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C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor

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C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor
« on: September 14, 2019, 11:02:49 AM »
The speed of this object and angle of its trajectory seem to indicate that it isn't part of our solar system.

"A Second Interstellar Object May Be Streaking through Our Solar System" | Scientific American

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By most estimates, our galaxy is a bustling place. Given its hundreds of billions of stars—each accompanied by whirling planets, asteroids, comets, and more—one would expect objects to occasionally be flung into interstellar space. The first of them was found in 2017: officially called 1I/2017 U1 but better known as ‘Oumuamua, it was discovered by chance as it swooped past our sun on an outbound trajectory that rapidly took it beyond the reach of Earth’s best telescopes. Now astronomers think they have found another outcast wandering the space between the stars. But this time, it may linger slightly longer, offering unprecedented scientific opportunities.

The object was originally labelled gb00234 but has now been provisionally designated C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution. It was discovered on August 30 by Gennady Borisov, using a homemade telescope in Crimea. Borisov, an amateur astronomer, is one of many hobbyists who scour the skies for undiscovered comets orbiting the sun in our solar system.

“Half a year ago, I made a new telescope. And with the help of it, I discovered this unique comet,” Borisov says. “I was excited about the comet. And of course, I was very surprised by the uniqueness. I would be glad if such an interesting space object gets my name.”

[Continues . . .]




"Newly discovered comet is likely interstellar visitor" | ScienceDaily

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Comet C/2019 Q4 as imaged by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on
Hawaii's Big Island on Sept. 10, 2019.
Image Credit: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope




The new comet, C/2019 Q4, is still inbound toward the Sun, but it will remain farther than the orbit of Mars and will approach no closer to Earth than about 190 million miles (300 million kilometers).

After the initial detections of the comet, Scout system, which is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, automatically flagged the object as possibly being interstellar. Davide Farnocchia of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at JPL worked with astronomers and the European Space Agency's Near-Earth Object Coordination Center in Frascati, Italy, to obtain additional observations. He then worked with the NASA-sponsored Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to estimate the comet's precise trajectory and determine whether it originated within our solar system or came from elsewhere in the galaxy.

The comet is currently 260 million miles (420 million kilometers) from the Sun and will reach its closest point, or perihelion, on Dec. 8, 2019, at a distance of about 190 million miles (300 million kilometers).

"The comet's current velocity is high, about 93,000 mph [150,000 kph], which is well above the typical velocities of objects orbiting the Sun at that distance," said Farnocchia. "The high velocity indicates not only that the object likely originated from outside our solar system, but also that it will leave and head back to interstellar space."

[Continues . . .]
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Tank

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Re: C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2019, 12:12:58 PM »
Squeeee!
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“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

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Re: C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2019, 01:50:18 PM »
JPL has a cool animation showing the comet's speed and steep approach from outside the plane of the ecliptic:

JPL Small-Body Database Browser: C/2019 Q4 (Borisov)
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
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Re: C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2019, 11:58:35 PM »
"Interstellar comet Borisov looks ordinary, making Oumuamua even weirder" | c|net

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One of the first profiles of interstellar comet Borisov has been published, and it looks about the same as most other comets. What it doesn't look like is the first interstellar object, Oumuamua, which made its closest pass by Earth exactly two years ago today.

A paper published Monday in Nature Astronomy lays out the early data on Borisov, which is just the second-ever object seen visiting our solar system from beyond. While scientists will get a better look as the comet comes closer to Earth over the next several weeks, so far it looks to be the same color and size as most ordinary comets. Earlier research also revealed it's behaving in familiar ways with a tail containing some of the same toxic gases we expect from intrastellar comets.

[Continues . . .]

Bonus GIF comparing the paths of Borisov and Oumuamua. Taken from here. You can play around with the view, etc. at that link.

"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


No one

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Re: C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2019, 01:11:18 AM »
Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation
Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation
Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation

We have assumed control.
We have assumed control.
We have assumed control.

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Re: C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2019, 07:15:17 PM »
More on Borisov (now listed as 2I/Borisov, which I assume denotes "2nd interstellar object" or something along those lines).

"First identified comet to visit our solar system from another star" | ScienceDaily

Quote

Comet 2I/Borisov is only the second interstellar object known to have passed through
the solar system. These two images, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, capture
the comet appearing near a background galaxy (left) and soon after its closest approach
to the Sun (right).
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (UCLA)




Comet 2I/Borisov is a mysterious visitor from the depths of space -- the first identified comet to arrive here from another star. Hubble images capture the comet streaking though our solar system and on its way back to interstellar space. It's only the second interstellar object known to have passed through the solar system.

When astronomers see something in the universe that at first glance seems like one-of-a-kind, it's bound to stir up a lot of excitement and attention. Enter comet 2I/Borisov. This mysterious visitor from the depths of space is the first identified comet to arrive here from another star. We don't know from where or when the comet started heading toward our Sun, but it won't hang around for long. The Sun's gravity is slightly deflecting its trajectory, but can't capture it because of the shape of its orbit and high velocity of about 100,000 miles per hour.

Telescopes around the world have been watching the fleeting visitor. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has provided the sharpest views as the comet skirts by our Sun. Since October the space telescope has been following the comet like a sports photographer following horses speeding around a racetrack. Hubble revealed that the heart of the comet, a loose agglomeration of ices and dust particles, is likely no more than about 3,200 feet across, about the length of nine football fields. Though comet Borisov is the first of its kind, no doubt there are many other comet vagabonds out there, plying the space between stars. Astronomers will eagerly be on the lookout for the next mysterious visitor from far beyond.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Tank

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Re: C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2019, 07:29:32 PM »
What a time to be alive!
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

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Re: C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2020, 08:40:09 PM »
Update, a bit late:

"Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov Really Is Breaking Apart, According to New Data" | ScienceAlert

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Welp, that's clinched it. It seems like it really is the end of the road for 2I/Borisov, a comet that travelled light-years across space before winding up in the Solar System. New data show that the comet is coming apart.

The most recent Hubble observations of the comet suggest that the comet has broken into at least two pieces, according to a notice posted to Astronomer's Telegram.

"Images from UT 2020 March 23 show a single inner brightness core, like that observed in all previous HST images of 2I/Borisov," wrote a team of astronomers led by David Jewitt of the University of California Los Angeles.

"In contrast, images from UT 2020 March 30 show a clearly non-stellar core, consistent with two unresolved components separated by 0.1 arcsecond (180 km at the distance of the comet) and aligned with the main axis of the larger dust coma."

This is not at all an unexpected turn of events. Astronomers have been avidly watching the comet following its closest approach to the Sun, or perihelion, on 8 December 2019.

It's pretty normal for comets to break up as they reach and pass perihelion. What we think happens has to do with outgassing, due to the sublimation of cometary ices as they are heated by the Sun. This is thought to spin up the comet's nucleus, causing it to fragment under centripetal instability.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Dark Lightning

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Re: C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2020, 11:08:39 PM »
I read elsewhere that this comet contains a lot of carbon monoxide, based on its spectrum. This means that it formed in a very cold environment, so when heated by the sun on its way into the solar system, it's no surprise that it is coming apart.

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/interstellar-comet-borisov-has-lots-carbon-monoxide
This chisel type is called a "skew". I ask you, do I seem a little askew?

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Re: C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2020, 02:35:14 AM »
I do not wish to derail this perfectly good thread but here is an aside that might be of interest.  You can get a free app for your I phone called Skyview.  That app lets you use your phone to locate and name a gazillion stars, planets and astrological shapes with its stars identified and named.  For an additional $4.99 you can get Skyview Plus along with identities of the god awful number of satellites and their names. 

You can find Hubble, the Space station, planets, gas clusters, and all sorts of spectacular things.  While playing with the app this afternoon, I spotted and identified several junk rocket bodies, complete with launch dates, that are in orbit. 

I do not know whether the app can track asteroids but it might be able to do that. The app works day or night, indoors or outdoors.  Best $4.99 I have spent in a long time.

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Re: C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2020, 02:51:20 AM »
Cool. There's also Stellarium for computers. Includes many satellites, but probably doesn't track things like interstellar comets.

"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


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Re: C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): Possibly Another Interstellar Visitor
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2020, 03:01:03 AM »
I read elsewhere that this comet contains a lot of carbon monoxide, based on its spectrum. This means that it formed in a very cold environment, so when heated by the sun on its way into the solar system, it's no surprise that it is coming apart.

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/interstellar-comet-borisov-has-lots-carbon-monoxide

Really an intriguing aspect of this visitor. Thank you, Dark Lightning. I wonder what would life be like in a star system with a superabundance of carbon (compared to this system, anyway).
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken