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Astronomers spot first ever alien comet

Mukul : risingbd.com
Publish on: 2017-10-28 9:08:46 AM     ||     Updated: 2017-10-29 5:24:27 PM

Risingbd Desk: While comets regularly fly through our solar system, scientists believe they may have spotted a comet from another solar system passing by Earth for the first time.

The comet, called C/2017 U1 was spotted by a telescope in Hawaii on 18 October, and was then seen 34 separate times in the week after.

Based on its bizarre trajectory, astronomers believe C/2017 U1 may be the first comet ever seen that came from interstellar space and through our solar system.

While most comets follow ellipse-shaped orbits around the sun, this comet appears to orbit at an angle, and doesn't circle the sun.

Its orbital path suggests it entered our solar system from the direction of the constellation Lyra, looped around the sun, and will never return.

Speaking to New Scientist, Dr Simon Porter, a planetary scientist at Southwest Research Institute said: 'It's coming from very far away, but we can't actually backtrack how far away it started.

'It could be that it's coming from outside the solar system, but it's really hard to tell.'

Observations published by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Centre (MPC) suggest the comet likely escaped the orbit of another star.

The MPC said: 'Unless there are serious problems with much of the astrometry listed below, strongly hyperbolic orbits are the only viable solutions.

'If further observations confirm the unusual nature of this orbit, this object may be the first clear case of an interstellar comet.'

But not everyone is convinced that the comet comes from another solar system.

Dr Maria Womack, a planetary scientist at the University of South Florida said: 'It could have interacted with Jupiter or another planet in such a way that changed its orbit.

'When you think of photos of comets, they're a fuzzy blob.  People have to make determinations of where they think the centre is.

'Someone who is at the telescope has to make a call.'

Astronomers now hope to continue tracking the comet to learn more about its origin.

Source: The Mail

risingbd/Oct 28, 2017/Mukul