By Amanda Barnett, CNN
(CNN) — Astronomers all over the world are attempting to trace down a small, fast-moving object that’s zipping by way of our photo voltaic system.
Is a comet? An asteroid? NASA’s unsure. The area company does not even know the place it got here from, nevertheless it’s not behaving just like the native area rocks and meaning it is probably not from our photo voltaic system.
If that is confirmed, NASA says “it could be the primary interstellar object to be noticed and confirmed by astronomers.”
“We’ve got been ready for at the present time for many years,” Paul Chodas, supervisor of NASA’s Heart for Close to-Earth Object Research, mentioned in a NASA information launch. “It is lengthy been theorized that such objects exist — asteroids or comets shifting round between the celebs and sometimes pbading by way of our photo voltaic system — however that is the primary such detection. Thus far, every little thing signifies that is doubtless an interstellar object, however extra information would badist to verify it.”
NASA says astronomers are pointing telescopes on the bottom and in area on the object to get that information.
For now, the thing is being referred to as A/2017 U1. Consultants suppose it is lower than a quarter-mile (400 meters) in diameter and it is racing by way of area at 15.eight miles (25.5 kilometers) per second.
It was found October 19 by the College of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakala, Hawaii.
Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher on the College of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, was the primary to establish the thing and instantly realized there was one thing totally different about it.
“Its movement couldn’t be defined utilizing both a standard photo voltaic system asteroid or comet orbit,” he mentioned. “This object got here from outdoors our photo voltaic system.”
No matter “it” is, the thing is not a risk to Earth.
NASA say that on October 14, it safely handed our house world at a distance of about 15 million miles (24 million kilometers) — that is about 60 instances the gap to the moon.
The place’s it going? Scientists suppose the thing is heading towards the constellation Pegasus and is on its method out of our photo voltaic system.
“That is probably the most excessive orbit I’ve ever seen,” mentioned Davide Farnocchia, a scientist on the Heart for Close to-Earth Object Research. “It’s going extraordinarily quick and on such a trajectory that we will say with confidence that this object is on its method out of the photo voltaic system and never coming again.”
“It” might ultimately get a greater title than A/2017 U1, however because the object is the primary of its sort, the Worldwide Astronomical Union must provide you with new guidelines for naming the thing.
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