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Thread: Another interstellar comet coming in?

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Another interstellar comet coming in?

    Interesting article on a comet with a hyperbolic orbit.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1908.02666

    Comet C/2018 V1 (Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto): dislodged from the Oort Cloud or coming from interstellar space?
    C. de la Fuente Marcos, R. de la Fuente Marcos (Submitted on 7 Aug 2019)

    The chance discovery of the first interstellar minor body, 1I/2017 U1 (`Oumuamua), indicates that we may have been visited by such objects in the past and that these events may repeat in the future. Unfortunately, minor bodies following nearly parabolic or hyperbolic paths tend to receive little attention: over 3/4 of those known have data-arcs shorter than 30 d and, consistently, rather uncertain orbit determinations. This fact suggests that we may have observed interstellar interlopers in the past, but failed to recognize them as such due to insufficient data. Early identification of promising candidates by using N-body simulations may help in improving this situation, triggering follow-up observations before they leave the Solar system. Here, we use this technique to investigate the pre- and post-perihelion dynamical evolution of the slightly hyperbolic comet C/2018 V1 (Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto) to understand its origin and relevance within the context of known parabolic and hyperbolic minor bodies. Based on the available data, our calculations suggest that although C/2018 V1 may be a former member of the Oort Cloud, an origin beyond the Solar system cannot be excluded. If extrasolar, it might have entered the Solar system from interstellar space at low relative velocity with respect to the Sun. The practical feasibility of this alternative scenario has been assessed within the kinematic context of the stellar neighbourhood of the Sun, using data from Gaia DR2, and two robust solar sibling candidates have been identified. Our results suggest that comets coming from interstellar space at low heliocentric velocities may not be rare.

  2. #2
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    It would be nice to see its trajectory on a map that shows the locations of our assets in space--just on a chance we can get pix.

  3. #3
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    A new candidate for the "interstellar" designation has been announced: see Astronomer's Telegram #13100:

    http://www.astronomerstelegram.org/?read=13100

    We need more observations to confirm its nature, but it is coming inward toward the Sun and the Earth, so it will become easier to see and measure over the next few months.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    It would be nice to see its trajectory on a map that shows the locations of our assets in space--just on a chance we can get pix.
    here you go: https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?ss...3639&orb=1#orb (edit: sorry wrong object that is the other possible interstellar object C/2019 Q4, C/2018 V1 is here: https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?ss...3590&orb=1#orb)



    The best place to observe anything from is usually Earth since that is where all the really good telescopes are. The only exception is space craft that are observing the body they are orbiting. In this case it looks like C/2019 Q4 will come closer to Mars than Earth by about a factor or two or so. The HiRISE camera is probably the best in Mars vicinity but it has an aperture of "only" 50 cm and lacks many instruments like spectrographs so Hubble and earth based telescopes will be able to gather much better data.

    ETA: For C/2018 V1 I don't think there is anything close with a decent camera.
    Last edited by glappkaeft; 2019-Sep-13 at 05:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glappkaeft View Post
    The best place to observe anything from is usually Earth since that is where all the really good telescopes are. The only exception is space craft that are observing the body they are orbiting. In this case it looks like C/2019 Q4 will come closer to Mars than Earth by about a factor or two or so. The HiRISE camera is probably the best in Mars vicinity but it has an aperture of "only" 50 cm and lacks many instruments like spectrographs so Hubble and earth based telescopes will be able to gather much better data.
    Just a nitpick, but if you are looking in the visible range, that's certainly true. But for observations at other wavelengths, like (relevant in this case) infrared, it's better to use a space-based telescope because of the absorption. I realize that you meant in the visible range, but other people might not be aware of that so I added it.
    As above, so below

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    I think they are counting Earth-orbiting telescopes as "Earth-based."

    The previous interloper was long and skinny like a rocket, let's hope this one isn't shaped like a saucer!

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    ....or change course during its approach.

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    Rama(s)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    I think they are counting Earth-orbiting telescopes as "Earth-based."

    The previous interloper was long and skinny like a rocket, let's hope this one isn't shaped like a saucer!
    Or is long and skinny, and is followed by a third similar object. In which case Arthur C. Clarke can be elevated to demi-god status.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    I think they are counting Earth-orbiting telescopes as "Earth-based."
    Right, I guess that makes sense. I was thinking of telescopes attached to the earth, but if itís orbiting I guess itís like being in a very tall, moving mountain.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    As above, so below

  10. #10
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    A couple of arxive papers:

    Interstellar comet 2I/Borisov

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.05851


    Sending a Spacecraft to Interstellar Comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov)

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.06348

    It appears to have a tail which can source non-gravitational accelerations. This is one difference from Oumuamua that did not show an evident tail.

  11. #11
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    It wasn't that long ago that Mars got buzzed by a comet.

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    More information from the The Planetary Society.

    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason...t-matters.html

    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.

    If confirmed, C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) would be the second-ever interstellar object we’ve seen pass through our solar system, following the discovery of 'Oumuamua in 2017. The new object, which sports a fuzzy coma in images, would also be the first definitive interstellar comet; 'Oumuamua looked like an asteroid and behaved a little like a comet.
    I am because we are
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  13. #13
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    It has a name now - "2I/Borisov"

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Na...risov_999.html

    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.

    On 30 August 2019 the amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov, from MARGO observatory, Crimea, discovered an object with a comet-like appearance. The object has a condensed coma, and more recently a short tail has been observed. Mr. Borisov made this discovery with a 0.65-metre telescope he built himself.

    After a week of observations by amateur and professional astronomers all over the world, the IAU Minor Planet Center was able to compute a preliminary orbit, which suggested this object was interstellar - only the second such object known to have passed through the Solar System.

    The orbit is now sufficiently well known, and the object is unambiguously interstellar in origin; it has received its final designation as the second interstellar object, 2I. In this case, the IAU has decided to follow the tradition of naming cometary objects after their discoverers, so the object has been named 2I/Borisov.
    I am because we are
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    "Astronomers detect gas molecules" in 2I/Borisov.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/As..._star_999.html

    An international team of astronomers have made a historic discovery using the William Herschel Telescope (WHT), detecting gas molecules in a comet which has tumbled into our solar system from another star. It is the first time that astronomers have been able to detect this type of material in an interstellar object.

    The discovery marks an important step forward for science as it will now allow scientists to begin deciphering exactly what these objects are made of and how our home solar system compares with others in our galaxy.

    "For the first time we are able to accurately measure what an interstellar visitor is made of, and compare it with our own solar system," said Professor Alan Fitzsimmons of the Astrophysics Research Centre, Queen's University Belfast.
    I am because we are
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    How many other interstellar objects have been observed entering the solar system?? I thought Oumuamua was the first and 2I/Borisov was second? Maybe it's just semantics (on my part) but "first time" makes it sound like there have been multiple opportunities, not just the one. (My bold below).

    Certainly this is very interesting news and I'll look forward to any analysis.

    An international team of astronomers have made a historic discovery using the William Herschel Telescope (WHT), detecting gas molecules in a comet which has tumbled into our solar system from another star. It is the first time that astronomers have been able to detect this type of material in an interstellar object.

    The discovery marks an important step forward for science as it will now allow scientists to begin deciphering exactly what these objects are made of and how our home solar system compares with others in our galaxy.

    "For the first time we are able to accurately measure what an interstellar visitor is made of, and compare it with our own solar system," said Professor Alan Fitzsimmons of the Astrophysics Research Centre, Queen's University Belfast.

  16. #16
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    Oumuamua is still the most interesting to me. Sort of like Miranda. Yes it is probably a natural object too..but darn it if it doesn't look odd. I still half expect to see a front-end loader parked on Miranda somehow.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    How many other interstellar objects have been observed entering the solar system?? I thought Oumuamua was the first and 2I/Borisov was second? Maybe it's just semantics (on my part) but "first time" makes it sound like there have been multiple opportunities, not just the one. (My bold below).

    Certainly this is very interesting news and I'll look forward to any analysis.
    We weren't able to detect any features in the spectrum of Oumuamua, so this is the "first time" that we'll have the chance to compare the chemical composition of an macroscopic object from another stellar system to that of objects in our own.

    Well, if you don't count the billions and billions of spectra of other stars we've measured. Or galaxies. Or clouds of gas in our own galaxy, or in nearby galaxies.

    Eh. Some PR office is just doing its job.

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    "Astronomers Find Our Second Interstellar Visitor Looks like the Locals"

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...ke-the-locals/

    Last month astronomers were thrilled by the confirmation that a second known interstellar object is flying through our solar system. Named 2I/Borisov—after its discoverer, Crimean amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov—it has already attracted huge attention. Countless observatories, from the Very Large Telescope in Chile to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, are studying the object, and plenty more science is on the way as 2I/Borisov approaches its peak brightness in December. “It’s been a rapid assembly of telescopes around the world,” says Michele Bannister of Queen’s University Belfast. “This, basically, is establishing a new subfield of astronomy.”

    Whereas the first interstellar object, ‘Oumuamua, was found in 2017 as it was already leaving our solar system, 2I/Borisov was caught on the way in. The latter object exhibits traits of cometary activity, with dust and gas surrounding it, whereas ‘Oumuamua was more sedate, like an asteroid (although its classification is still unclear). The question now is whether or not 2I/Borisov resembles comets in our solar system, with either answer being equally thrilling. “I’m torn both ways,” Bannister says. “If it’s like the things that we have in our solar system, the processes that we see taking place are more typical than we realized. If it’s really different, then that tells us this chemistry takes place in quite a different way—in the diversity of exoplanetary systems—than we see.”
    I am because we are
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