For the second time in history, astronomers have confirmed seeing an interstellar visitor speeding through our solar system. But unlike was the case with ‘Oumuamua back in 2017, astronomers now think they know where Interstellar object 2I/Borisov came from.
The new interstellar object was spotted by Gennady Borisov, an amateur astronomer who using his personal telescope spotted the interstellar visitor on August 30, 2019.
Now, astronomer shave confirmed its interstellar origin, and have found out what it is: an interstellar comet.
Now, astronomers have obtained more information about 2I/Borisov. Polish astronomers have managed to calculate the path the interstellar object too to arrive in our comic neighborhood. They say that 2I/Borisov originated from a binary red dwarf system located around 13 light-years away, and known in the astronomical community as Kruger 60.
If we were to trace back the trajectory traveled by the interstellar comet, we would discover that around one million years ago, 2I/Borisov passed within 5.7 light-years away from the center of Kruger 60, moving no more than 2.13 miles per second, the Polish researchers wrote. Although this may seem really slow, its actually close enough to the top speed the fastest aircraft humans have ever built can achieve.
Therefore, based on its speed and trajectory, the Polish astronomers concluded that if the come was really moving that slow, at such a close distance to the center of Kruger 60, its very likely that it wasn’0t just passing by it, but was probably where the comet initially originated from.
For their research paper, available at the preprint server arXiv, the Polish scientists took an orbit obtained by the Japanese astronomer Shuichi Nakano, and numerically integrated the movement of the interstellar comet, the Sun and 647 star systems from their list of possible stars where the comet originated from.
Comet 2I/Borisov is currently heading towards our sun, which means that it will probably stay a long time in our solar system, long enough for our telescope to get a better look at it. Initial studies have revealed that 2I/Borisov is really ordinary and looks a lot like our solar system’s very own comets, having a reddish, carbon-rich surface.
In addition to that, astronomer shave found that 2I/Borisov also resembles our solar system’s comets in terms of composition. A study published in September of 2019 indicates that the interstellar comet jettisons around 170 grams of cyanide ever second as it approaches the sun, and the sunlight warms the comet’s frozen surface.
The fat that cyanide jettisons is no surprise to astronomers, as it is one of the first things scientists detected in our solar system’s comets. We’ve also got some early indicators about the site of the cometary nucleus, surrounded by the comet’s halo of gas and dust. According to scientists, the comet’s core is no more than five miles wide and could be as small as half-a-mile wide.
The fact that we know so much already about 2I/Borisov makes interstellar object ‘Oumuamua even stranger. Although ‘Oumuamua is thought to be also a comet, it does not display any of the characteristics that 2I/Borisov is showing.