Status Report

Interstellar comet 2I/Borisov

By SpaceRef Editor
September 13, 2019
Filed under , ,

Piotr Guzik, Michał Drahus, Krzysztof Rusek, Wacław Waniak, Giacomo Cannizzaro, Inés Pastor-Marazuela

(Submitted on 12 Sep 2019)

Interstellar comets penetrating through the Solar System were anticipated for decades. The discovery of non-cometary 1I/’Oumuamua by Pan-STARRS was therefore a huge surprise and puzzle. Furthermore, its physical properties turned out to be impossible to reconcile with Solar System objects, which radically changed our view on interstellar minor bodies. Here, we report the identification of a new interstellar object which has an evidently cometary appearance. The body was identified by our data mining code in publicly available astrometric data. The data clearly show significant systematic deviation from what is expected for a parabolic orbit and are consistent with an enormous orbital eccentricity of 3.14 +/- 0.14. Images taken by the William Herschel Telescope and Gemini North telescope show an extended coma and a faint, broad tail – the canonical signatures of cometary activity. The observed g’ and r’ magnitudes are equal to 19.32 +/- 0.02 and 18.69 +/- 0.02, respectively, implying g’-r’ color index of 0.63 +/- 0.03, essentially the same as measured for the native Solar System comets. The discovery of this object indicates that interstellar comets might be common and creates a tremendous opportunity to study the first such object in detail.

Comments: submitted

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)

Cite as: arXiv:1909.05851 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1909.05851v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Michal Drahus 

[v1] Thu, 12 Sep 2019 17:54:10 UTC (563 KB)

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