HUBBLE SNAPS THE BEST CLOSE-UPS YET OF SPEEDY VISITOR FROM THE STARS
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. Hubble 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.
Hubble observes new Interstellar Visitor [HEIC1918]
October 17, 2019
On 12 October 2019, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope provided astronomers with their best look yet at an interstellar visitor – Comet 2I/Borisov – which is believed to have arrived here from another planetary system elsewhere in our galaxy.
Comets orbital elements
September 27, 2019
Thanks to Gideon Van Buitenen we can now access updated comet orbital elements for planetarium programs.
Naming of new interstellar visitor: 2I/Borisov
September 27, 2019
A new object from interstellar space has been found within the Solar System, only the second such discovery of its kind. Astronomers are turning their telescopes towards the visitor, which offers a tantalising glimpse beyond our Solar System and raises some puzzling questions. The object has been given the name 2I/Borisov by the IAU.
Astronomers May Have Found an Interstellar Comet. Here's Why That Matters.
September 14, 2019
It’s looking likely that a newly discovered comet is actually an interstellar interloper from beyond our solar system. Since its discovery on 30 August, more and more measurements of C/2019 Q4 (Borisov)—named after the amateur astronomer from Crimea who found it—indicate it isn’t orbiting our Sun. Even NASA now says the comet’s extrasolar origin is promising.
September 14, 2019
Astronomers have spotted an object that looks likely to be a very rare visitor from outside our Solar System. If confirmed, this unusual body would be only the second interstellar object ever detected passing through our neighbourhood.
Newly discovered comet is likely interstellar visitor
September 13, 2019
A newly discovered comet has excited the astronomical community this week because it appears to have originated from outside the solar system. 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.
A possible interstellar comet
September 12, 2019
A new comet just discovered by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov is rocketing through the solar system too fast for the sun's gravity to hang onto it. Indeed, it appears to be a visitor from the stars. Interstellar Comet Borisov will make its closest approach to the sun and to Earth in Dec. 2019.
An Unexpected Companion
August 14, 2019
Last week marked five years since ESA’s Rosetta probe arrived at its target, a comet named 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (or 67P/C-G). Tomorrow, 13 August, it will be four years since the comet, escorted by Rosetta, reached its perihelion – the closest point to the Sun along its orbit.
'Oumuamua is not an alien spacecraft. New analysis suggests a natural origin for our first interstellar visitor.
July 02, 2019
Early reports of the interstellar visitor 'Oumuamua's odd characteristics led some to speculate that the object could be an alien spacecraft, sent from a distant civilization to examine our star system. But a new analysis by an international team of 14 astronomers strongly suggests that 'Oumuamua has a purely natural origin.
ESA to Launch Comet Interceptor Mission in 2028
June 22, 2019
With Comet Interceptor, ESA plans to meet a comet on its first trip into the inner solar system. The mission was selected Wednesday after a fast-track proposal process and will be developed on a rapid (for ESA) timeline, with a launch planned for 2028. Congratulations to the Comet Interceptor team on their selection!
ESA's new mission to intercept a Comet
June 20, 2019
'Comet Interceptor' has been selected as ESA's new fast-class mission in its Cosmic Vision Programme. Comprising three spacecraft, it will be the first to visit a truly pristine comet or other interstellar object that is only just starting its journey into the inner Solar System.
Comet inspires chemistry for making breathable oxygen on Mars
May 30, 2019
Researchers have demonstrated a new reaction for generating oxygen that could help humans explore the universe and perhaps even fight climate change at home.
Comet Provides New Clues to Origins of Earth's Oceans
May 25, 2019
The mystery of why Earth has so much water, allowing our "blue marble" to support an astounding array of life, is clearer with new research into comets. Comets are like snowballs of rock, dust, ice, and other frozen chemicals that vaporize as they get closer to the Sun, producing the tails seen in images. A new study reveals that the water in many comets may share a common origin with Earth's oceans, reinforcing the idea that comets played a key role in bringing water to our planet billions of years ago.
A family of comets reopens the debate about the origin of Earth's water
May 25, 2019
Researchers have found that one family of comets, the hyperactive comets, contains water similar to terrestrial water.
Three exocomets discovered around the star Beta Pictoris
May 23, 2019
Three extrasolar comets have been discovered around the star Beta Pictoris, 63 light years away, by the University of Innsbruck. Analysis of data from the current NASA mission TESS by Sebastian Zieba and Konstanze Zwintz from the Institute for Astro- and Particle Physics, together with colleagues from Leiden University and the University of Warwick has revealed the extrasolar objects.
New Comet C/2019 J1 (Lemmon)
May 15, 2019
CBET 4625 & MPEC 2019-J122, issued on 2019, May 12, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~17.5) in the course of the "Mt. Lemmon Survey" (G96), in images taken on 2019, May 04 with a 1.5-m reflector + 10K CCD. This object was reported as a comet by R. A. Kowalski and D. Rankin (G96, May 4). The new comet has been designated C/2019 J1 (Lemmon).
April 23, 2019
From a distance of five million kilometres to within 20 metres, ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft captured images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from all angles.
Tiny fragment of a comet found inside a meteorite
April 16, 2019
Astronomers have made a surprising discovery that gives clues to how solar system formed.
Comets & Asteroids - Summary for Jan & Feb 2019
April 02, 2019
During the 2-month period January through February 2019, 14 new comets were discovered. Moreover inner main-belt minor planet (6478) GAULT developed a lengthening tail or trail.