February 25, 2019
Avi Loeb is Chair of the Department of Astronomy at Harvard. He has published four books and over 700 papers and, in 2012, was named one of Time Magazine‘s 25 most influential people in space. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the International Academy of Astronautics.
He also believes that aliens may have discovered Earth.
According to this article in The New Yorker, Loeb has taken particular interest in an object that is traveling through our solar system and which does not appear to fit the profile of any natural space material. Discovered at the University of Hawaii’s observatory and nicknamed “Oumuamua” (which is Hawaiian for scout or messenger), it is the first interstellar object to be observed in our solar system, and its “peculiar acceleration” suggests to Loeb that it “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth’s vicinity by an alien civilization.”
Loeb explains a number of the objects unusual features: (1) its presence in the solar system cannot be explained using standard astronomical calculations; (2) it is moving far slower than astronomers would expect if it were an asteroid or meteor; (3) it is not round but, rather, appears to be shaped like a cigar; (4) it deviates from the orbital pattern astronomers would expect of a meteor or comet; (5) it was observed undergoing nongravitational acceleration.