interstellar object (ISO)
Fr.: objet interstellaire
A body other than a → star or → substellar object located in → interstellar space and not → gravitationally bound to a star. Its → hyperbolic orbit would indicate an object not bound to the Sun. The first known ISO is → 1I/'Oumuamua. ISOs are icy → planetesimals that are expected to behave like the → long-period comets of the solar system; volatile ices sublimate when the ISO approaches the Sun, developing a → coma and a → dust tail -- features that should make them bright and therefore easy to spot. The rocky ISOs, on the other hand, only reflect sunlight. As their → albedo is expected to be extremely low they become dark (after eons of bombardment by high-energy cosmic rays), they would be extremely faint and hard to detect (Hainaut et al., 2018, The Messenger 173, 13).