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Did astronomers notice another interstellar object?



The Milky Way.
Photo: Ryan F. Mandelbaum

An amateur astronomer may have discovered an object outside our solar system, according to a message from the Center for Small Planets.

Astronomers saw the first known interstellar object, called Oumaamua, in 2017. Its hyperbolic orbit indicates that it has arrived from afar and will not return. There followed tons of speculation as to what the object might be, speculation that of course involved aliens. The recently spotted site will be the second such interstellar visitor, but there are many more observers to come.

An amateur astronomer named Gennady Borisov first spotted the object on August 30 with the help of a telescope he built himself. Other observations (and over) followed. Today, the Center for Small Planets at the Center for Astrophysics launched an official circular on the site, provisionally called C / 2019 Q4 (Borisov). If scientists confirm its interstellar nature, it will receive a new name that begins with 2I, designating it as the second interstellar object.

With more observations of the object, scientists began to calculate the shape of its orbit. The calculations appear to show that the trajectory has a hyperbolic shape – not the elliptical shape that characterizes the orbits of things that orbit the sun. The trajectory suggests that the object will eventually leave the solar system and never return.

Astronomer Michelle Banister of the Astrophysics Research Center at Queen's University tweeted that in other objects were discovered only from the beginning. to be resolved into more typical orbits as more observations enter.

"Further observations are obviously very desirable," the MPC circular says.

Matthew Holman, MPC director, told Gizmodo that the object is close to the Sun in the sky when viewed from Earth, making it a challenge to watch, and astronomers should be alert to the potential effects the atmosphere can have. on any observations.

Interstellar objects are exciting because they most likely carry information about how they look elsewhere in the galaxy. The first interstellar visitor. "Oumuamua. Brought a lot of excitement; to some, its strange cigar-like shape seemed almost impossible. This new object will surely make its noise and speculation (and certainly more talk about aliens). But this is especially exciting because astronomers will may make comparisons between it and "Oumuamua. Initial observations have already revealed that the object is an active comet with a large temporary atmosphere or coma, said Holman.

" If there is no unexpected fading or decay, this object must be monitored for at least one year ", Circular row, look forward to learning more about this potential visitor in the coming months.


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