Interstellar asteroid

2017-10-25

in Bombs and rockets, Geek stuff, Science, Space and flight

For the first time, we may have just detected the a large object that has entered our solar system from interplanetary space: C/2017 U1 PanSTARRS.

It’s a shame we don’t have a spacecraft ready to go get a closer look, or maybe even get a sample.

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. October 30, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Scientists discover “interstellar object” hurtling through our solar system

Astronomers have discovered what seems to be the first “interstellar object” speeding through our solar system at 15.8 miles per second. Discovered October 19 with the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS 1 telescope, the object, dubbed A/2017 U1, is less than a quarter-mile in diameter. While scientists say it’s most likely an asteroid or perhaps a comet from elsewhere in our galaxy, they can’t be certain of its composition or where it may have come from until they collect more telescope data. (Members of UFO cults, please report for duty.)

. October 30, 2017 at 8:46 pm

Small Asteroid or Comet ‘Visits’ from Beyond the Solar System

Weryk immediately realized this was an unusual object. “Its motion could not be explained using either a normal solar system asteroid or comet orbit,” he said. Weryk contacted IfA graduate Marco Micheli, who had the same realization using his own follow-up images taken at the European Space Agency’s telescope on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. But with the combined data, everything made sense. Said Weryk, “This object came from outside our solar system.”

“This is the most extreme orbit I have ever seen,” said Davide Farnocchia, a scientist at NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “It is going extremely fast and on such a trajectory that we can say with confidence that this object is on its way out of the solar system and not coming back.”

The CNEOS team plotted the object’s current trajectory and even looked into its future. A/2017 U1 came from the direction of the constellation Lyra, cruising through interstellar space at a brisk clip of 15.8 miles (25.5 kilometers) per second.

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