Astronomers spoke about the first observations of «interstellar» comet

© NASA / JPL-CaltechТак the artist has imagined a swarm of comets of the star KIC 8462852Astronomers spoke about the first observations of «interstellar» comet© NASA / JPL-Caltech

First «interstellar» comet 1I/U1 2017 turned out to be very similar in form, size and chemical composition of the rocky asteroids in the Solar system, say astronomers, who published an article in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

«Properties of this comet indicate that in the inner part of the Solar system in each moment of time is present in about 10 thousand of such objects. Each of them passes through our planetary family in about 10 years, which gives us the opportunity to observe new interplanetary «travelers» every decade,» says David Jewett (David Jewitt) University of California Los Angeles (USA).

Solar system, in addition to the eight «real» planets, Pluto and a few dozen dwarf planets, inhabited by countless asteroids and comets are small rocky and icy celestial bodies. Most of the known asteroids «live» in the inner Solar system the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, and comets in the so-called Oort cloud on its outskirts.

This «cloud» consisting of the comets and other icy bodies, located at a distance of 150 — 1.5 thousand astronomical units, the average distance between the Earth and the Sun, our star. Scientists believe it is a kind of landfill «building materials» are ejected from the Solar system during its formation, and are actively studying its inhabitants, hoping to solve the mystery of the birth of the Earth and other planets.

In mid-October of this year, the astronomers of project Pan-STARRS announced a stunning discovery – they were able to detect the first celestial body is trapped in the Solar system from the interstellar medium, moving toward the Sun from alpha Centauri and its neighboring stars. This object was named «comet», having a temporary name C/U1 2017, and it started to follow dozens of ground-based and orbiting telescopes.

Before the comet left earth space, scientists managed to get lots of pictures and data on its physical properties, which, as noted by Jewett, pointed to the fact that this object is more of an asteroid than a comet, as it has a fairly high density, and no visible dust «tail.» For this reason it was renamed 1I/U1 2017.

As shown by images from telescopes in the Canary Islands, followed 1I/U1 2017 at the end of October this year, this «interstellar» the asteroid has a fairly small size – its length and height is about 30-50 m and a width of about 180 meters, making it similar to a Rugby ball. Scientists call this property «fire extinguisher» for the reason that its surface is painted in a rusty red color.

Such an elongated shape is the main and virtually the only unusual feature of 1I/U1 2017 – it indicates high density and «entanglement» of his bowels, as otherwise he would have quickly disintegrated under the action of centrifugal forces. While scientists can not accurately calculate the speed of rotation of this asteroid, however, they assume that he can do one revolution around its axis in about 8 hours.

All other properties of this object, as I regret to note that planetary scientists in General do not differ from similar characteristics among the rocky asteroids, which are «the indigenous people» Sun. This, coupled with the small size 1I/U1 2017, says that between the orbits of mercury and Neptune are hiding tens of thousands of such objects, a targeted search which could give quick results.

Their discovery, according to Guitta, will help you find the answer to two interrelated question is to find out how 1I/U1 2017 and similar celestial bodies leave their planetary system, and check the «shell» if newborn the planet’s surrounding space by comets, asteroids and the «germ planet» on the surface which may remain traces of primitive life forms.