Borisov - The 2nd Interstellar Visitor

Discussion in 'Unexplained Mysteries' started by nivek, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Borisov is the second interstellar visitors in two years...I wonder if data from the first visitor (probe/ship) inspire a second visit?...:ohmy8:

    NASA says a new comet is likely an 'interstellar visitor' from another star system — the second ever detected

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    Astronomers may have spotted the second object ever to visit our solar system from another star system. The object may even fly near Mars in October.

    Right now, the chances are much higher that the object, known as comet "C/2019 Q4 (Borisov)" (or "gb00234"), is interstellar, rather than a rock from within the solar system. But scientists are not yet entirely certain.

    The first such interstellar object ever detected, the mysterious and cigar-shaped 'Oumuamua (which a few scientists controversially argued may be alien in origin), zoomed through our solar system in 2017.

    An amateur astronomer in Crimea, Gennady Borisov, first spotted C/2019 Q4 in the sky on August 30. It hasn't yet entered our solar system, but astronomers have been collecting data in hopes of plotting the object's path through space and figuring out where it came from.

    "It's so exciting, we're basically looking away from all of our other projects right now," Olivier Hainaut, an astronomer with the European Southern Observatory, told Business Insider. Hainaut was part of a global team of astronomers that studied 'Oumuamua as it passed through the solar system two years ago.

    "The main difference from 'Oumuamua and this one is that we got it a long, long time in advance, " he added. "Now astronomers are much more prepared."

    A telescope system at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, called Scout, automatically flagged C/2019 Q4 as a potential interstellar object. Though the comet's origin has not yet been confirmed, it's traveling at 93,000 miles per hour and is expected to cross our solar system's orbital plane on October 26.

    "The high velocity indicates not only that the object likely originated from outside our solar system, but also that it will leave and head back to interstellar space," Davide Farnocchia, who studies near-Earth objects at NASA, said in a press release.

    The object's core is between 1.2 and 10 miles (2 and 16 kilometers) in diameter. It's expected to pass through our solar system outside Mars' orbit and get no closer to Earth than 190 million miles (300 million kilometers).

    Early images suggest C/2019 Q4 is followed by a small tail or halo of dust. That's a distinct trait of comets — they hold ice that gets heated up by nearby stars, leading them to shoot out gas and grit into space. The dust could make C/2019 Q4 simpler to track than 'Oumuamua, since dust brightly reflects sunlight.

    That reflected light could also make it easier for scientists to study the object's composition, since telescope instruments can "taste" light to look for chemical signatures.

    "Here we have something that was born around another star and traveling toward us," Hainaut said. "It's the next best thing to sending a probe to a different solar system."

    Astronomers around the globe are grabbing every telescope available to plot C/2019 Q4's path through space. The goal: see whether the object has an orbit that's elliptical (oval-shaped and around the sun) or hyperbolic (checkmark-shaped, and on an open-ended trajectory).

    It seems much more likely that its path is hyperbolic, though astronomers say more observations are required to know for sure. In particular, they're trying to ascertain C/2019 Q4's eccentricity, or how extreme its orbit is.

    "The error indicates it's still possible that's within the solar system," Hainaut said. "But that error is decreasing as we get more and more data, and the eccentricity is looking interstellar."

    The object's seemingly high velocity and comet-like shroud of dust also tilt the scales toward interstellar, Hainaut added.

    This rough simulation shows C/2019 Q4's possible orbital path (green) through the solar system. It may pass between the orbits of Jupiter (purple) and Mars (orange) in late October.

    "It could be a few days or a few weeks before we have enough data to definitively say. But even with the very best data, we may need more," he said. "It's frustrating."

    When 'Oumuamua sped past Earth at a distance of just 15 million miles in October 2017, astronomers had no idea it was coming.

    "We had to scramble for telescope time," Hainaut said. "This time, we're ready."

    Astronomers will be able to study C/2019 Q4 for at least a year.

    "The object will peak in brightness in mid-December and continue to be observable with moderate-size telescopes until April 2020," Farnocchia said. "After that, it will only be observable with larger professional telescopes through October 2020."

    Hainaut and his colleagues have some smaller telescopes queued up for observations, but he said he'd like to use "everything" to observe C/2019 Q4. His team is trying to get time on the "big guys," including the Very Large Telescope in Chile, the Keck Observatory, and the Gemini telescope in Hawaii.

    He said at least one colleague and likely other astronomers are working on a proposal to have the Hubble Space Telescope take a look. Others are seeking to use NASA's two infrared space telescopes: Spitzer and the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.

    Many astronomers are excited about C/2019 Q4, but more work has to be done to confirm it's truly interstellar.

    "This is not the first object since 2017/1I, better known as 'Oumuamua, to show a hyperbolic orbit," Michele Bannister, a planetary astronomer at Queen's University Belfast, tweeted on Wednesday.

    Bannister noted that with such limited observations, an object could appear to have a rare interstellar orbit but later turn out to have an orbit within our solar system.

    "Sometimes, we just have to wait for the motion of the heavens. And make...more observations," she added.

    Currently, those observations aren't easy, Hainaut said. C/2019 Q4's position in the night sky places it close to the sun, giving astronomers a very limited window of time before dawn to study it.

    "It's hard to see, but we have the best guys doing astrometry, trying to measure its position in the sky," he said. "It could be a few days or a few weeks before we have enough data to definitively say."

    If C/2019 Q4 does turn out to be a second interstellar object, that would bode well for a mission Hainaut is proposing to send robotic probes into space to intercept future objects like this.

    "One of the main issues is: How many of these are there? If we detect one every century, it's hard to plan a mission to intercept one," he said.

    On the other hand, if these objects come every couple of years, astronomers might even be able to get choosy about which object to intercept.

    "This suggests we can afford to wait one or two or three years to get the right one, and maybe not the first one we spot after organizing a mission," Hainaut said.

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  2. PetroCE3

    PetroCE3 Novice

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    Fascinating!!

    I clicked your link, what a incrediable find although presently a unresolved object. Uncertainties exist before it becomes closer to us. Eager to know more.
     
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  3. Toroid

    Toroid Founding Member

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    Welcome to AE. :)
     
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  4. Toroid

    Toroid Founding Member

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  5. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Greetings and Welcome to AE...q37

    I agree its amazing to have a second object visit us so close together in time, what are the odds unless its actually much more common than we realize to have random interstellar objects moving such distances...But is this something random?...:susp:

    ...
     
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  6. PetroCE3

    PetroCE3 Novice

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    Many thanks friends! This object will not escape our curiosities I am certain of that. Please keep posted of new information as comes.:)
     
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  7. The shadow

    The shadow The shadow knows!

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    Welcome to AE!
     
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  8. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    This was posted three days ago...

     
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  9. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    And this two days ago...

     
  10. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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  11. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    This object was discovered on August 30th by Gennady Borisov when he spotted a fuzzy blob of light which was about six miles in diameter, moving in front of stars in the constellation Cancer...The OP article states he's an amateur astronomer and other sources state he's a Crimean astronomer and veteran comet hunter at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory which doesn't sound amateur to me...

    ...
     
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  12. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    I wonder what is the smallest size of an object that we can currently detect with our technology?...If there are large UFOs, mothership type sized UFOs out in our solar system, at some point we should be able to detect them...Understandably though, we do not have the means to scan our entire solar system quickly enough, we are only looking at very small portions of space inside and outside our solar system...

    Do we have any technology on our satellites in orbit around Mars that can act as a radar?...It would be good to be able to 'ping' the surrounding space of our probes or satellites that we launch far from earth, to see if something flies into its proximity ...

    ...
     
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  13. Toroid

    Toroid Founding Member

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  14. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Astronomer Claims New Interstellar Object Could Be an Alien Spacecraft
    By Paul Seaburn

    Well, that didn’t take long. Just a week after astronomers announced the discovery of the second known space object from outside our solar system, one of them put his telescope on the line and speculated that it could actually be an alien spacecraft. The astronomer is Dr. Seth Shostak, whom you may know better as the host of the long-running weekly science radio show and podcast Big Picture Science, which comes from the SETI Institute where Shostak is a Senior Astronomer. He’s also a frequent guest on many talk shows. Speaking to The Sun about C/2019 Q4, he proposed that we don’t know much about the space object yet and a closer look – by telescope or a possible probe – could reveal that it’s a ship from another planet, although he warned those worried about an invasion that “I would bet next month’s pay cheque this is a comet.”
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    In his post about C/2019 Q4 on the SETI website, Shostak defended fellow astronomer Avi Loeb, who weathered a lot of criticism for his own speculations that ‘Oumuamua – the cigar-shaped interstellar object which was only detected on its way out two years ago and still hasn’t been convincingly identified – was a spacecraft that might be manned by robots and AI so it couldn’t show conventional life signs or was long-ago abandoned and built up a crust of space debris that covered its metallic exterior. He then compared the two objects.
    Shostak again doesn’t rule out the possibility that C/2019 Q4, discovered by astronomer Gennady Borisov, is a ship filled with life forms from another planet. Fortunately C/2019 Q4 was detected on its way into our solar system and it will be observable for at least a year. That’s plenty of time to train many telescopes on it, but is there enough time and technological know-how (and money) to send a probe to inspect it close up?
    It was just announced this week that NASA and the ESA will begin joint efforts to crash a probe into an asteroid to determine of it’s possible to deflect or destroy a space object on a potential collision course with Earth. The timetable announced for the first one seems to answer the C/2019 Q4 question – there’s not enough time to send a probe to inspect it.

    Would the answer be different – and the money, equipment and manpower be suddenly available – if astronomers could confirm that C/2019 Q4 has a good chance of being an interstellar spaceship?

    You probably shouldn’t bet your paycheck on that one either.


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  15. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    It's confirmed to be an interstellar object...

    Mysterious, second interstellar object ever spotted is confirmed

    The International Astronomical Union confirmed that the object formally known as C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) is indeed from another solar system, giving it the proper name of 21/Borisov on Tuesday. It is the second-ever object from beyond our solar system, following Ouamuamua’s discovery in October 2017.

    "The orbit is now sufficiently well known, and the object is unambiguously interstellar in origin; it has received its final designation as the second interstellar object, 2I," the IAU wrote in a statement. "In this case, the IAU has decided to follow the tradition of naming cometary objects after their discoverers, so the object has been named 2I/Borisov."

    (More on the link)

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  16. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Second-ever interstellar comet contains alien water
    Scientists have spotted signs of water as the object, 2I/Borisov, streaks towards the Sun.

    Astronomers have spotted signs of water spraying off comet 2I/Borisov, which is flying towards the Sun on a journey from interstellar space. It is the first time scientists have seen water in our Solar System that originated somewhere else.

    “There’s water — that’s cool, that’s great,” says Olivier Hainaut, an astronomer at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany. The discovery isn’t surprising, he says, because most comets contain a lot of water. But confirming its presence in an interstellar comet is an important step towards understanding how water might travel between the stars.

    A team led by Adam McKay, an astronomer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, reported the discovery on 28 October on the arXiv preprint server1.

    (more on the link)

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  17. PetroCE3

    PetroCE3 Novice

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    Excellent Nivek! Keep watching this one! Surprises are coming, eyes open.
     
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  18. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Astronomers Reveal Stunning New Image of The Interstellar Comet Coming Towards Us

    We spotted it in August: a mysterious object shooting through our Solar System on a strange, hyperbolic trajectory implying that, whatever this thing was, it wasn't from around here.

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    Subsequent analysis confirmed this visitor from deep space, now designated 2I/Borisov, was only the second interstellar object ever detected in our Solar System (and the first comet). And we just got a brand-new close-up of it.

    A team of astronomers from Yale University captured this stunning image of 2I/Borisov on Sunday, using the W.M. Keck Observatory's Low-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer in Hawaii.

    [​IMG]
    2I/Borisov. (Pieter van Dokkum, Cheng-Han Hsieh, Shany Danieli, Gregory Laughlin)



    That white ghostly shroud surrounding the icy comet – which is currently drawing nearer to Earth – is called a coma: a cloud of gas and dust that drift into space as the object's icy nucleus sublimates in the heat of starlight.

    In the case of 2I/Borisov, much of this outgassed matter trails behind the comet in an epic tail that currently measures almost 100,000 miles long – over a dozen Earth diameters in a row.



    "It's humbling to realise how small Earth is next to this visitor from another solar system," says one of the Yale team, Pieter van Dokkum.



    2I/Borisov is projected to reach its closest approach to the Sun in early December, and to Earth later in the month – after which it will continue on its way out of our cosmic neighbourhood, taking what remains of its icy mystery with it to whichever distant stars beckon next.

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  19. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    New photographs of interstellar visitor revealed

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    The two photographs were taken almost a month apart.

    NASA has released two new images showing interstellar comet Borisov traveling through our solar system.
    First observed on August 30th, the comet, which is the second confirmed interstellar visitor to our solar system, was announced in September by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) at Harvard University.

    The first of these two new photographs, which was taken on November 20th, shows the comet 203 million miles from Earth while a distant spiral galaxy can be seen lurking in the background.

    The second, which was taken on December 9th, shows the comet approximately 185 million miles from Earth and heading away after its closest approach.

    Both images were taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

    "Hubble gives us the best upper limit of the size of comet Borisov's nucleus, which is the really important part of the comet," said Prof David Jewitt from the University of California.

    "Surprisingly, our Hubble images show that its nucleus is more than 15 times smaller than earlier investigations suggested it might be... the radius is smaller than half a kilometer."

    "Knowing the size is potentially useful for beginning to estimate how common such objects may be in the solar system and our galaxy. Borisov is the first known interstellar comet, and we would like to learn how many others there are."

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  20. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    SETI search of interstellar Comet Borisov finds no sign of alien 'technosignatures'

    Our solar system's second known interstellar visitor appears to be keeping quiet, just like the first. The Breakthrough Listen SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) project has scanned the interstellar Comet Borisov for "technosignatures" but come up empty so far, scientists announced today (Feb. 14). 'Oumuamua, the first confirmed interstellar object ever spotted in our solar system. The null results may be disappointing to alien enthusiasts out there, but they're valuable all the same, project team members said.

    "If interstellar travel is possible, which we don't know, and if other civilizations are out there, which we don't know, and if they are motivated to build an interstellar probe, then some fraction greater than zero of the objects that are out there are artificial interstellar devices," Steve Croft, a research astronomer with Breakthrough Listen and the Berkeley SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a statement.

    "Just as we do with our measurements of transmitters on extrasolar planets, we want to put a limit on what that number is," Croft added.

    It's also worth noting that SETI silence does not necessarily guarantee a natural origin for Borisov and 'Oumuamua. It's possible, for example, that they're transmitting a type of signal that we're not looking for, or that they're defunct alien craft.

    Indeed, a possible artificial origin has been invoked by some scientists — notably, Avi Loeb, the Harvard astronomy department chair — to explain 'Oumuamua's very weird combination of characteristics. Loeb has suggested that 'Oumuamua, which looped around the sun in September 2017, might be a light-sailing alien spacecraft. (Comet Borisov made its closest approach to our star in December 2019.)

    The Borisov news is part of a huge data dump by Breakthrough Listen, a $100 million life-hunting effort established in 2016 by billionaire Yuri Milner. During a news conference today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle, project team members announced the release of nearly 2 petabytes of SETI data, much of which astronomers have not yet had a chance to study in detail.

    Breakthrough Listen team members said the newly released information represents the most comprehensive survey to date of radio emissions from the plane of our Milky Way galaxy and the region around its central supermassive black hole.

    "The galactic center is the subject of a very specific and concerted campaign with all of our facilities, because we are in unanimous agreement that that region is the most interesting part of the Milky Way galaxy," Breakthrough Listen Principal Investigator Andrew Siemion, of the University of California, Berkeley, said in the same statement.

    "If an advanced civilization anywhere in the Milky Way wanted to put a beacon somewhere . . . the galactic center would be a good place to do it," he added. "It is extraordinarily energetic, so one could imagine that if an advanced civilization wanted to harness a lot of energy, they might somehow use the supermassive black hole that is at the center of the Milky Way galaxy."

    And you have a chance to help turn up evidence of such advanced creatures, if any are there to be found: Breakthrough Listen is inviting the public to help analyze this trove of SETI data.

    "Since Breakthrough Listen's initial data release last year, we have doubled what is available to the public," Matt Lebofsky, Breakthrough Listen lead system administrator, said in the same statement, referring to a petabyte-size data dump in June 2019. "It is our hope that these data sets will reveal something new and interesting, be it other intelligent life in the universe or an as-yet-undiscovered natural astronomical phenomenon."

    You can learn about how to participate here.

    About half of the new data comes from the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia, team members said. The rest was collected by the big radio dish at West Virginia's Green Bank Observatory and the Automated Planet Finder, an optical telescope located at Lick Observatory in California. (SETI signals don't necessarily have to be in the radio spectrum, after all; laser flashes could betray the presence of intelligent aliens as well.)

    Also today, the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) announced an agreement to start installing technosignature-hunting gear on NRAO dishes.

    So, the search for E.T. continues to ramp up, which is just what Milner wants.

    “For the whole of human history, we had a limited amount of data to search for life beyond Earth. So, all we could do was speculate," Milner said in the same statement. "Now, as we are getting a lot of data, we can do real science and, with making this data available to the general public, so can anyone who wants to know the answer to this deep question."

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