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Astronomy Club Meeting

Interstellar Comet Borisov

What
  • Davis-Explorit Astronomy Club
When Dec 07, 2019
from 07:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Where Explorit Science Center
Contact Name
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Interstellar visitor Comet Borisov

 

Comet Borisov is unique as it is the first known interstellar comet visitor observed in our solar system. Discovered on August 30, 2019 by amateur astronomer Gennadiy Borisov, the comet has been subsequently observed to be hurtling at a great speed towards the sun in a hyperbolic and inclined orbit indicating it is not gravitationally bound to the sun. The comet is formally designated as 2I/Borisov, with the 'I' indicating it is an interstellar object that originated beyond our solar system and will eventually exit the solar system after its foray past the vicinity of the sun.

The comet will make its closest approach to the sun on December 8, 2019 at a distance of 190 million miles and its closest approach to earth on December 28 later in the month at a distance of about 176 million miles. Observations made by the Keck Telescope in Hawaii in late November show that the comet has already developed a 100,000 miles long tail. However, because of the relatively small size of the its nucleus, the comet will not be bright enough to be visible in binoculars or small telescopes.  

Comet Borisov is only the second object detected in our solar system that is confirmed as a visitor from interstellar space. Extrasolar body ʻOumuamua was first observed on October 19, 2017 as it was leaving the solar system after making its nearest approach to the sun 40 days earlier on September 9. Officially designated 1I/2017 U1, this elongated object may be an asteroid, a comet, or a comet remnant. 

Join the Davis Astronomy Club on Saturday, December 7 starting at 7pm at Explorit Science Center (3141 5th Street, Davis) at the free public meeting for all ages where we will discuss the interstellar visitors to our solar system indoors followed by a star party outdoors, weather permitting.

For more information, please contact Vinita Domier at vcdomier@yahoo.com.

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