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Have astronomers just discovered another interstellar object?



The Milky Way.
Photo: Ryan F. Mandelbaum

An amateur astronomer may have discovered an object from outside our solar system after announcing the Minor Planet Center.

Astronomers saw 2017 the first known interstellar object called & # 39; oumuamua & # 39 ;. His hyperbolic orbit indicated that it had arrived from afar and would not return. There was a lot of speculation about what the object might be, speculation, which of course included extraterrestrials. The newly discovered object would be the second such interstellar visitor – but much more is being observed.

An amateur astronomer named Gennady Borisov discovered the object for the first time on 30 August with a telescope he had built himself. Other observations (and hype) have followed. The Minor Planet Center at the Center for Astrophysics today released an official circular on this property, tentatively named C / 2019 Q4 (Borisov). When scientists confirm its interstellar nature, it gets a new name that starts with 2I and designates it as a second interstellar object.

With further observations of the object, scientists have begun to calculate the shape of its orbit. These calculations seem to reveal that the trajectory has a hyperbolic shape – not the elliptical shape that marks the orbits of things orbiting the sun. The trajectory indicates that the object eventually leaves the solar system and does not return.

The astronomer Michele Bannister from the Astrophysics Research Center of the Queen's University tweeted that other objects were initially hyperbolic only [19659005] "Further observations are clearly very desirable," says the MPC circular.

Matthew Holman, director of the MPC, told Gizmodo that the object is in the sky when viewed from the earth near the sun, making it difficult to observe, and astronomers need to be careful about which ones Effects the atmosphere might have on observations.

Interstellar objects are exciting, as they may contain information about what something else looks like in the galaxy. The first interstellar visitor. "Oumuamua. brought a lot of excitement; for some, his strange, cigar-like form seemed almost impossible. This new object will certainly bring with it its own hype and speculation (and certainly more of extraterrestrials). But it's especially exciting because astronomers can make comparisons between him and Oumuamua. Initial observations already show that the object is an active comet with a large temporary atmosphere or a coma, Holman said.

"Without an unexpected fading or disintegration, this object should be observable for at least a year," the newsletter said. We look forward to learning more about this potential visitor over the coming months.


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