h.
It was also noticed that this object noticeably accelerated when it passed the Sun. Attempts to explain this acceleration by the gravitational attraction of the Sun have not been successful. Astronomers have not been able to find any visible evidence of water vapor or gas that, under the influence of the Sun, could escape from the surface of the object, thereby accelerating it.
The nitrogen iceberg theory
Last spring, it was hypothesized that “Oumuamua was most likely a nitrogen iceberg that broke away from a planet similar to Pluto, somewhere outside our solar system.” This theory would solve the “invisible fuel” puzzle. The vaporized nitrogen gas could accelerate the object and still remain invisible to telescopes.
Well, Oumuamua was something else
However, scientists from Harvard have made calculations to test the validity of this hypothesis. They came to the conclusion that Oumuamua simply physically cannot be a flying “nitrogen iceberg”. Siraj and Loeb write in their work that there is not enough nitrogen in the entire universe to create such a large object like Oumuamua.
More about nitrogen
It is estimated that Oumuamua is 400 to 800 meters long and 35 to 167 meters wide. Pure nitrogen is extremely rare in the universe, Siraj said. It is found only on Pluto, and even then nitrogen there is only about 0.5 percent of the total mass. Siraj and Loeb write that even if it was possible to scrape off all the nitrogen ice in the Universe from every planet like Pluto, this amount would still not be enough to form Oumuamua.
Loeb and Siraj still believe it could be alien tech
Once again, we get back to the original theory proposed by Loeb – that Oumuamua could, in fact, be an object of artificial origin. Of course, there isn’t conclusive evidence for this theory either. All in all, there isn’t conclusive evidence about any of the main theories and this is mainly due to the fact that Oumuamua was spotted several months too late, which gave astronomers no time for adequate observations.
Avi Loeb’s work related to Oumuamua
If you haven’t been introduced to Loeb’s large-scale work related to Oumuamua already, we have several topics connected to his theories, studies, and books. Links will be provided below but in short, Avi Loeb, Harvard’s former Chair of Astronomy, was the first to propose that the interstellar object was alien technology or remnants of such.
Since 2017, he has been defending his opinion by refuting theory after theory. He even wrote an entire book called “Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth” explaining his point of view and why the world should consider the possibility that Oumuamua was more than just a space rock. What do you think?
Here are several good reads about Loeb’s previous studies, problems, and his book:
• Harvard’s Chair of Astronomy is Leading a Team to Search For UFOs and Alien Tech
• Link Between Oumuamua and UFOs? A Harvard Professor Explains Why It’s Not Far Fetched
• Are Academics Trying To Silence Harvard Physicist Who Claims ‘Oumuamua Was An Alien Spacecraft?
• Chair Of Harvard’s Department Of Astronomy Says Aliens Probably Visited Us And Will Return
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• Ciaccia, C. (2021, November 15). Interstellar object ‘oumuamua is not an iceberg made out of pure nitrogen, scientists say. Daily Mail Online.
• Hickok, K. (2021, November 15). Interstellar visitor ‘Oumuamua wasn’t a nitrogen iceberg, Harvard Astrophysicists Say. LiveScience.
• Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. (2021, November 5). The mass budget necessary to explain ‘oumuamua as a nitrogen iceberg. New Astronomy.
• Williams, M. (2021, November 16). Not saying it was aliens, but ‘Oumuamua probably wasn’t a nitrogen iceberg… Universe Today.
• The ‘Oumuamua ISSI Team. (2019, July 1). The natural history of ‘oumuamua. Nature News.