Interstellar Comet With A Familiar Look

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 15, 2019

The second interstellar object ever spotted passing through the solar system is a comet that appears quite like those formed in our neighbourhood of the cosmos, providing fresh evidence that other planetary systems may be very similar to our own. Oumuamua was an asteroid rather than a comet, and it did not have a tail.

The second interstellar comet sighting has recently been made, only two years after 'Oumuamua was discovered. "This is important because many have speculated that interstellar space should be occupied mostly by comets", Michal Drahus, an astronomer at the Jagiellonian University in Poland and the lead author of the study told Gizmodo. Prompted by the earlier visit of "Oumuamua, they created a computer programme nicknamed "Interstellar Crusher" that scanned tirelessly through online data of newly-found comets and asteroids in search of guests from far away". The program emails the researchers when something looks promising, and the scientists later verified the interstellar orbit independently. 'This code was written specifically for this objective, and we really hoped to receive this message one day. A closer investigation into the object's orbit confirmed its exosolar origin, making it the second-known interstellar interloper.

A new paper published in Astrophysical Journal Letters reveals that interesting finding, which was made thanks to data gathered by an global team of scientists using the William Herschel Telescope. The photographs were obtained in two colour bands and provided the first astrophysically significant glimpse of the body. "This is really cool because it means that our new visitor is one of these mythical and never-before-seen 'real" interstellar comets".

The more detailed observations reveal that this alien comet, now called 2I/Borisov, is similar in color to our own solar system's comets, which are a little on the reddish side. "We immediately noticed the familiar coma and tail that were not seen around "Oumuamua", said Michał Drahus".

As it makes its closest approach to Earth, astronomers will point their telescopes to the sky to confirm whether this is, in fact, another interstellar comet. The team found that the comet is more normal than once thought, and is extremely similar to the comets that are now floating around our sun.

The new paper was published today (Oct. 14) in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The best is yet to come.

"The comet is still emerging from the sun's morning glare and growing in brightness", said one of the study's co-authors, Waclaw Waniak, in the statement.

The expert also said that it's pretty safe to say that research on this celestial body will transform planetary astronomy and the whole field in general.

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