Astronomers Record First Observation of an Interstellar Object


Astronomers Record First Observation of an Interstellar Object

For the first time, a space rock from another solar system has been spotted cruising through our corner of the universe. This object, which NASA believes as an asteroid or a comet, appeared to have originated from somewhere else in our galaxy other than our solar system. "It may have been accelerated by a collision or close encounter with a giant planet in our solar system", Porter said. Scientists at the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope at Haleakala first spotted the quarter-mile-wide object on October 19, and knew immediately that it was something different.

Earlier in the week, Porter questioned some of the initial data in a series of tweets, pointing out that the "single-worst observation" of the object came from a 0.5-meter amateur telescope. The space rock followed a path like nothing he'd ever seen.

When the object - named A/2017 U1 - entered the solar system, it moved at 26 km (16 miles) per second. The object is moving at a tremendous speed, of around 44 kilometers per second and its trajectory has made it slingshot around the Sun, back into the depths of space, towards the constellation of Pegasus. Telescopes spotted the rock swinging closely by the sun over the past few weeks at a sharp angle, hinting its path could be hyperbolic. It came closest to the Sun on September 9, and passed about 14 million miles from Earth on October 14.

Scientists from the global astronomical Union announced the discovery in the vastness of the Solar system of the comet, flew from another star cluster.

American astronomers have recorded an unusual object that flew into the Solar system from the star VEGA.Preliminary observations allowed to assume that this comet, but further observation make us think that we have before us an asteroid.

"It" may eventually get a better name than A/2017 U1, but since the object is the first of its kind, the International Astronomical Union will have to come up with new rules for naming the object.

Scientists have suspected for a while that a visit from "exoroids" could be possible. For comparison, the highly elongated orbit of a comet, which is part of our solar system, is also depicted. Judging by its orbit, astronomers hypothesised it could be a comet unlike any we've seen before. All are projects of NASA's Near-Earth Object Observations Program, and elements of the agency's Planetary Defense Coordination Office within NASA's Science Mission Directorate. So, if you imagine our solar system as being more or less flat, it's as if the object dropped in out of the sky.

Dropping that weak data point from the full analysis of A/2017 U1 suggested its orbit was actually elliptical, not hyperbolic.

Now, astronomers around the world are rushing to get a good look at the asteroid before it vanishes into the black. Once these data are obtained and analyzed, astronomers may know more about the origin and possibly the composition of the object.

"We have been waiting for this day for decades", Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, said in a NASA news release. It's always been theorized that such objects exist - asteroids or comets moving around between the stars and occasionally passing through our solar system- but this is the first such detection.

"If further observations will be able to confirm the unusual nature of this orbit, this object may be the first clear case of interstellar comets", - said the Deputy head of the global astronomical Union, Gareth Williams.



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