An interstellar object enters the Solar System

After the mystery of Oumuamua, a celestial body that could come from another star system has been re-identified. Its orbit is hyperbolic so everything indicates that it comes from somewhere in the Milky Way.

On August 30, Russian astronomer Guennadi Borisov detected this celestial body and cataloged it as a potential interstellar comet candidate. The trajectory of the orbit of this object indicates that its origin is outside the Solar System, although it has not yet been confirmed where it comes from.

These types of visits are characterized because interstellar comets or asteroids that enter the Solar System follow orbits that are very different from those of the objects inside.

The orbit of hyperbolic poses. Which indicates that the object comes from outside the Solar System, since the rest of the bodies that reside under the gravity of the Sun have almost circular orbits, such as planets, or ellipticals, such as comets and asteroids.

The comet has been named as c / 2019 Q4 (Borisov), in honor of the astronomer who saw it first. C / 2019 Q4 is a comet several kilometers in diameter and is active, that is, releasing gas and dust due to the sublimation of its ice under the effect of solar radiation.

Oumuamua J. OLMSTED AND F. SUMMERS, NASA, ESA
Oumuamua representation. Source: J. Olmsted and F. Summers, NASA, ESA.

Oumuamua, which was discovered about two years ago, was classified as the first asteroid with a different origin to our Solar System.

In October 2017, astronomers detected something never seen before: a 300-meter-long cigar object from beyond the Solar System that could not be classified as interstellar comet. Whatever it was, Oumuamua walked away and disappeared from our sight.

Astronomers around the world now direct their telescopes towards c / 2019 Q4 (Borisov) to try to discover if, indeed, it is an interstellar body. They will have time to do so since unless an unexpected disappearance or disintegration occurs, this object should be observable for at least one year.

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