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Still Waters

Bizarre comet from another star system seen

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Still Waters

In the sleepy predawn hours of August 30, a Ukrainian amateur astronomer named Gennady Borisov spotted a strange comet zooming through our solar system. Now, astronomers have provisionally verified that the object, named C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), is moving too fast for it to be captured by the sun’s gravity—a sign that it’s most likely an interstellar interloper.

If these results continue to hold, C/2019 Q4 would be just the second visitor from another star system ever detected, after the 2017 discovery of the enigmatic space rock known as 'Oumuamua. While its origins are not yet entirely certain, C/2019 Q4 is a confirmed comet. Already, astronomers have detected that the object—which is probably a couple miles across—has a coma, the fuzzy sheath of dust and gas that forms as sunlight heats up a comet’s icy surface.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/09/bizarre-interstellar-comet-from-another-star-system-just-spotted/

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third_eye

Interloper.... I guess we have to man the plasma guns and fire just in case it doesn't have an intergalactic passport ... 

~

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spud the mackem

Obviously another spy sent by Aliens who sent the first one , to see if there is any reaction from that "blue planet" , the third one maybe will land if they detect life , get out your tinfoil hats people. 

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bison

18th magnitude brightness at 2.7 astronomical units from the Sun. Sky and Telescope avers that this suggests a diameter for the object of over 10 kilometers. Large as comets go. Most are under 10 km. This is in the Halley's comet class. Halley was ~ 11km in diameter.

Comets generally develop a coma and tail at about the time they enter the inner solar system, which is defined by the orbit of Mars-- hence ~ 1.5 AU.  At 2.7 AU this object seems to be active quite early.  

Given a large number of  recent observations which concur with the earlier, provisional orbit, the hyperbolic, hence interstellar nature of the object is considered highly likely.  Link to good article on this discovery, from Sky and Telescope:

https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/possible-interstellar-comet-headed-our-way/

Edited by bison
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Hanslune

C/2019 Q4

The object was discovered on 30 August 2019 at Margo, Nauchnij by Gennady Borisov using his custom-built 0.65-meter telescope. C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) (internal name gb00234) is an interstellar comet with a heliocentric orbital eccentricity of ~3 and is not bound to the Sun.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2019_Q4_(Borisov)

In the image below its shown as the green line coming from the 'north' and exiting to the 'south'.

Gb00234c.jpg

 

Edited by Hanslune
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freetoroam
17 minutes ago, Hanslune said:

I say Atlantis is there - this would explain why no one has every found it

Have I misunderstood this?  

You are having a joke, right?

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Hanslune
5 minutes ago, freetoroam said:

Have I misunderstood this?  

You are having a joke, right?

Oops yes that line shouldn't have been there at all - thanks for catching that - its deleted

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Tom1200
17 hours ago, bison said:

Given a large number of  recent observations which concur with the earlier, provisional orbit, the hyperbolic, hence interstellar nature of the object is considered highly likely.  Link to good article on this discovery, from Sky and Telescope:

https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/possible-interstellar-comet-headed-our-way/

Thanks for the link Bison.  A high eccentricity alone is not proof of an origin beyond the solar system, but this object's enormous speed is the extra evidence needed.  "According to Bill Gray, the creator of Guide astrometry software, the comet is presently moving at 41 kilometers per second (over 91,000 mph), which will increase to 44 km/sec at perihelion."  Wow!  And they reckon it could be 10 km across.  A quick calculation (I've used the low density of ice until we know more about it) estimates its kinetic energy as 4.4x1023 joules which is a significant fraction of the object that created the Chicxulub crater (I've found estimates ranging from 1.3x1024J to 5.8x10251) so I'm glad it isn't heading our way.

I was on the verge of getting VERY annoyed at the blatant spelling mistake in the article - how did a typo like 'astrometry' get into a specialised astronomy publication?  But before I made a fool of myself I checked 2 and - to my fascination - it's a proper science and a word I really ought to have known.  So luckily I didn't write to complain, so nobody will ever know how stupid I am.

1 Are we allowed to rely on Wikipedia for detailed information like this?

2 Wikipedia again.  Sorry to anyone offended by my lack of imagination.

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Ell

It's probably another of them solar sails. Them aliens are verily littering the neighbourhood! ;-)

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bison

I've seen two new photographs of Borisov's Comet today. In one, it appears to have split into a larger and a smaller piece, now traveling  together through space. In another it just looks like a sphere. I suppose that the latter is what they are calling the coma, which is a kind of temporary atmosphere surrounding the solid nucleus of a comet. 

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Manwon Lender
On 9/12/2019 at 11:25 PM, Still Waters said:

In the sleepy predawn hours of August 30, a Ukrainian amateur astronomer named Gennady Borisov spotted a strange comet zooming through our solar system. Now, astronomers have provisionally verified that the object, named C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), is moving too fast for it to be captured by the sun’s gravity—a sign that it’s most likely an interstellar interloper.

If these results continue to hold, C/2019 Q4 would be just the second visitor from another star system ever detected, after the 2017 discovery of the enigmatic space rock known as 'Oumuamua. While its origins are not yet entirely certain, C/2019 Q4 is a confirmed comet. Already, astronomers have detected that the object—which is probably a couple miles across—has a coma, the fuzzy sheath of dust and gas that forms as sunlight heats up a comet’s icy surface.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/09/bizarre-interstellar-comet-from-another-star-system-just-spotted/

This is very interesting and it's great it was observed early so it can better studied. But this phenomenon of objects from outside our Solar System entering it is kinda frightening, because they are so unpredictable.

What concerns me more than anything else is the speed at which some of these objects are moving, it just wouldn't give us time to react, even if we could.

When considering the speed st which these objects are traveling, even a small one could destroy the Earth or change it forever.  Qumuamua, for instance when it gave us a fly by it was traveling at 96,0000 miles per hour.

With that said how many have we missed and how close to Earth have they come. To me this is like the one, two knockout punch that comes from the blind side when it hits you it too late.

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Manwon Lender
On 9/12/2019 at 11:31 PM, third_eye said:

Interloper.... I guess we have to man the plasma guns and fire just in case it doesn't have an intergalactic passport ... 

~

I don't know about an interloper, but is certainly an illegal Alien! 

I think where being invaded!!:wacko:

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L.A.T.1961

The first-ever comet from beyond our Solar System has been successfully imaged by the Gemini Observatory in multiple colours. The image of the newly discovered object, C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), was obtained on the night of 9-10 September using the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph on the Gemini North Telescope on Hawaii’s Maunakea.

 

 

C_2019_Q4.jpg

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Timothy

Link for above image/article: https://phys.org/news/2019-09-gemini-observatory-captures-multicolor-image.html

Hopefully Oumuamua has prepared us to be able to gather more data more effectively with C/2019 Q4 Borisov.

It’s exciting that it’s not just a dark tumbling asteroid like Oumuamua. And exciting that it was detected on its approach.

Here’s the new Wiki for C/2019 Q4: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2019_Q4_(Borisov)

≈2-16 km in diameter too. From: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7498

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Hankenhunter
23 hours ago, Manwon Lender said:

This is very interesting and it's great it was observed early so it can better studied. But this phenomenon of objects from outside our Solar System entering it is kinda frightening, because they are so unpredictable.

What concerns me more than anything else is the speed at which some of these objects are moving, it just wouldn't give us time to react, even if we could.

When considering the speed st which these objects are traveling, even a small one could destroy the Earth or change it forever.  Qumuamua, for instance when it gave us a fly by it was traveling at 96,0000 miles per hour.

With that said how many have we missed and how close to Earth have they come. To me this is like the one, two knockout punch that comes from the blind side when it hits you it too late.

Some things are better not known. If a world ending comet or asteroid impact was imminent,  I'd rather not know.  There are scenarios where ignorance is bliss. "Oooh, look at the pretty light..... oh crap."

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Not A Rockstar

Not being an astro-guru, I wonder if these two may have come from a similar point of origin/event. They are both moving extremely fast and at similar speeds. I also wonder what star it may be orbiting, if any. 

That is the one thing about Space, we will always wonder more than we will ever know, it just is amazing.

Guess I will go see what What Da Math has to say about it. Anton is always great about explaining :) 

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Waspie_Dwarf
On 9/14/2019 at 2:41 AM, Manwon Lender said:

This is very interesting and it's great it was observed early so it can better studied. But this phenomenon of objects from outside our Solar System entering it is kinda frightening, because they are so unpredictable.

What concerns me more than anything else is the speed at which some of these objects are moving, it just wouldn't give us time to react, even if we could.

When considering the speed st which these objects are traveling, even a small one could destroy the Earth or change it forever.  Qumuamua, for instance when it gave us a fly by it was traveling at 96,0000 miles per hour.

With that said how many have we missed and how close to Earth have they come. To me this is like the one, two knockout punch that comes from the blind side when it hits you it too late.

All long period comets are unpredictable, whether from interstellar space or the Oort cloud. There is a possibility that we could be hit by such an object but it is vanishingly unlikely.

The most likely objects to hit the Earth are Near Earth Objects, because they orbit near the Earth and pass close to it on a regular basis. Short period comets (i.e. those in orbits of 200 years or less) are more likely to hit us than long period comets as they make repeated passes through the inner solar system. Long period comets are the least likely objects we will be hit by because, over a reasonable time frame, they are essentially making a single pass through the inner solar system. The Earth is a tiny target, the inner solar system is huge.

Unpredictable does not equal dangerous. These interstellar objects are, by astronomical standards, rare. They pose almost no threat to Earth.

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Manwon Lender
11 minutes ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

All long period comets are unpredictable, whether from interstellar space or the Oort cloud. There is a possibility that we could be hit by such an object but it is vanishingly unlikely.

The most likely objects to hit the Earth are Near Earth Objects, because they orbit near the Earth and pass close to it on a regular basis. Short period comets (i.e. those in orbits of 200 years or less) are more likely to hit us than long period comets as they make repeated passes through the inner solar system. Long period comets are the least likely objects we will be hit by because, over a reasonable time frame, they are essentially making a single pass through the inner solar system. The Earth is a tiny target, the inner solar system is huge.

Unpredictable does not equal dangerous. These interstellar objects are, by astronomical standards, rare. They pose almost no threat to Earth.

Thanks for the information, and the education we are never to old to learn.

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Waspie_Dwarf
5 hours ago, Not A Rockstar said:

Not being an astro-guru, I wonder if these two may have come from a similar point of origin/event.

'Oumuamua originated from the direction of the Lyra, Comet Borisov originated in the direction of Cassiopeia, so different point of origin, different parent stars.

5 hours ago, Not A Rockstar said:

They are both moving extremely fast and at similar speeds.

Any interstellar object will be moving fast, they have to be travelling fast enough to break free of the gravity of their parent star(s).

5 hours ago, Not A Rockstar said:

I also wonder what star it may be orbiting, if any.

Interstellar objects are not orbiting any star. They have been ejected from their star systems. They almost certainly orbited a star in the distant past, but not any more.

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bison

A spectrum has been obtained of the light from C/2019 Q4 (Borisov). It was taken on Saturday at the Gran Telescopio Canarias. They noted that the spectrum  was 'not unlike' that of some comets in our solar system. I find it interesting that Borisov shows a distinct deficiency of green (0.5 microns) and an enhancement of orange (0.6 microns), in comparison to those familiar comets, which are presumably the closest available match. I suspect that this new interstellar object will provide us with some surprises  before it's through with us.

please find a link, below, to the GTC website report on Borisov's spectrum:

http://www.iac.es/divulgacion.php?op1=16&id=1610&lang=en  

Edited by bison

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