Astronomers Have Spotted An Interstellar Comet Flying Toward Earth

A comet first spotted by a Ukrainian amateur astronomer looks to be just the second known object to visit our cosmic neighborhood from beyond the solar system. What could be an even bigger deal is the fact that this one was discovered as it’s still approaching us. CNET reports: The comet was found by Gennady Borisov of Crimea on Aug. 30, and went by the temporary name GB00234 until very recently. After being watched by several other observatories over the past few weeks, it was given the official name of C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) by the Minor Planet Center on Wednesday. From the start, the orbit of the comet seemed unusual: It appeared to follow a so-called hyperbolic trajectory, which means it does not orbit the sun and probably originates from far beyond our solar system. This comet is still inbound, and will not reach perihelion (its closest pass by the sun) until Dec. 10. Hopefully that will give scientists ample time to study it, a luxury we didn’t have with Oumuamua. And no, there doesn’t appear to be any risk that the comet will collide with Earth.

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