Futurizonte Editor’s Note: It seems it is time to accept as normal the presence of interstellar objects in our solar system. What else should we accept as normal in space?
Original writer and publication date: Dennis Overbye – Oct. 01, 2019
Summary: On Dec. 7, the extrasolar comet now known as 2I/Borisov will make its closest approach to the sun
That maybe-comet from another star really is a comet from another star, and now it has a name and a date with destiny. On Dec. 7, the newly named comet 2I/Borisov will make its closest approach to the sun and then begin a journey back outward through the southern sky in December and January.
This interstellar apparition announced itself in August, when Gennady Borisov, a Crimean astronomer and veteran comet hunter, noticed a furry dot of light cruising through the stars of Cancer on a peculiar path. Astronomers around the world fell over themselves trying to find out where it came from and where it was going.
Was it another Oumuamua, the cigar-shaped rock — later determined to be the first-known interstellar comet — that streaked through the solar system in 2017? (A few scientists even proposed that Oumuamua was an alien probe, and radio astronomers aimed their antennas at it to listen in, but silence ruled.)
Mr. Borisov’s object looked like a comet from the outset. Astronomers quickly upgraded its name from BG00234 to C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) as they watched, measured and tried to confirm that it had come from outside the solar system.