Scientists have discovered a lost interstellar asteroid which has entered our solar system after floating between stars for hundreds of millions of years.
The cylindrical shaped space rock is dark-red in colour and has been named Oumuamua, which means a messenger from afar.
Astronomers estimate interstellar asteroids pass through our solar system about once a year, but they are difficult to spot.
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— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) November 20, 2017
A telescope in Hawaii found the 400m long asteroid on October 19 as it was heading back into interstellar space.
Scientists believe Oumuamua, which was travelling at 95,000km/h, travelled from the bright star Vega, which is 25 light years away in the constellation Lyra.
However, Vega was not even close to its present position 300,000 years ago when Oumuamua’s journey would have started.
This has led to speculation that the asteroid is an interstellar wanderer that has stumbled across our solar system.
An interstellar visitor…scientists have confirmed that an intriguing asteroid that zipped through our solar system in Oct. is the 1st confirmed object from anther star! Learn more about this rocky, cigar-shaped object: https://t.co/DDXYDMT7ic pic.twitter.com/GUBWOQtnaU
— NASA (@NASA) November 20, 2017