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Is Asteroid 2015 BZ509 from another Stellar System?

22 May 2018, 14:25 UTC
Is Asteroid 2015 BZ509 from another Stellar System?
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It’s conceivable that getting humans to an interstellar object may not involve journeying all the way to another star. We’ve learned that wandering asteroids and comets move between stars, as the case of ‘Oumuamua demonstrated, and early research offers the possibility that such objects exist in large numbers. Now we have (514107) 2015 BZ509, which is conceivably an interloper into our system of another sort. Two researchers believe that this asteroid near the orbit of Jupiter is not just passing through, but a captured object from another stellar system.
A comparison with Triton seems apt. One of the most compelling pieces of evidence that Neptune’s largest moon is actually a Kuiper Belt Object is its retrograde orbit. We see the same thing with 2015 BZ509, and for Fathi Namouni (Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur) and Helena Morais (Universidade Estadual Paulista), that sends a clear message. The researchers have offered their work in a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
“How the asteroid came to move in this way while sharing Jupiter’s orbit has until now been a mystery,” explains lead author Namouni. “If 2015 BZ509 were a native of our system, it should have had the ...

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