NASA has recently released never-seen-before images of the new mysterious object, 2I/Borisov that is known as the second object to have visited our solar system from elsewhere. The two “ghostly” images catch the first observed interstellar comet whizzing by the sun and in front of a distant.
On November 16 and December 9, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured two incredible and ghostly new photos of the interstellar comet 2I/Borisov. It was first noticed by a Crimean amateur astronomer who first gave its name. Scientists found ‘Oumuamua,’ in 2017, as the first comet and 2I/Borisov as the second interstellar object known to have visited our solar system.
During a discussion about 2I/Borisov on NASA TV's media channel on Dec. 13, NASA planetary astronomer Heidi Hammel said, "This object is, we believe, a visitor from interstellar space. It was discovered in August of this year, and based on what its observations and its orbit, we believe it is a comet from another planetary system."
According to NASA, in the first of these new images, taken on Nov. 16, the comet was approximately 203 million miles from Earth, seen in front of a distant spiral galaxy. 2I/Borisov was artificially coloured blue in both images so that it becomes easier to tell the comet apart from the spiral galaxy in the image from Nov. 16.
In the second image, that was taken on Dec. 9, Hubble spotted the comet after making the closest approach to the sun. 2I/Borisov reached speeds of 100,000 mph, 185 million miles from Earth. NASA revealed 2I/Borisov is a strange object that is likely no more than 3,200 feet or about the length of nine football fields. As per scientists, the object will come closest to Earth in late December, as it passes at 180 million miles away.
The 30-year-old telescope, Hubble capture the images that the scientists are researching. Scientists are expecting that the research will support the study of interstellar objects in general.
David Jewitt, a professor of planetary science and astronomy in a University of California, Los Angeles, stated that "Hubble gives us the best upper limit of the size of comet Borisov's nucleus, which is the really important part of the comet."
"Surprisingly, our Hubble images show that its nucleus is more than 15 times smaller than earlier investigations suggested it might be," Jewitt said.
He further claimed, "Our Hubble images show that the radius is smaller than half a kilometre [0.3 miles]. Knowing the size is potentially useful for beginning to estimate how common such objects may be in the solar system and our galaxy. Borisov is the first known interstellar comet, and we would like to learn how many others there are."