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
|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.