Using a sophisticated telescopic system, a researcher at the University of Hawaii identified earlier this month a small asteroid or comet that is moving at high speed in our solar system and is likely to have come from another solar system.
If this is the case, it will be the first time such an interstellar ‘visitor’ is seen from the earth, emphasizes the AMP. The mysterious object is known today as A / 2017 U1. “We have been expecting this day for decades,” said Paul Chondas, director of the National Center for Aeronautics and Space Administration for Near Earth Studies, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The object, having a diameter of 400 meters, immediately stood out for researchers coming from the direction of the constellation Lyra, just above the elliptical plane where planets and other asteroids rotate around the sun.
It passed right next to Mercury’s track on September 2, before being forced to make a big turn under our solar system due to the great gravity of the sun. The closest distance from earth ever was on October 14, when it was 15 million miles away.
“It’s going very fast, and it’s clear that we can safely say that this object is moving out of our solar system and not coming back,” Davide Farnoce told NASA. Astronomers watch the A / 2017 U1 with telescopes, hoping to use the data they record to confirm the origin of the object and learn what they can for its composition.