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The object was given Hawaiian name, ʻOumuamua (scout from the distant past) by Larry Kimura, a Hawaiian language professor at UH Hilo. (Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

Since its discovery in 2017, the interstellar object ʻOumuamua has wowed and puzzled the world. The rapidly rotating object was initially thought to be an asteroid or comet, with some speculation that the object could be an alien spacecraft sent from a distant civilization.

Karen Meech

To discuss new and ongoing research about the object that continues to mystify researchers, the University of Hawaiʻi Office of Alumni Relations will feature a live online conversation with UH Institute for Astronomy (IfA) Astronomer Karen Meech, who led an international research team’s analyzation of ʻOumuamua.

The livestream conversation, Dispatches from ʻOumuamua: New Research on a Mysterious Visitor from Outside Our Solar System, will be held on Friday, June 25 at 1 p.m. HST. The webinar will highlight findings gathered by Meech’s team and pinpoint what makes ʻOumuamua so unique.

The livestream event is open to the public. (Submit questions and register.)

“I am very much looking forward to hearing from one of our stellar faculty researchers,” said UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno. “The story of ʻOumuamua has captivated people from around the world, and there is no person better able to discuss this mystery than Professor Meech.”

More on Meech

Both as an astronomer and astrobiologist, Meech investigates how habitable worlds form and the possibilities of life beyond Earth. An expert on comets, she was co-investigator on three NASA missions: Deep Impact, EPOXI and Stardust-NExT. Trained at Rice and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she has won numerous awards, including the Annie Jump Cannon Award, the Harold C. Urey Prize, and the UH Board of Regent’s Medal for Research Excellence.

Event sponsors include Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Institute for Astronomy, UH Alumni Relations, UH Mānoa Better Tomorrow Speaker Series, UH Foundation and the UH Mānoa Office of the Provost.

For more information email

This research is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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