CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) – A newly discovered object from another star system that's passing through ours is shaped like a giant pink fire extinguisher.
That's the word this week from astronomers who have been observing this first-ever confirmed interstellar visitor.
"I'm surprised by the elongated shape - nobody expected that," said astronomer David Jewitt of the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the observation team that reported on the characteristics.
Scientists are certain this asteroid or comet originated outside our solar system.
First spotted last month by the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii, it will stick around for another few years before departing our sun's neighborhood.
Jewitt and his international team observed the object for five nights in late October using the Nordic Optical Telescope in the Canary Islands and the Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson
At approximately 100 feet by 100 feet by 600 feet, the object has proportions roughly similar to a fire extinguisher – though not nearly as red, Jewitt said Thursday. The slightly red hue – specifically pale pink – and varying brightness are remarkably similar to asteroids in our own solar system, he noted.