Home / Science / First glimpses of interstellar comets suggest it's not that different

First glimpses of interstellar comets suggest it's not that different

Astronomers hurry to investigate the seemingly first known interstellar comet – and in some of the earliest observations, they seem strangely familiar.

The object currently referred to as Comet C / 2019 Q4 was spotted for the first time on August 30. Observations on his way indicate that the comet is roaming our neighborhood on a one-way street and is not in orbit typical of objects born in our own solar system. This would be the second confirmed interstellar object after Oumuamua, which was discovered in 2017. But the scientists could not read exactly what Oumuamua was made of. However, with this object, they can obtain such measurements by measuring the light signature of the sphere surrounding the comet . Some of the first of these spectra for C / 201

9 Q4 are in and they look quite similar to the spectra of a class of objects in our solar system. This suggests that these objects and the interstellar visitor are more or less the same material.

Related: Interstellar Comet: Here's why scientists are so cranked up

Comets in other planetary systems may be similar to those of the solar system, "said Javier Licandro, an astronomer Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, in a statement . "They may have formed through processes similar to those that led to the formation of the Oort cloud comets in the solar system."

The Oort-Cloud is the spherical shell of ice bodies enveloping our solar system at great distances from the Sun.We see comets as they are thrown out of the Oort cloud, moving closer to the heart of our solar system typical fuzzy tails when the sun's radiation vaporizes the more volatile components of the comet.

Observations of Comet C / 2019 Q4 versus average data for a class of Solar System objects.

[Photo: IAC]

Scientists have discovered comets that collide with other solar systems before but the objects are difficult to study over such great distances. While Oumuamua was definitely interstellar, it did not carry the telltale comet blur . The newly discovered object makes it, and that's what Licandro and colleagues from the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics were able to investigate.

The team used a telescope in the Canary Islands to depict the comet on September 12 and used an installed instrument to collect three spectra as well. Initial analyzes of these spectra suggest that they somewhat agree with those of a particular set of Solar System objects . This could mean that the solar system from which the object comes follows a recipe quite similar to that of our own solar system and its comets.

And scientists have plenty of time to gather the many observations they need to better understand what is happening. The comet exists and where it comes from. Unlike the discovery of Oumuamua, astronomers believe they have one more year left to observe the comet from Earth.

E-mail Meghan Bartels at [email protected] or follow her @meghanbartels [19659016]. Follow us on Twitter @SpaceTotcom and on Facebook .

Source link