Will we ever know the true nature of ‘Oumuamua, the first interstellar visitor?

Paul M. Sutter is an astrophysicist at SUNY Stony Brook and the Flatiron Institute, host of “Ask a Spacemanand “Space Radio,” and author of “How to Die in Space.” Sutter contributed this article to Space.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

On Oct. 19, 2017, Robert Weryk, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, spotted an intriguing new object with the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS1) in Hawaii. It was, from the moment of its discovery, a weird object — weird orbit, weird speed, weird properties.