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Oumuamua is an asteroid that was discovered in 2017 that appeared to have an elongated, thin shape. Because of this strange shape there were many initial theories about what it could be. The most outrageous one of these was that it could be an alien spacecraft, shaped like so many seen in science fiction over the years. It resembled some kind of “battlecruiser” or carrier craft.

Lots of signposts to this included the previously described shape, its small size of 100-1,000m, its trajectory (eventually found to be of interstellar origin) and it’s strange acceleration which was not as a result of gravity (engines?!?). Spectroscopy and other measurements were taken by astronomers in order to try and figure out what was going on, where the object was from, and where it was likely to go next.

After further investigation it was eventually accepted fully in 2019 that the object was pretty obviously an object of natural origin, but for a short while those of us who hope for intelligent alien life to be discovered in our universe were quite excited... It will eventually transit our Solar System over 20,000 years before heading out to its next adventure. To hear more about the asteroid and these theories join us tonight to hear Dr Colin Snodgrass from the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, 7:20pm, Banshee Labyrinth Chamber Room, Niddry Street.

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