British Astronomical Association
Supporting amateur astronomers since 1890

Secondary menu

Main menu

Home Forums Comets
Terms of use

gb00234, a bright interstellar comet?

13 posts / 0 new
Last post
nickjames's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: 12/10/2013 - 18:16
gb00234, a bright interstellar comet?

This comet, gb00234, is currently on the PCCP. The best-fit orbit by Bill Gray has it with an eccentricity in excess of 3. If confirmed this will be the first certain example of an interstellar comet. Observations and astrometry should be a priority. It is currently around mag 18. An image by Borisov is here.

nickjames's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: 12/10/2013 - 18:16
Now designated C/2019 Q4

Now designated C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) in the MPEC here.

David Boyd's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 hours 42 min ago
Joined: 05/03/2014 - 09:02
Interstellar comet 2I/Borisov

There is a preprint in arXiv this morning about this object at https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.05851

djswan2002's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 min 26 sec ago
Joined: 20/04/2017 - 19:58
A not-very-impressive image

The comet moved away from a mag 13.4 star and I managed to get a set of frames before the sky started brightening noticeably. The sky was excellent though and I saw Sirius rising! Taken through a Baader V filter.

Attachments: 
nickjames's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: 12/10/2013 - 18:16
An extraordinary object

David. Thanks for this image. It may not look that impressive but it is extraordinary that we are now able to discover and track objects like this which have come from interstellar space. I'm sure that the pros will be doing everything they can to get a spectrum of this object in the near future. I've not been around to image this yet but will try as soon as I get the opportunity. It is not often that you get the opportunity to image a chunk of ice from another star system with an amateur telescope.

djswan2002's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 min 26 sec ago
Joined: 20/04/2017 - 19:58
Agree

Yes. I think I read somewhere that if the comet interceptor mission had already been deployed, this would have been one helluva target.

nickjames's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: 12/10/2013 - 18:16
Nice idea but the perihelion

Nice idea but the perihelion distance is around 2 au so comet interceptor wouldn't have been able to get close. I managed to get it this morning despite the annoyingly bright Moon.

djswan2002's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 min 26 sec ago
Joined: 20/04/2017 - 19:58
2I?

Good image. I suspected there would be significant constraints but didn't know the detail - the idea was probably put forward by that comet Hergenrother journalist!

nickjames's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: 12/10/2013 - 18:16
Interestingly someone at ESA

Interestingly someone at ESA implies that this would have been possible in this Twitter thread but I don't think it is. As I understand it the best case delta-V of comet interceptor from L2 is around 3 km/s. If that was all used as a prograde, in-plane impulse it wouldn't be enough to raise the aphelion to 2au (the Earth's velocity around the Sun is around 30 km/s). 

pmulli's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 28 min ago
Joined: 13/01/2016 - 14:06
Nomads

Is it possible that objects like Borisov, asteroids, comets, even free floating planets permeate the vast regions of interstellar space.  So objects like Borisov and Oumuamua are like nomads of the Galaxy having chance encounters with other Solar systems.  If this is the case wouldn't it be difficult to pin down the home star of these objects.  Would more of them have a tendency to enter the Solar system from the direction of the Solar apex, the 19.5Km/sec motion of the Sun through space.

Peter     

Xilman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 15 min ago
Joined: 24/03/2018 - 15:17
Cometary trajectories

I'd expect more to come from the hemisphere around the solar apex but we're going to be in the small number statistics regime for a long time yet.  Even if interstellar objects are found annually it will be a few decades before the statistics are good enough to make a definitive statement.

I see very little chance of determining their original star.  Unless they were ejected very recently from a very close neighbour the perturbations from other stars will make the trajectory very curvy.  It takes a long time to travel anywhere at only 30km/s (chosen because it make the arithmetic easier --- it is 0.0001c).  At that speed it takes over 3 million years to travel 100 parsecs --- close by in galactic terms.

obrazell's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 3 min ago
Joined: 05/03/2014 - 07:38
Image

Nice image from Gemini https://www.gemini.edu/node/21240 something for Pete, Nick and Denis to aim for :-)

Owen

Grant Privett's picture
Online
Last seen: 8 min 38 sec ago
Joined: 28/12/2014 - 18:30
Gemini image

I imagine a C14 was rather cheaper than the Gemini though....