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Interstellar Comet Borisov looks pretty normal, new observations suggest

15 Oct 2019, 12:08 UTC
Interstellar Comet Borisov looks pretty normal, new observations suggest
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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
Observations of the interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov have been flooding in for six weeks, and the more astronomers duplicate one another’s work, the more confident they are in their analysis of the object.
The prestigious journal Nature Astronomy has recently published one of the earlier papers based on this frantic rush of observations. The new paper both confirms that Comet Borisov comes from outside our solar system and offers preliminary evidence suggesting that the object isn’t very different from the comets that clutter our own solar system.
When an object as interesting as an interstellar comet comes around, astronomers are bound to swing into action to study it as much as possible, so the scientists behind the new paper are hardly the only ones reaching similar conclusions about the object.
But the findings the scientists lay out in their new paper offers ...

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