By Tim Collins For Mailonline
Published: 16:00 BST, 1 July 2019 | Updated: 17:25 BST, 1 July 2019
Aliens have not journeyed to our corner of the galaxy in an interstellar spacecraft, astronomers said in a new study of the space rock Oumuamua.
Oumuamua is the first known object to pass through solar system from outside but experts are still unable to pinpoint exactly where it came from or what it is.
The mysterious cigar-shaped projectile - formally named object 1I/2017 U1 - defies description, with characteristics resembling both a comet and an asteroid.
However, it doesn't conform to many of the other defining features usually associated with these objects - including its direction of spin and lack of a tail.
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The first interstellar object to enter the solar system is not an alien spaceship , astronomers said in a new study - but its exact nature remains a mystery (artist's impression pictured)
Oumuamua, Hawaiian for 'scout' , spins like a coke bottle and accelerates like a comet, but without the gas jets often seen trailing them.
Its movements have puzzled experts leading some to suggest it is an alien spacecraft sent to examine our solar system.
Study's co-author Dr Matthew Knight, an associate research scientist in the University of Maryland Department of Astronomy, said: 'The alien spacecraft hypothesis is a fun idea, but our analysis suggests there is a whole host of natural phenomena that could explain it.
'We have never seen anything like Oumuamua in our solar system. It's really a mystery still.
'But our preference is to stick with analogues we know, unless or until we find something unique.'
Professional stargazer Dr Robert Weryk first spotted the interstellar traveller in October, 2017 at the University of Hawaii's Haleakala Observatory.
Researchers had just weeks to collect as much data as possible before the strange visitor travelled beyond the reach of Earth's telescopes.
The object is now out of sight but could take up to 20,000 years before it leaves our solar system onto its next destination.
Dr Knight worked with astronomer Dr Alan Fitzsimmons from Queen's University Belfast and 14 experts from the US and Europe.
They analysed data from the Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona from their base at the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland.