Probing Extrasolar Planetary Systems with Interstellar Meteors

©ESO

`Oumuamua

The first interstellar object, `Oumuamua, was discovered in the Solar System by Pan-STARRS in 2017, allowing for a calibration of the impact rate of interstellar meteors of its size ∼100m.

The discovery of CNEOS 2014-01-08 allowed for a calibration of the impact rate of interstellar meteors of its size ∼1m. Analysis of interstellar dust grains have allowed for calibrations of the impact rate of smaller interstellar meteors down to the size ∼10−8m. We analyze the size distribution of interstellar meteors, finding that for smooth power-law fits of the form N(r)∝r−q, the possible values of q are in the range 3.41±0.17. We then consider the possibility of analyzing interstellar meteors to learn about their parent planetary systems. We propose a strategy for determining the orbits and chemical compositions of interstellar meteors, using a network of ∼600 all-sky camera systems to track and conduct remote spectroscopy on meteors larger than ∼5cm once every few years. It should also be possible to retrieve meteorites from the impact sites, providing the first samples of materials from other planetary systems.

Amir Siraj, Abraham Loeb
(Submitted on 7 Jun 2019)
Comments: 5 pages, 2 figures, submitted to ApJL
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1906.03270 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1906.03270v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Amir Siraj
[v1] Fri, 7 Jun 2019 18:00:01 UTC (197 KB)
https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.03270

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