Captured in photos: Second interstellar object ever observed in our solar system

19 Septembre, 2019, 14:19 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Captured in photos: Second interstellar object ever observed in our solar system

So an asteroid? Later examinations confirmed there was light out-gassing from 'Oumuamua, so astronomers decided it was actually a very old comet. And it's nearly certainly a comet.

The image of the comet had to be quickly snapped, as Andrew Stephens of the Gemini Observatory who coordinated the observations said: "This image was possible because of Gemini's ability to rapidly adjust observations and observe objects like this, which have very short windows of visibility". The blurry blue and red lines are images of background stars. As of now, C/2019 Q4 is inbound towards the Sun.

"C/2019 Q4 is destined for an unprecedented observing campaign lasting many months that will allow us to gain sensational insights into the physical properties of interstellar comets and extrasolar planetary systems in general", Dr. Guzik and colleagues said.

Gemini North (foreground) and the Canada-France-Hawai'i Telescope domes in the pre-dawn twilight, with the Milky Way arching overhead near the summit of Mauna Kea.

Borisov's comet will pass the Earth at a speed of 43 km per second - and, if we are to catch up with it, we would have to have a spacecraft well on the way by November 11 or so, and, once we reach low orbit, accelerate by 41 km per second to reach the velocity of 48.7 km per second.

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Cosmologists will require much more perceptions before they can be sure giving the comet that title, however early information about the item appears to be encouraging. If C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) turns out to be indeed an interstellar object, its discovery shortly after the discovery of 1I/'Oumuamua implies that the next interstellar object might be discovered in the near future.

With more observations of C/2019 Q4, scientists have worked out the shape of its orbit. "The excessive-velocity signifies not exclusively that the article possible originated from outdoors our photovoltaic system, but added that it's going to depart and head again to the interstellar house".

If the measure of eccentricity is smaller than 1, Hainaut said, that indicates an object from within our solar system. The researchers behind the Gemini observations say their data shows an eccentricity of at least 3.

Researchers had limited opportunity to study Oumuamua, the solar system's first known interstellar visitor, because it was only detected when it was already on its way out of the solar system. For this trajectory, a Falcon Heavy launcher could have hauled a 2 ton spacecraft to C/2019 Q4 (Borisov). That led some to argue that it may have been alien in origin, though that's highly unlikely.

The comet is named C/2019 Q4, or Borisov Comet, and is a newly discovered interstellar comet. It's additionally going extraordinarily quick - round 93,000mph - which is quicker than any object from the outer edges of our photo voltaic system can be travelling.

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