clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Astronomers show off new photo of mysterious interstellar object. Here’s what we know

The Minor Planet Center announced it found the second interstellar object last week.

The Gemini Observatory in Hawaii just revealed a new photo of a mysterious interstellar object that might be the first ever interstellar comet seen by humans.
The Gemini Observatory in Hawaii just revealed a new photo of a mysterious interstellar object that might be the first ever interstellar comet seen by humans.
Screenshot

The Gemini Observatory in Hawaii just revealed a new photo of a mysterious interstellar object that might be the first ever interstellar comet seen by humans.

The comet — called C/2019 Q4 — looks to be heading toward our solar system. Its point of origin remains unclear.

The Minor Planet Center announced it found the second interstellar object last week.

Astronomers pointed the Gemini telescope toward the object on Sept. 10. Astronomers in Spain observed the telescope to see the object, too.

The photos show off “a fuzzy haze of dust surrounding the object, as well as a ‘faint, broad tail’ of gas trailing behind it,” according to Business Insider.

The findings were published in ArXiv, but they have not been peer reviewed yet. But there seems to be evidence that this was an interstellar comet.

“Both orbital and morphological properties of this body show that this is the first certain case of an interstellar comet,” the study authors wrote.

This would be the second interstellar object on record, according to Gizmodo. In 2017, researchers spotted ‘Oumuamua, another interstellar object.

Researchers want to understand how the two objects might be different.

“What’s exciting scientifically is we can make a comparison, how is this one different from ‘Oumuamua,” MPC director Matthew Holman told Gizmodo