October 28, 2017

Mysterious ''Interstellar Object'' with odd orbit spotted in our solar system

A Queen's University Belfast scientist is leading an international team in studying a new visitor in our solar system - the first known comet or asteroid to visit us from another star.

The fast-moving object, now named A/2017 U1, was initially spotted on 18 October in Hawaii by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii.

Astronomers immediately started studying it that night with the William Herschel Telescope in the Canary Islands, then on Thursday night with the Very Large Telescope in Chile.

The initial data implies it is a small rocky or icy object that may have been drifting through our galaxy for millions or even billions of years, before entering our solar system by chance.

The object flew into the solar system from above, was close to the Sun last month, and is now already on its way back out to the stars.

Despite suspecting such objects existed and looking out for them over past decades, scientists have never seen such an interstellar visitor until now.


Source: http://www.qub.ac.uk

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