In October 2017, the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii discovered a strange, spaceship-shaped object that traverses the solar system. Later, & # 39; Oumuamua & # 39; It became the subject of speculation as to whether it really was an extraterrestrial spaceship, but was eventually declared by scientists to be an interstellar object – the first known visitor to the solar system.
Now it seems that a second interstellar object is visiting. On August 30, the MARGO Observatory in the Crimea discovered a comet, which, astronomers believe, is probably from outside the solar system, although official confirmation has not yet been received.
The comet was designated C / 2019 Q4 (Borisov). It is still in the direction of the sun. It will remain farther from Earth than Mars' orbit – it will approach Earth no closer than approximately 300 million kilometers, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said in a statement.
After the comets first discovered JPLs Scout The system automatically marked the object as potentially interstellar. Scientists from the NASA Near-Earth Object Studies Center at the JPL, the Near-Earth Object Coordination Center, and the NASA-sponsored Minor Planet Center in Massachusetts have estimated the comet's trajectory and determined whether it came from the Solar System or from this comes from elsewhere in the galaxy.
"The current velocity of the comet is high, at around 150,000 km / h, far above the typical speeds of objects orbiting the sun at that distance. The high speed not only indicates that the object is likely from outside our solar system, but also that it will leave interstellar space and return, "said David Farnocchia from the NASA Center for Near-Earth Object Studies in the JPL statement.
] As of Thursday, the comet was 420 million km from the sun. It goes in the direction of the inner solar system. On October 26, it traverses the ecliptic plane – the plane where the Earth and the other planets orbit the Sun – from above at an angle of approximately 40 °. The comet will reach its next-to-earth point, the perihelion, on December 8th.
C / 2019 Q4 can be observed with professional telescopes for the coming months. "The object will be bright in mid-December and can continue to be observed with mid-size telescopes until April 2020. Thereafter, it will only be observable with larger professional telescopes until October 2020," said Farnocchia.