If Ouamuamua were a propelled lightsail, wouldn't we have detected it?

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  • Thread starter swampwiz
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  • #1
swampwiz
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(Yes, I know how folks here like to say that I shouldn't read pop science articles because it's not correct.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/26/books/review/extraterrestrial-avi-loeb.html
... Loeb argues that it is no more preposterous to suppose that Oumuamua was a lightsail, a thin material that gets its propulsive boost from sunlight or starlight, either launched in our direction or anchored like a buoy in space, where we ran into it on our planet’s travel around the galaxy.

So if this were a lightsail, wouldn't we be able to detect the light propelling it?
 

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  • #2
DrStupid
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So if this were a lightsail, wouldn't we be able to detect the light propelling it?

Yes, we are - even with the naked eye. It's the light of the Sun.
 
  • #3
lomidrevo
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(Yes, I know how folks here like to say that I shouldn't read pop science articles because it's not correct.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/26/books/review/extraterrestrial-avi-loeb.html


So if this were a lightsail, wouldn't we be able to detect the light propelling it?

This hypothesis is just a speculation, so we probably cannot comment it here. But to your question, we do detect the sunlight, of course.
 
  • #4
swampwiz
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No, I meant the laser coming from Vega, or wherever it came from.
 
  • #5
DrStupid
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No, I meant the laser coming from Vega, or wherever it came from.

Considering the speed of Oumuamua there is no reason to assume artificial acceleration. Even if it would have been accelerated with a laser, that would be a very long time ago. In any case there is nothing to see.
 
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  • #6
lomidrevo
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Oumuamua propelled by laser is mentioned nowhere in the article.
gets its propulsive boost from sunlight or starlight,
 
  • #7
Vanadium 50
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Yes, I know how folks here like to say that I shouldn't read pop science articles because it's not correct.

I don't think anyone said that. What they did say is that you need to manage your expectations on what these articles are.
 
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