The first colour image of the Comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), which astronomers believe was born in another solar system, was captured by the Gemini North telescope at Hawaii’s Mauna Kea. Gemini North acquired four 60-second exposures in two colour bands (red and green). The blue and red lines are stars moving in the background. Image credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA/Travis Rector
We could get an up-close look at our solar system’s latest interstellar interloper a quarter century from now if we so desired, a new study suggests.
Late last month, Russian amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov spotted a comet that appears to be visiting from very far away. The odd trajectory and tremendous speed of the object, known as Comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), strongly suggest that it was born around another star rather than our own sun, scientists say.
This comet is the third potential interstellar visitor we know about — and all of them were spotted in just the past two years.
The first was ‘Oumuamua, which zoomed through the inner solar system in the fall of 2017. ‘Oumuamua is intriguing for many reasons beyond its pioneer status (and the fact that it’s the only one of the three that’s a confirmed ...