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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: The Pollantir:
Astronomy fans: do you think Oumuamua was a light sail or just a rock?
Poll: Astronomy fans: do you think Oumuamua was a light sail or just a rock?
Light sail
Comet/asteroid/rock/etc
View Results (11 votes)
 

CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 4, 2:59pm

Post #1 of 20 (4694 views)
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Astronomy fans: do you think Oumuamua was a light sail or just a rock? Can't Post

This remains purely speculative, so there's no definitive answer, but which way are you leaning in the debate? Many articles exist; another here.

I was skeptical at first about it being a manufactured light sail, but the fact that the head of Harvard University's Astronomy Dept is publicly taking the risk of being called a crazy UFO nut makes me wonder, especially because it sped up after leaving the sun without any apparent outgassing.

As I said, we'll never know for sure since it's long gone. But it's fun to think about, and I'm leaning toward artificial light sail.


Annael
Half-elven


Jan 4, 3:29pm

Post #2 of 20 (4651 views)
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well, I WANT it to be a light sail [In reply to] Can't Post

so I'll go with that.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 4, 6:12pm

Post #3 of 20 (4637 views)
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I'll go with 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence'. [In reply to] Can't Post

Occam's Razor gets a look-in too.

There's a lot we don't know about the universe (or physics, for that matter). Heck, we've been looking at Pluto for much longer than 'Oumuamua and still the scientists were knocked for six when they finally got close images of the planet (yes - planet!). It's not surprising that a natural object from outside our solar system doesn't meet our expectations of behaviour.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 4, 6:49pm

Post #4 of 20 (4632 views)
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As usual, your eloquence said what I'm thinking [In reply to] Can't Post

I really, really want it to be a light sail! I guess we just have to wait for the next one and hope we get a better look.

I'd still be fine with it just being a rock since it came from another solar system. That's already cool.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 4, 6:54pm

Post #5 of 20 (4635 views)
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Uh, you mean that dwarf planet? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just kidding! Pluto will always be a planet to me. And good point about how big a surprise it was to fly by it. Now, I am usually the loudest in the crowd in wanting to fund more space exploration, but even I thought, "Pluto? Why waste money on it when we should be all over Titan, Europa, wherever." But I was wrong, and that exploration really paid off.

And look at Ultima Thule--another distant, dull thing that was worth exploring.

Now what I want is some giant Tholian Web to trap the next Oumuamu. Next time, that thing is going to stick around for answers.


Starling
Half-elven


Jan 4, 7:08pm

Post #6 of 20 (4631 views)
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Years ago, [In reply to] Can't Post

when I was teaching 7 and 8 year olds, I had a boy in my class who was obsessed with space and loved talking about the planets. He was mortified by what happened to Pluto. I can still remember his downcast expression when he said, "Miss, why did they kick Pluto out?"


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Jan 4, 7:10pm

Post #7 of 20 (4621 views)
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Awww [In reply to] Can't Post

Poor kid Evil Sounds like he needed a hug!

(I'm so glad I homeschool. I am allowed to hug my students. PS teachers aren't anymore).


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 4, 7:37pm

Post #8 of 20 (4615 views)
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I'll ditto the 'Awww'. [In reply to] Can't Post

Sometimes, scientists can suck a little fun out of life.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 4, 7:38pm

Post #9 of 20 (4615 views)
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I agree about inspecting some of Jupiter's moons. [In reply to] Can't Post

Mars is arid - let's take a deeper look at places that have some type of liquid! During my lifetime, preferably - I want to know what's there.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Jan 4, 10:40pm

Post #10 of 20 (4603 views)
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This is why I should keep up to date with astronomy news [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm saying light sail, because, even though this is literally the first I've heard of this debate, I am a crazy UFO nut myself


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 5, 12:03am

Post #11 of 20 (4595 views)
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Astronomy *nut* here: [In reply to] Can't Post

An interesting and potentially informative rock.
But I do wish it a sail.

Wish we could get Earendil to follow it and report back! Smile


Annael
Half-elven


Jan 5, 3:34pm

Post #12 of 20 (4535 views)
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ever since I first read about light sails [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been fascinated by them. I think it was "The Mote in God's Eye" by Pohl & Pournelle that introduced me to the concept.

It looks like a rock - but if so, what made it speed up?


Annael
Half-elven


Jan 5, 3:39pm

Post #13 of 20 (4531 views)
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I've had a UFO experience [In reply to] Can't Post

No abduction or anything like that! Just sitting on the beach at night in the San Juan islands, in 1973, when an extremely bright light came up over the island east of us, then down to the water and skimmed along it maybe 100 yards offshore of where we were . . . IN COMPLETE SILENCE . . . passed off to the north and disappeared.

We all sat there, then someone said quietly, "did you guys see that?" People murmured assent, and then . . . we didn't speak of it again.


(This post was edited by Annael on Jan 5, 3:39pm)


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 5, 7:54pm

Post #14 of 20 (4498 views)
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I second his emotion. :( // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Darkstone
Immortal


Jan 5, 8:48pm

Post #15 of 20 (4498 views)
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It's a gas giant that was suffering from hydrogen intolerance. [In reply to] Can't Post

It should be commended for going on a successful gas reduction regime, not subjected to celestial shaming.


(This post was edited by Darkstone on Jan 5, 8:52pm)


Meneldor
Valinor


Jan 5, 9:07pm

Post #16 of 20 (4490 views)
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You've read The Wind from The Sun, right? [In reply to] Can't Post

Classic short story by AC Clarke. One of my all time favorites.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 5, 11:33pm

Post #17 of 20 (4470 views)
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Except it's so skinny, it's anorexic. Alas, the effects of heavenly body shaming.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 5, 11:33pm

Post #18 of 20 (4468 views)
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No, but now I think I need to. Thanks! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Annael
Half-elven


Jan 6, 5:10pm

Post #19 of 20 (4363 views)
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yup // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Cygnus
Lorien


Jan 20, 11:11pm

Post #20 of 20 (2336 views)
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Tough stuff [In reply to] Can't Post

In defense of the scientists *ducks to avoid rotten tomoatoes thrown at him* Pluto is really a comet. It will not get close enough to the Sun to develop a tail but it hangs out with other comets and is made of the same stuff they are. Scientists were in a lose-lose situation. They knew demoting Pluto wouldn' t be popular but now that they are discovering other Pluto-like objects they would have to label them all "planets" if Pluto was a planet. (Classifying things is serious business to scientists). That would mean that the potential would have been there to have 100 planets someday.

 
 

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