The origin of interstellar asteroidal objects like 1I/2017 U1

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017

Simon Portegies Zwart (1), Inti Pelupessy (2), Jeroen Bedorf, Maxwell Cai, Santiago Torres ((1) Leiden Observatory, (2) NleSC)
(Submitted on 9 Nov 2017)

With the recently discovered interstellar object 1I/2017U1 (1I/'Oumuamua) we have to realize that the Solar System is not isolated, but part of a larger environment with which we interact. We compare the kinematics of 1I/2017U1 with simulations of the Milky Way Galaxy and Gaia TGAS data to estimates the local density of objects similar to 1I/2017U1 and to investigate its possible origin. We find that about 1.3\,Myr ago 1I/2017U1 has passed within a distance of 0.16\,pc from the nearby star TYC4742-1027-1. It seems unlikely that 1I/2017U1 originated from an Oort-cloud around this star, but it simply trespassed on its way through.

Based on our calculations we conclude that the population of sola lapis (unbound asteroidal objects) is much larger than that of cometary objects. The number of objects with characteristics similar to 1I/2017U1 must be very common, we estimate a population density of ≈3×105 similarly sized objects within 100\,au from the Sun or ∼1014 per cubic parsec in the Solar neighborhood. By comparing the results of simulations of the Milky Way Galaxy with the Gaia DR1 TGAS we conclude that the kinematics of 1I/2017U1 is consistent with that expected from interstellar distribution of isolated objects that are part of the local Galactic potential. It is then hard to predict how long 1I/2017 U1 has been roaming the Galaxy before it visited the Solar System. We subsequently argue that the Galaxy is rich in solae lapides such as 1I/2017U1. We speculate that such an object is formed in a debris disk as left over from the star and planet formation process. Upon interaction with other stars in the parental star cluster or due to resonant interactions within the planetary disk these objects are liberated from their parental star and float freely in the interstellar space.

Comments:    Submitted to MNRAS
Subjects:    Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as:    arXiv:1711.03558 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1711.03558v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Simon Portegies Zwart
[v1] Thu, 9 Nov 2017 19:00:47 GMT (441kb,D)

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