JPL: Newly Discovered Comet Is Likely Interstellar Visitor

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JPL: Newly Discovered Comet Is Likely Interstellar Visitor

Post by bystander » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:56 pm

Newly Discovered Comet Is Likely Interstellar Visitor
NASA | JPL-Caltech | 2019 Sep 13
A newly discovered comet has excited the astronomical community this week because it appears to have originated from outside the solar system. The object - designated C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) - was discovered on Aug. 30, 2019, by Gennady Borisov at the MARGO observatory in Nauchnij, Crimea. The official confirmation that comet C/2019 Q4 is an interstellar comet has not yet been made, but if it is interstellar, it would be only the second such object detected. The first, 'Oumuamua, was observed and confirmed in October 2017.

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. ...
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Gemini Captures Multicolor Image of First Interstellar Comet

Post by bystander » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:43 pm

Gemini Observatory Captures Multicolor Image of First Interstellar Comet
Gemini Observatory | 2019 Sep 13
The first-ever comet from beyond our Solar System has been successfully imaged by the Gemini Observatory in multiple colors. The image of the newly discovered object, denoted C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), was obtained on the night of 9-10 September using the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) on the Gemini North Telescope on Hawaii’s Maunakea.

“This image was possible because of Gemini’s ability to rapidly adjust observations and observe objects like this, which have very short windows of visibility,” said Andrew Stephens of Gemini Observatory who coordinated the observations. “However, we really had to scramble for this one since we got the final details at 3:00 am and were observing it by 4:45!”

The image shows a very pronounced tail, indicative of outgassing, which is what defines a cometary object. This is the first time an interstellar visitor to our Solar System has clearly shown a tail due to outgassing. The only other interstellar visitor studied in our Solar System was ‘Oumuamua which was a very elongated asteroid-like object with no obvious outgassing.

The Gemini observations used for this image were obtained in two color bands (filters) and combined to produce a color image. The observations were obtained as part of a target of opportunity program led by Piotr Guzik and Michal Drahus at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland). ...

Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov ~ Piotr Guzik et al
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor