Dust bombardment can explain the extremely elongated shape of 1I/'Oumuamua and the lack of interstellar objects

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2019

Dmitrii E. Vavilov, Yurii D. Medvedev

(Submitted on 29 Dec 2018)

Asteroid 1I/'Oumuamua is the first observed interstellar object. Its light-curve amplitude indicates that the object is highly elongated with an axis ratio of at least 5:1. The absence of such elongated asteroids in the Solar system, as well as the apparent lack of observed interstellar objects, are intriguing problems. Here we show that 'Oumuamua may have originated as a slightly-elongated asteroid about 500×300 meters in size. Surface erosion, caused by interstellar dust bombardment, subsequently increased the axis ratio. Simply traveling through the interstellar medium for 0.03 to 2 Gyrs would have sufficed to give 1I its present shape. Passing through a 10 pc dust cloud with a grain density of 10−23 g/cm3 at 50 km/s would have had a similar effect on 'Oumuamua's form. Smaller objects of around 100 meters in diameter can travel the Galactic disk for merely 30 Myrs before they are disrupted. This could explain the small number of interstellar objects observed to date.

Comments: 4 pages, 4 figures

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:1812.11334 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1812.11334v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Dmitrii Vavilov 

[v1] Sat, 29 Dec 2018 10:48:13 UTC (1,151 KB)

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