2I/Borisov: An Interstellar Object
- 27 Sep 2019
- 2 min read
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has officially declared a recently spotted comet as an interstellar object.
- This means that the object, provisionally called Comet C/2019, is now dubbed 2I/Borisov, with the prefix marking that the comet is the second interstellar object scientists have identified to date.
- The first was 1I/'Oumuamua, which was first spotted in October 2017.
- To confirm Borisov origins, scientists tracked the comet's location long enough to study its path.
- Objects born in our solar system are trapped in elliptical orbits around the sun while interstellar bodies follow the hyperbolic path.
- IAU confirmed that 2I/Borisov has a more hyperbolic path than any other comet scientists have studied to date.
- The name Borisov honours its discoverer, astronomer Gennady Borisov from Crimea.
International Astronomical Union
- The International Astronomical Union (IAU) was founded in 1919, headquartered in Paris, France.
- Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation.
- It is the global authority for naming planetary features in the solar system.
- The new finding suggests that such objects may be sufficiently numerous to provide a new way of investigating processes beyond our planetary systems.
- Investigating interstellar objects can provide unique data about other star systems without actually flying to them.
- They might provide unique insights into the evolution and composition of other star systems and exoplanets in them.
- These objects have probably been travelling between star systems for hundreds of years. As a result, they have undoubtedly picked up material along the way or bear the marks of encounters with other objects or forces.
- Their composition and surface features can tell us about the interstellar medium.