SATURDAY, 10 February
First arrival from afar: the interstellar planetesimal `Oumuamua
The first minor planet from beyond our Solar System was discovered in October 2017. `Oumuamua may have been travelling between the stars for billions of years before its brief visit to us. Michele Banister will take you on a journey from the excitement and uncertainty of the first announcement to the confirmation of `Oumuamua's interstellar origin, and the rapid pace of observations that she and her colleagues made with telescopes around the world to understand this skyscraper-sized visitor: barely a week after discovery, it grew too faint to see.
About Michele Bannister
Dr Michele Bannister is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Director’s Outreach Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom. An expert in the discovery and characterization of minor planets in the Solar System, she has been involved in the discovery of more than eight hundred new minor planets that orbit beyond Neptune. Originally from New Zealand, Bannister has worked at institutes in Australia, the US, and Canada. She was honoured in 2017 by the International Astronomical Union with asteroid (10463) Bannister.