The second ever known interstellar object that visited our solar system – Comet 2I / Borisov – came from a two-star system that was 13 light-years away, experts found.
The interstellar visitor was first identified by Crimean-based amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov, who saw the comet with a telescope on 30 August.
The comet – identified as such by its characteristic dust and gas cloud – has a diameter of 0.9 – 4.1 miles (1.4 – 6.6 km) and began its journey a million years ago.
It will make its closest pass to the sun on December 8, 2019 – but does not come close to the planets of the solar system.
2I / Borisov is the second known visitor from outside our solar system and joins the cigar-shaped asteroid 1I / & Oumuamua, which was detected on October 19, 2017.
However, unlike 2I / Borisov, astronomers could not determine exactly where 1I / & # 39; Oumuamua came from.
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The second ever known interstellar object to visit our solar system – the comet 2I / Borisov, pictured – came from a two-star system 13 light-years away, experts found
WHAT IS 2I / BORISOV?
2I / Borisov is a comet that came from outside the solar system.
It is believed to have a core with a diameter of approximately 0.9 – 4.1 miles (1.4 – 6.6 kilometers).
The comet was spotted by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov of the MARGOT Crimea Observatory on August 30, 2019.
It will make its closest pass to the sun on December 8, 2019 – but does not come close to one of the planets in the solar system.
2I / Borisov leaves the solar system in the direction of the Telescopium constellation.
According to Polish researchers, it probably comes from the binary red dwarf galaxy Kruger 60.
The comet is only the second interstellar visit that has been seen.
The first was the cigar-shaped asteroid 1I / & # 39; Oumuamua, discovered on October 19, 2017.
Astronomer Piotr Dybczyński from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, and colleagues extrapolated the course that 2I / Borisov probably followed before it arrived in our solar system.
The projected trajectory passes a binary red dwarf star system that scientists call Kruger 60, which is 13.15 light-years off Earth.
When 2I / Borisov traversed that system about a million years ago, it passed within only 5.7 light years from the center of Kruger 60.
When it did this, it would have been moved at just 2.13 miles per second (3.43 kilometers per second).
According to the researchers, this relatively low speed and proximity to the binary star system suggests that the comet probably originated from there, rather than having just passed Kruger 60 from elsewhere in the cosmos.
& # 39; If you have an interstellar comet and you want to know where it comes from, you want to check two things & # 39 ;, said Comet expert Ye Quanzhi of the University of Maryland, who was not involved in the current study, Live science.
& # 39; First, has this comet been a short step away from a planetary system? Because if it comes from there, then its trajectory must cross with the location of that system. & # 39;
2I / Borisov & # 39; s 5.7 light-year clearance with Kruger 60 counts for such reasons – even though it is nearly 357,000 times greater than the separation between the earth and the sun – Dr. Ye.
& # 39; Second, comets are usually ejected from a planetary system due to gravity interactions with large planets in that system, & # 39; he added.
2I / Borisov & # 39; s projected trajectory passes a binary red dwarf galaxy (pictured here with the comet) that scientists call Kruger 60, which is 13.15 light-years off Earth
At one point, 2I / Borisov would have revolved around the twin stars of Kruger 60, just like comets in orbit around the sun in our system – until the influence of another planet hit him into space
& # 39; This emission speed has a limit. It cannot be infinite because planets have a certain mass, & Dr. 39 said. Ye, and noted that the mass of a planet determines how hard a comet can eject interstellar space.
& # 39; Jupiter is pretty massive, but you can't have a planet 100 times as massive as Jupiter, because then it would be a star. & # 39;
The interstellar visitor was first identified by Crimean-based amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov, who saw the comet with a telescope on 30 August. In the photo the orbits of comet 2I / Borisov and 1I / & # 39; Oumuamua as they passed through the solar system
For astronomers, the attractiveness of investigating interstellar visitors such as 2I / Borisov and 1I / & Oumuamua will be able to study pieces of solar systems that go much further than ours in much more detail than would otherwise be possible.
Everything scientists learn about Comet 2I / Borisov, for example, has the potential to shine light on the makeup of its home star system Kruger 60.
A pre-print of the article, which has not yet been assessed by peers, can be read on the arXiv repository.
For astronomers, the appeal of researching interstellar visitors such as 2I / Borisov and 1I / & Oumuamua, depicted in this artist's impression, has the potential to study pieces of solar systems that go far beyond ours in much more detail than would otherwise be possible
WHAT IS & # 39; OUMUAMUA AND WHAT DO WE KNOW?
A cigar-shaped asteroid called & Oumuamua sailed the earth in October at 97,200 km / h (156,428 km / h).
It was first observed by a telescope on October 19 in Hawaii and was observed 34 times the following week.
It is named after the Hawaiian term for & # 39; explorer & # 39; or & # 39; messenger & # 39; and passed the earth about 85 times the distance from the moon.
It was the first interstellar object in the solar system and astounded astronomers.
At first it was thought that the object could be a comet.
However, it does not exhibit the traditional behavior expected from comets, such as a dusty, water ice particle tail.
The asteroid is up to a quarter of a mile (400 meters) long and very elongated – maybe 10 times as long as it is wide.
That aspect ratio is greater than that of any asteroid or asteroid that has been observed in our solar system so far.
But the somewhat red tint of the asteroid – specifically pale pink – and the varying brightness are remarkably similar to objects in our own solar system.
Around the size of the Gherkin skyscraper in London, some astronomers were convinced that it was controlled by aliens because of the large distance the object traveled without being destroyed – and the proximity of its journey across the earth.
Alien Hunters at SETI – The search for alien intelligence at Berkeley University in California said there was a possibility that the rock was "an alien artifact."
But scientists at Queen & # 39; s University Belfast have looked at the object well and said it looks like an asteroid or "planetesimal," as originally thought.
Researchers believe the cigar-shaped asteroid has a & # 39; violent past & # 39; had, after looking at the light reflected from the surface.
They don't know exactly when the violent collision occurred, but they believe that the lone asteroid tumbling will continue for at least a billion years.
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