South West Astronomy Fair


Professor Alan Fitzsimmons
Alan Fitzsimmons
Talk: Interstellar Objects in our Solar system 

On 19 October 2017 an Interstellar Object was discovered passing through our Solar system, the first alien visitor ever seen. With little warning, astronomers had only a few days to study it before it became too faint for detailed investigation, even when using the world’s largest telescopes. Our studies have revealed a body that matched some of our expectations, but that differed significantly in other aspects.  We have gained considerable insight into our visitor, now named ‘Oumuamua, but many questions remain. In this talk I will explain why we expected to see something like ‘Oumuamua at some point, what we have discovered about the first object to visit us from another star, and what we might expect to find in the future.