An uncommon object entered our solar system last month, and now astronomers have confirmed it’s the second interstellar comet ever detected. It was given the title “2I/Borisov” on Tuesday; however, researchers don’t know where it came from.
Ukrainian amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov spotted the object from the MARGO observatory in Crimea On August 30, temporarily naming it C/2019 Q4. The comet was found with a 0.65-meter telescope, constructed by Borisov.
Amateur and professional astronomers all around the world helped the IAU verify details about the object. Observations from the group reported it has an extremely hyperbolic orbit which means it is moving too fast to orbit the sun confirming its origin as interstellar.
Its visibly short tail, as well as “fuzzy” appearance, confirm its status as a comet. Astronomers at the University of Hawaii estimate it to be between 1.2 and 10 miles throughout and will be closest to the sun on December 7.
The comet is still headed towards Earth; however, we don’t need to worry about it colliding it will not get any closer than 190 million miles, based on NASA’s JPL. Scientists will spend the next few months studying the comet before it returns to the vastness of space.
Astronomers weren’t given that essential time to study the first-ever interstellar object, 1I/’Oumuamua, when it was found leaving our solar system in 2017. Now both amateur and professional astronomers hope to further pinpoint the size, rotation, and trajectory of 2I/Borisov before it is gone forever.