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Interstellar Comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov)

Updated on September 15, 2019

C/2019 Q4 (Borisov)

Interstellar Comet Borisov
Interstellar Comet Borisov

Comet Borisov

On August 30th, 2019 an amateur astronomer named Borisov from Crimea found the second ever observed interstellar object which astronomers believe is a comet from beyond the solar system and traveling through deep space between the stars. The first interstellar object Omuamua was observed in October 19th 2017 using the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii as it was leaving the solar system in a hurry, so fast in fact it broke through the Sun’s gravitational hold and even speed up as it left at a hyperbolic angle north of the solar ecliptic plain. This new objecit is named after the man who discovered it Borisov C/2019 Q4

The Borisov interstellar comet having a heliocentric orbital eccentricity entered the solar system from the direction of constellation Cassiopia and is not bound to the Sun. As it approaches it will be just outside the orbit of Mars. Though not close, in a couple of months the position for viewing from Earth will be more favorable. At a magnitude of 16 to 17 . It will not be a naked-eye observable comet , which means you will need a decent telescope and some skill to see it.

So far observations have shown the comet behaving much like comets that fall into the solar system from beyond the Kuiper Belt of Pluto. Originating from the Oort Cloud, a cloud of extreme cold and dark icy comets that surround the solar system.

Heliocentric Orbit From Deep Space

C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) is the green line. Omuamua's orbit is in purple.
C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) is the green line. Omuamua's orbit is in purple.

So What's the Big Deal about an Interstellar Comet?

Well there is a fascination with things that come from alien and unobtainable sources. Like object Omuamua that visited our solar system in October 2017. A long and diffuse asteroid from beyond our solar system that displayed some of the characteristics of a comet such as possible speed boosting from out-gassing as it passed the Sun.

As Borisov passes through our solar system the telescopes of earth will be fixed on the comet to see the color of the coma the gas that surrounds the comet and creates a long tail through space and it's ion tail. By using spectroscopy the science community will be able to see what types of gasses the comet is out-gassing and perhaps learn more about how the comet was born and why it is visiting our solar system now.

The Oort Cloud


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