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Space & Astronomy

New photographs of interstellar visitor revealed

By T.K. Randall
December 18, 2019 · Comment icon 3 comments

The two photographs were taken almost a month apart. Image Credit: NASA, ESA and D. Jewitt (UCLA)
NASA has released two new images showing interstellar comet Borisov traveling through our solar system.
First observed on August 30th, the comet, which is the second confirmed interstellar visitor to our solar system, was announced in September by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) at Harvard University.

The first of these two new photographs, which was taken on November 20th, shows the comet 203 million miles from Earth while a distant spiral galaxy can be seen lurking in the background.

The second, which was taken on December 9th, shows the comet approximately 185 million miles from Earth and heading away after its closest approach.
Both images were taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

"Hubble gives us the best upper limit of the size of comet Borisov's nucleus, which is the really important part of the comet," said Prof David Jewitt from the University of California.

"Surprisingly, our Hubble images show that its nucleus is more than 15 times smaller than earlier investigations suggested it might be... the radius is smaller than half a kilometer."

"Knowing the size is potentially useful for beginning to estimate how common such objects may be in the solar system and our galaxy. Borisov is the first known interstellar comet, and we would like to learn how many others there are."

Source: | Comments (3)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Dumbledore the Awesome 4 years ago
Borisov the comet. Sounds like a Sacha Baron Cohen character. You'd imagine it to be wearing an astrakhan coat and have a big mustache. 
Comment icon #2 Posted by AllPossible 4 years ago
I just looked up Halleys's comet. I honestly didnt know it was orbiting our star. Sounds ignorant I know lol but wow the power of our star to have a gravitational pull on so many objects. Planets, moons, asteroids, comets & whatever else we havent discovered. Very cool universe we live in
Comment icon #3 Posted by sanescotty 4 years ago
That first photo just makes me realise just how small and insignificant we are. Awe inspiring.

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