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C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): A Likely Interstellar Comet

12 Sep 2019, 12:35 UTC
C/2019 Q4 (Borisov): A Likely Interstellar Comet
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What appears to be an interstellar comet is heading into the Solar System, with perihelion likely on December 10 of this year, a date that could change as orbital parameters continue to be firmed up. The natural comparison is with ‘Oumuamua, first discovered two years ago and now well on its way out of the system. But the object first labeled gb00234 and now carrying the provisional name C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), while clearly on a hyberbolic orbit, has been found before perihelion and should be visible for a much a longer period of observation and orbital calculation.

Image: Observations suggest that comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) may be from outside the Solar System. A hyperbolic solution for the object first labeled gb00234 passes between Mars and Jupiter. (Green=gb00234; Blue=Neptune). Credit: Tony873004 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.
A professional optician and astronomer named Gennady Borisov at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory (near the Crimean city of Bakhchysarai, on the Crimean peninsula) discovered the object on August 30, 2019 when it was at a distance of approximately 3 AU. This gentleman builds his own instruments, as physicist and radio astronomer Marshall Eubanks (VLBI) noted in a tweet this morning, replying to writer and ...

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