ESO Observations Show First Interstellar Asteroid is Like Nothing Seen Before

This artist’s impression shows the first interstellar asteroid: `Oumuamua. This unique object was discovered on 19 October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawai`i. Subsequent observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that it was travelling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. `Oumuamua seems to be a dark red highly-elongated metallic or rocky object, about 400 metres long, and is unlike anything normally found in the Solar System.

https://www.eso.org/public/australia/news/eso1737/



ri-science:

If you put that ball on that machine while it wasn’t spinning, it would just roll straight down the lower sides. 

The raised edges would keep it in the middle line, but it’s only controlled in one direction. By spinning it, you constantly alternate the position of the tall sides, meaning that the ball is held in the middle, never able to fall off.

Particle accelerators control particles in the same way. Magnetic or electric fields can only direct particles in one plane at a time, so to keep a beam of particles rushing down a particle accelerator in one focused stream, the current gradient must constantly oscillate. This means the particles are constantly held in place, never able to shoot off in one direction.

image

Here’s the same principle in action: these are tiny pollen grains being held in place by an oscillating field. Rods in the four corners of the beam establish a field that oscillates many times a second to keep the pollen trapped. If it didn’t constantly switch, the pollen would all fly off in one direction.

Watch the full film with Dr Suzie Sheehy for more.