Washington Post

Mystery space object probably not aliens

It wasn't real-life E.T. or some other alien Matthew Knight saw through a telescope.  Foto: AP Photo/Universal Pictures

All of the stars Matthew Knight saw through the giant telescope in Arizona were bright with persistent light. All of them but one, which appeared to be flashing, in a way - light that went in and out, dull and then bright, every hour. He assumed that there was something wrong with his data. But days earlier, the University of Maryland research scientist heard about a strange object in space, when it was discovered by the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii.

What he was seeing was an interstellar object - the first we have ever been able to observe from Earth - tumble through our solar system, rotating and reflecting sunlight in pulses...

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