First identified comet to visit our solar system from another star

14 Décembre, 2019, 08:10 | Auteur: Therese Cote

The NASA/ESA Hubble Area Telescope has beamed again some actually unimaginable pictures of comet 2I/Borisov, one of many quickest comets ever seen and exclusively the second interstellar object to move by means of our photo voltaic system (that we all know of).

The Hubble Space Telescope has seen an interstellar comet whizz past the sun at an incredible speed.

The image below is of the comet's closest approach to the Sun, 298 million km from Earth, while its closest approach to Earth will take place in late December at a distance of roughly 290 million kilometres (close being a relative term when discussing interstellar objects). Hubble revealed that the comet's heart, a loose agglomeration of ice cream and dust particles, is probably no more than approximately 3,200 feet wide, approximately the length of nine football fields.

The comet appears in front of a distant background spiral galaxy (2MASX J10500165-0152029). The bright central core of the galaxy is stained in the image because Hubble was tracking the comet. Its tail of ejected dust streaks off to the upper right. The comet has been artificially colored blue to discriminate the small details in the halo of dust or coma surrounding the central nucleus. The comet also reached an impressive top speed of approximately 100,000 miles per hour. The comet Borisov is 185 million miles from Earth in this photo, near the inner edge of the asteroid belt but below it. The bright central part is a comma composed of dust that leaves the surface. On Sunday, the comet passed within 190 million miles of Earth on its closest approach before continuing on through our solar system.

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"Surprisingly, our Hubble images show that its nucleus is more than 15 times smaller than earlier investigations suggested it might be".

Realizing the scale of the interstellar object will assist scientists decide what number of extra comets prefer it may be on the market within the frozen void of house, each in our personal photo voltaic system and elsewhere within the Milky Means. "Borisov is the first known interstellar comet, and we would like to know how many others there are". After a week of observations by amateur and professional astronomers all over the world, the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center computed an orbit for the comet which showed that it came from interstellar space.

Comets are icy bodies thought to be fragments left behind when planets form in the outer parts of planetary systems. By mid-2020, the comet will have already passed Jupiter's distance of 500 million miles on its way back to the icy abyss of interstellar space.

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