If you liked the 2007 sci-fi film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, then this news might get you excited. An unknown object has entered the solar system, and it is likely to have come from an alien world.
It was first spotted by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov in Ukraine on August 30; it is now called C/2019 Q4 and has an orbit in the shape of a hyperbola.
It is moving too fast to be pulled in by the sun’s gravity, which would mean that it hails from outside our solar system. However, more observations are needed to confirm this theory. If it turns out to be true, then the object will be given a name that starts with 2I (which denotes that it's the second interstellar object detected), Firstpost reported.
Here's a remarkable animation of #gb00234, which may be our second known interstellar visitor, taken by astronomer Gennady Borisov - who discovered the object.2l/Borisov, perhaps?(source: https://t.co/vkYXrK6KBC) pic.twitter.com/WObsGj3HJH— Jonathan O’Callaghan (@Astro_Jonny) September 11, 2019
When an interstellar object had entered the solar system for the first time, it was caught too late by the astronomers and scientists, leaving them with really little time to study it. The asteroid Oumuamua was retreating the solar system when it was noticed by the experts.
In an interview with Business insider, Oliver Hainaut, the astronomer who studied the first asteroid said, "We had to scramble for telescope time," Hainaut said. "This time we are ready.”
Hainaut further said, “The main difference from Oumuamua and this one is that we got it a long, long time in advance."
An early image of C/2019 Q4 shows that it is followed by a small tail or a halo of dust, which could mean that it is a comet. Comet tails are made up of gas and dust particles and are usually on the opposite side of the sun (Could it not be an exhaust plume from an interstellar engine?).
The report added that since they have time, scientists will study the rock in detail. They are trying to plot the trajectory of the object. This will also help determine if this space rock is of interstellar origin or if it originated within our Solar System.
The object will pass Mars and if it is an interstellar object then scientists will be able to study it till it leaves our solar system in 2021.