‘Oumuamua Team

The first interstellar object detected in our Solar system, 1I/‘Oumuamua, was the subject of a short but intense observing campaign after its discovery in 2017 October. Its faintness meant that most observations were restricted to the first week post-discovery. Yet because the existence of these objects had been anticipated for decades, within weeks a wealth of papers had already been published, and the literature continues to expand rapidly as researchers in diverse fields consider its implications.  The astronomical community (and general public) remain excited with interest in ‘Oumuamua. It is possible that another 1–2 interstellar objects will be discovered in the next 4-5 years, after which it is anticipated that future large surveys like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will discover approximately one per year.

The variety of fields impacted by the discovery of ‘Oumuamua underscores the need for experts in several areas to collaborate and form a coherent picture of this object and what it tells us about the population from which it came. We have assembled a team of 12 experts in a broad range of topics to help consolidate the existing studies and explore avenues for future investigations. The team brings a diverse set of observational and theoretical expertise in small body physical properties and evolutionary processes, solar system formation and evolution, planetary dynamics, stellar kinematics, population statistics, solar system surveys, and space missions.

Image credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser

Name Affiliation Country Expertise
Michele Bannister Queen’s U. Belfast UK Trans-Neptunian object properties, solar system surveys
Asmita Bhandare Max Planck Institute for Astronomy Germany Star formation, disks, planet formation and evolution
Piotr A. Dybczynski A. Mickiewicz U. Poland Stellar kinematics, orbital evolution
Alan Fitzsimmons Queen’s U. Belfast UK Comet/asteroid physical properties
Aurelie Guilbert-Lepoutre CNRS France Thermal modeling of small bodies
Tom Hands U. of Zurich Switzerland Planetary dynamics, disks
Robert Jedicke U. of Hawai’i USA Solar system surveys, small body populations
Matthew Knight U. of Maryland USA Comet properties, near-Sun objects
Andrew McNeill Northern Arizona U. USA Rotational and shape properties of small bodies
Karen Meech U. of Hawai’i USA Comet physical and chemical properties; astrobiology
Susanne Pfalzner Max-Planck-Institut fuer Radioastronomie Germany Star and planet formation
Sean Raymond CNRS, U. de Bordeaux France Planet formation/evolution
Darryl Seligman Yale University USA Fluid dynamics
Colin Snodgrass University of Edinburgh UK Small body missions
David Trilling Northern Arizona U. USA Asteroid thermal properties
Quanzhi Ye Caltech USA Comet/asteroid physical evolution


Team members at meeting #1 (left to right): Robert Jedicke, Sean Raymond, Matthew Knight, Asmita Bhandare, Piotr Dybczynski, Karen Meech, Susanne Pfalzner, Michele Bannister, Aurelie Guilbert-Lepoutre, Alan Fitzsimmons, Colin Snodgrass, Andrew McNeill.