1I/'Oumuamua

This minor planet is the first in a new class of astronomical objects, which consists of extraterrestrial asteroids and comets. This minor planet arrived in our Solar System, and passed by the Sun on a hyperbolic orbit, reaching its perihelion of 0.255 AU on September 9, 2017. It is named after a Hawaiian word for "messenger from very far away." A very fitting name, I think. 'Oumuamua is now on it way away from our Solar System back into the depths of interstellar space. It may be a very long time before it gets anywhere near another star, but it is almost certain that it will never cross our Sun again.

Curiously, if you take the definitions literally, it is not technically correct to call this body a minor planet, just like it is incorrect to call an exoplanet a planet. There are only eight planets in the entire Universe, and all the minor planets in existence are the ones orbiting the Sun. Obviously, no one takes these definitions very literally.

The symbol for this interstellar minor planet is a depiction of its hyperbolic trajectory: an up-facing hyperbola, with a star in the focal point.


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