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  • NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has given astronomers their best look yet at an interstellar visitor – comet 2I/Borisov – whose speed and trajectory indicate it has come from beyond our solar system. Hubble photographed the comet at a distance of 260 million miles from Earth. This Hubble image, taken on October 12, 2019, is the sharpest view to date of the comet. Hubble reveals a central concentration of dust around the nucleus (which is too small to be seen by Hubble). The comet is falling past the Sun and will make its closest approach on December 7, 2019, when it will be twice as far from the Sun as Earth. The comet is following a hyperbolic path around the Sun and will exit back into interstellar space. Comet 2I/Borisov is only the second such interstellar object known to have passed through the solar system. In 2017, the first identified interstellar visitor, an object formally named 'Oumuamua, swung within 24 million miles of the Sun before racing out of the solar system.
    NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (UCLA)
    NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has given astronomers their best look yet at an interstellar visitor – comet 2I/Borisov – whose speed and trajectory indicate it has come from beyond our solar system. Hubble photographed the comet at a distance of 260 million miles from Earth. This Hubble image, taken on October 12, 2019, is the sharpest view to date of the comet. Hubble reveals a central concentration of dust around the nucleus (which is too small to be seen by Hubble). The comet is falling past the Sun and will make its closest approach on December 7, 2019, when it will be twice as far from the Sun as Earth. The comet is following a hyperbolic path around the Sun and will exit back into interstellar space. Comet 2I/Borisov is only the second such interstellar object known to have passed through the solar system. In 2017, the first identified interstellar visitor, an object formally named 'Oumuamua, swung within 24 million miles of the Sun before racing out of the solar system.
  • This illustration shows the path of comet 2I/Borisov through our solar system. This visitor came from interstellar space along a hyperbolic trajectory. It is only the second known intruder to zoom through our solar system. (The interstellar object 'Oumuamua was detected in 2017.) As the graphic shows, the comet's straight path across interstellar space is slightly deflected by the gravitational pull of our Sun. The comet is traveling so fast, at 110,000 miles per hour, it will eventually leave the solar system. The panel on the right shows the comet's position relative to Earth when the Hubble Space Telescope observed it on October 12, 2019, when the comet was 260 million miles from Earth. The background star field in the left panel is the constellation Eridanus. The background field in the right panel is the constellation Sagittarius.
    NASA, ESA, and J. Olmsted and F. Summers (STScI)
    This illustration shows the path of comet 2I/Borisov through our solar system. This visitor came from interstellar space along a hyperbolic trajectory. It is only the second known intruder to zoom through our solar system. (The interstellar object 'Oumuamua was detected in 2017.) As the graphic shows, the comet's straight path across interstellar space is slightly deflected by the gravitational pull of our Sun. The comet is traveling so fast, at 110,000 miles per hour, it will eventually leave the solar system. The panel on the right shows the comet's position relative to Earth when the Hubble Space Telescope observed it on October 12, 2019, when the comet was 260 million miles from Earth. The background star field in the left panel is the constellation Eridanus. The background field in the right panel is the constellation Sagittarius.
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