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Gennady Borisov stunned the astronomical community earlier this year when he announced that he had spotted an interstellar comet dashing through our solar system.
He's already discovered another comet since then, but the dirty chunk of space ice — now officially known as Comet 2I/Borisov in his honor — may always be his claim to fame. And that object is coming as close to our sun as it ever will today (Dec. 8); professional and amateur astronomers alike will take the opportunity to look for the historic visitor.
Occasion - Space - Com - Russia - Space
To mark the occasion, Space.com asked Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, to put us in touch with Borisov, so we could learn more about his skywatching. This interview was conducted via email and has been edited for length and clarity.
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Borisov - Moscow - State - University - Physics
Borisov: After graduating from Moscow State University's physics department's astronomy faculty, I spent several years researching, but gradually went over to optics. I calculated optical schemes myself, filed and polished optics, assembled instruments for various tasks. Gradually, I started cooperating with various projects dedicated to watching the near-Earth space. Now my telescopes are working at several observatories.
Space.com: How did you become interested in skywatching, and what made you stick with it?
Borisov - Night - Sky - Space - Worlds
Borisov: Watching the night sky, space, faraway worlds, science fiction — these are childhood hobbies. The opportunity to discover something new, previously unknown is what attracts me. In this way, comets are very attractive objects — they are bright and...
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