The second interstellar comet detected in our solar system now has an official name. Meet 2I / Borisov, the newest object to zoom in on our cosmic neighborhood somewhere very far away.
The object that was previously called C / 2019 Q4 was given its name on Tuesday by the International Astronomical Union, the organization that officially mentions almost everything in the universe that is not on Earth. The 2I refers to the fact that researchers are now convinced that this is the second interstellar object ever discovered in our solar system.
Researchers have been following the object since it was discovered on August 30 by an amateur astronomer in Crimea called Gennady Borisov. And that is where the second part of the name of this object comes – the Borisov object followed through its self-made telescope of 0.65 meters looked like a comet, with a characteristic haze or "coma". Comets, unlike asteroids, moons or others space functions, are usually named after their discoverer, so this comet has the full designation 2I / Borisov.
The only other known interstellar object is called 1I / um Oumuamua, which was initially called thought to be a comet, then an asteroid when it was first discovered in 2017. Asteroids are usually mentioned through the people they discover instead of after them, so the team that found it in Hawaii decided it & # 39; Oumuamua & # 39; a Hawaiian name that & # 39; a messenger from afar arrives first & # 39; meant. Later observations indicated that it could still be a comet, but by then the name had lingered.
2I / Borisov is certainly a comet, with a short tail already visible to astronomers. The comet, estimated to be a few miles wide, will be closest to the sun on December 7, 2019, before it returns from the solar system. That gives astronomers a generous amount of time to follow this interstellar visitor and hopefully learn more about where it comes from and what it is made of, before it disappears forever.