first_img Scientists Find Tiny Fragment of Comet Inside a MeteoriteNASA Telescope Captures Stunning Sight of 2018’s Brightest Comet A newly discovered comet may have originated outside our Solar System.Discovered late last month by Gennady Borisov at the MARGO observatory in Crimea, C/2019 Q4 has not yet been confirmed an interstellar comet.If it is, though, it would be only the second such object detected, following ‘Oumuamua, first spotted in October 2017.The unimaginatively named C/2019 Q4 is currently 260 million miles from the Sun, and will approach no closer to Earth than about 190 million miles on Dec. 8.After the initial detection, NASA’s Scout system (located at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California) automatically flagged the object as possibly interstellar.Its current velocity is high—about 93,000 mph, well above what is typical of objects orbiting the Sun at that distance, according to NASA scientist Davide Farnocchia.“The high velocity indicates not only that the object likely originated from outside our Solar System, but also that it will leave and head back to interstellar space.”Based on its fuzzy appearance, astronomers believe C/2019 Q4 has a central icy body that is melting into a cloud of dust and particles as it approaches the Sun.“The object will peak in brightness in mid-December and continue to be observable with moderate-size telescopes until April 2020,” Farnocchia explained. “After that, it will only be observable with larger professional telescopes through October 2020.The first known interstellar object to visit our Solar System was ‘Oumuamua—disappointingly not an extraterrestrial spacecraft coming to spy on Earth.In 2017, astronomers discovered the strange, oblong object—with characteristics of an asteroid and a comet—nicknaming it ‘Oumuamua, which translates to “scout” in Hawaiian.Early reports of the odd visitor led people to believe it could be an alien spacecraft. But a recent analysis, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, suggests otherwise.Red in color, the celestial body has a long, cigar-like shape and weird spin pattern, like a bottle lying on the ground and spinning on its side.More on Find Tiny Fragment of Comet Inside a MeteoriteNASA Telescope Captures Stunning Sight of 2018’s Brightest CometRubber Duck-Shaped Comet Has Been Blown Apart and Reborn Stay on targetlast_img