Dec 3, 2019 - Science

Newfound interstellar comet shines as it moves closer to the Sun

A photo of the interstellar comet 2I/Borisov.

Photo: Pieter van Dokkum/Cheng-Han Hsieh/Shany Danieli/Gregory Laughlin

An interstellar comet spotted earlier this year is on its way to its close approach to the Sun this month, giving astronomers a close-up view of the visitor from outside our solar system.

What's happening: A new photo taken by Yale astronomers shows Comet 2l/Borisov's 100,000-mile-long tail and 1-mile-across nucleus in new detail.

Details: Astronomers are keeping a close eye on the comet in order to learn all they can about the composition of the interstellar object before it leaves our solar system in the coming months.

  • Images of the comet can help scientists learn about its chemical makeup and how similar or different it is to our own solar system.
  • So far, scientists have found that the comet appears to look quite similar to those found in our solar system, but as the interstellar visitor gets even closer, telescopes should be able to take more images, revealing not-yet-seen details about the object.
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