(WHDH)– NASA researchers are trying to track down a small object that is said to be “moving remarkably fast” through the solar system.
Is it an asteroid? Perhaps a comet? NASA says it’s not sure what it is. They’re not even sure where the small object originated from.
Because the object is not showing behavior typically associated with common space rocks, researchers say it may be from outside our solar system.
“If so, it would be the first ‘interstellar object’ to be observed and confirmed by astronomers,” NASA said in a press release.
The object has been designated by NASA as “A/2017 U1.” It is said to be less than a quarter-mile (400 meters) in diameter.
“Its motion could not be explained using either a normal solar system asteroid or comet orbit,” said Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy
NASA says astronomers are “urgently working” to point telescopes around the world and in space at the object. They say once data is obtained and analyzed, astronomers may know more about the origin and possible composition of the object.
“We have long suspected that these objects should exist, because during the process of planet formation a lot of material should be ejected from planetary systems. What’s most surprising is that we’ve never seen interstellar objects pass through before,” said Karen Meech, an astronomer.
Scientists say the object is not a threat to earth. They say it’s likely heading toward the constellation Pegasus and is on its way out of our solar system.
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