An image of a protoplanetary disk and black gaps marking where planets are formed, as captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope in Chile. Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), S. Andrews et al.; N. Lira
Astronomers are only now getting the hang of spotting interstellar objects, space debris that fled another solar system to swing through ours. But signs suggest there should be plenty more such identifications to come.
That’s the conclusion of new research that was already in the publication process when scientists met the second known interstellar object, a comet called Borisov, which was first spotted on 30 August 2019. The research looks ahead to a new instrument, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which is scheduled to be fully up and running in 2023. The scientists estimate that each year it’s working, LSST should be able to spot more than 100 interstellar objects larger than two metres (six feet).
“There should be a lot of this material floating around,” Malena Rice, lead author of the new research and a graduate student at Yale University, said in a statement. “So much more data will be coming out soon, thanks to new telescopes coming online. We won’t have to ...