NASA tracking mysterious object from outside our solar system


It is less than 400 metres in diameter and is travelling at 25 kilometres per second.

A/2017 U1 was discovered October 19 by the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakala during the course of its nightly search for Near-Earth Objects for NASA.

Scientists have detected the dusty tails of six exocomets - comets outside our solar system - orbiting a faint star 800 light years from Earth. It could be the first interstellar object to visit the solar system that has been detected and observed by astronomers, NASA announced yesterday.

The astronomers are working on the data collected from telescopes around the world.

He said that while everything so far indicated the object was from outside the solar system, more data would be needed to confirm it.

Rob Weryk, postdoctoral researcher at University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA), was the first to identify the moving object and submit it to the Minor Planet Center. The images captured by the Pan-STARRS from the previous night also had the flying object.

"Its motion could not be explained using either a normal solar system asteroid or comet orbit", Weryk said in a press release. "It is going extremely fast and on such a trajectory that we can say with confidence that this object is on its way out of the solar system and not coming back".

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It is expected to depart our solar system soon, NASA scientist Davide Farnocchia said.

Until this discovery, all of the asteroids and comets we've identified have clearly originated from our solar system, forming from matter that was trapped around our Sun.

The team then figured out its provenance by observing its orbit. On 14 October, it made its closest pass by Earth, at 60 times the distance to the moon. It seemed to be coming from the direction of the constellation Lyra and had been cruising through the chilly void of interstellar space at almost 16 miles a second. So much material is flung about during the chaotic process of forming planets that it's likely some bits and pieces might escape and make their way to other solar systems.

By Minor Planet Center (MPC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where all the observations in small orbits in our solar system, named the asteroid as A / 2017 U1.

Since this is the first object like this to be discovered, there are no rules for naming it; The International Astronomical Union will have to create a naming convention.

"We have been waiting for this day for decades", said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies.

'It could be that it's coming from outside the solar system, but it's really hard to tell'.