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Astronomers detect interstellar object invading another distant solar system

13 Jan 2022, 16:56 UTC
Astronomers detect interstellar object invading another distant solar system
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Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) astronomers think they have detected for the first time an interstellar object that has invaded another distant solar system and disturbed material in its protoplanetary accretion disk.
From the paper’s abstract:
A point source ~4,700 au [astronomical unit, equal to about 100 million miles] from the binary has been discovered at both millimetre and centimetre wavelengths. It is located along the extension of a ~2,000 au streamer structure previously found in scattered light imaging, whose counterpart in dust and gas emission is also newly identified. Comparison with simulations shows signposts of a rare flyby event in action.
This data further confirms that interactions between interstellar objects occur with reasonably frequency, and can thus act to influence the formation of solar systems.
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