Tech & Science Researchers observe the first known interstellar comet

07:47  26 october  2017
07:47  26 october  2017 Source:   Engadget

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Now, however, it looks like astronomers might have found a comet of interstellar origin. These are preliminary findings, and there's more work to be done before researchers can be completely sure.

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  Researchers observe the first known interstellar comet © Provided by Engadget To date, every comet humanity has seen inside the Solar System has come from the Solar System, whether it's the Kuiper Belt or the billions of comets believed to make up the Oort Cloud. Now, however, it looks like astronomers might have found a comet of interstellar origin. They've used Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope to track C/2017 U1, an object with a very eccentric, hyperbolic orbit (that is, moving quickly enough to escape gravitational pull) that wasn't connected to the Sun. The trajectory suggests that it's a comet which escaped from a nearby star, rather than something knocked out a familiar path and drawn in by the Sun's gravity.

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"If further observations confirm the unusual nature of this orbit," notes Gareth Williams, the MPC's associate director, "this object may be the first clear case of an interstellar comet ." Fragmenting meteor fireball observed over the Netherlands.

These are preliminary findings, and there's more work to be done before researchers can be completely sure. If they confirm the orbit, though, it'll expand our understanding of space: we'll have tangible evidence that star systems can "swap" comets if the circumstances are right. The concept wasn't far-fetched given that comets are fairly common, but it's good to have tangible proof.

  Researchers observe the first known interstellar comet © NASA/JPL/Horizons



NASA has found another 20 promising planets for humans to colonize .
An international team of scientists has found 20 more exoplanets that might sustain human life.  The space telescope, Kepler, was launched in 2009 with the specific mission to find extrasolar planets. And scientists have used its data to confirm thousands of them. Kepler broke in 2013, but the area of space it recorded over the four years it was operational contained over 150,000 stars, so there’s still a lot of data to go through.

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