Images are Starting to Come in of the New Interstellar Comet

Universe Today | 9/14/2019 | Staff
TitanSwimr (Posted by) Level 3
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On August 30th, amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov spotted a comet of extrasolar origin passing through our Solar System. This is the second time in as many years that an interstellar object has been observed (the last being ‘Oumuamua 2.0 in 2017). Thanks to the Gemini Observatory, we now have pictures of this comet, making it the first object of its kind to be successfully imaged in multiple colors!

The comet, designated C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), was captured by the Gemini North Telescope’s Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph on the night of September 9-10th. The image showed a very pronounced tail, which is indicative of outgassing and confirms that the object is a comet. This is another first, where C/2019 Q4 is the first interstellar visitor to clearly form a tail as a result of outgassing.

Andrew - Stephens - Astronomer - Gemini - Observatory

Andrew Stephens, an astronomer with the Gemini Observatory, was responsible for coordinating the observations. As he explained:

“This image was possible because of Gemini’s ability to rapidly adjust observations and observe objects like this, which have very short windows of visibility. However, we really had to scramble for this one since we got the final details at 3:00 am and were observing it by 4:45!”

Color - Image - Gemini - Observations - Color

The color image was produced by combining the Gemini observations, which were taken in two color bands. These were obtained as part of a...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Universe Today
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