Interstellar Comet Glimpsed - and it's BIG!

J Riff

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But, is it from this solar system originally? That may be hard, but perhaps not impossible to calculate.
 

Ursa major

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If it isn't coming from the direction of Libra.svg , then it ought to be...



...as that would allow us to call it: TheDustyLibra....
 

StilLearning

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But, is it from this solar system originally? That may be hard, but perhaps not impossible to calculate.
As I understand it the thing is doing quite a bit more than the speed needed to escape our solar system's gravity completely. And our solar system's movement through the galaxy has a random component to it, owing to the gravitational tugs it gets from the other stars... so the odds of it having left our solar system and then found its way home are pretty long, slam dunk. The odds of it having originated from another solar system are better, although I don't think anything can be definitively ruled out - and it does have some interesting similarities to comets from our solar system. I found quite an interesting interview with one of the astronomers tracking it here: 164: Postcards to the cosmos with Dr. Bannister — Spacepod
 

StilLearning

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I can never tell if people are being earnest or irreverent in text.... The Sun does orbit the centre of our galaxy, but its motion also has a few tens of km/sec of random 'proper motion' with respect to all the other stars ( it also bobs up and down through the galactic disk as it orbits) so every orbit it ends up in a different position relative to the nearby stars and other objects making up our galaxy. It mainly got this from it's birth (we think): When it formed it was part of a cluster of stars that were close enough to pull on each other with their gravity, and those random tugs gave it this motion that sent it out of the cluster (and did the same to the other stars, breaking the cluster up). Then that motion gets changed over time by the averaged gravitational tug of the other stars in our galaxy. So any wandering comet thrown out of our solar system would be unlikely to find its way home per se... although it would still be orbiting the centre of the galaxy with us. Ultimately such a comets fate would be falling into the galactic centre, not back to our solar system. This is my half remembered astrophysics lectures from uni, and a bit of bed time reading so... probably as clear as mud? The study of the proper motions of stars is called stellar kinematics, if you want to find out for yourself there are some links to start at...



Yes that's a Wikipedia page, but the list of sources at the bottom of the page makes for a good start point for reading on the subject.
 
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J Riff

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that thing is not from no other solar system, but it would change the story here, so let's all write some SF about wandering space junk,
and it will go away. Sometimes I'm tempted to go back to the NASA board, but the stories in here are slightly more believable.
 

StilLearning

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I haven't done a 'ground up' study using only my own gear on this thing... but it was discovered by an amateur who did exactly that (even built his own telescopes) and is being followed and studied by amateurs around the world, including at my local astronomy club- so this ain't no 'NASA says it's there, and NASA says it's doing this, and only NASA has the mega equipment to study this so you have to trust them' kinda deal.

You need a big telescope, but not so big lots of astronomy clubs won't have them, and the math and tracking to establish the comets path needs skill but nothing special.

Unless, of course, us evil scientists are all in it together and Hiding The Truth?

P. S. Just in case that is the direction you're going: The maths and tracking behind establishing the motion of an object in the night sky is based upon simple geometric arguments of the kind that are, again, open to test and verification by any amateur using easily available equipment. So the assumptions upon which the tracking rests are as solid as it's humanly possible to get - and they've been verified thousands of times by thousands of independant investigators, if not more.

You're entitled to your opinion on NASA, but this ain't to do with NASA - and by assuming it was you've shown you're basing you thinking on massively untrue assumptions.
That is very human and understandable, we all do it. But I know I'm not part of any conspiracy so I'm not gonna be convinced here. :D I know because they fired me for smoking in the Conspirators Only toilets, and using the neuralysers to get out of my student debt :D

Oh those Conspirator Only toilets....
 
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StilLearning

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If I am barking up the wrong tree I apologize, I realise that being skeptical of NASA doesn't make you a hardcore conspiracy nut. But this conversation seems to be starting like conversations I've had with conspiracy nuts, so I'm just making my position clear at the outset: Independant observatories have verified this object's existence and path, it is within the reach of large amateur telescopes (and isn't even at its closest approach to Earth yet, so will get easier to see and track).
 
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Serendipity

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What we need is a science fiction anthology about interstellar objects visiting the Solar System without aliens on board - we've had Scholz's Star, Oumuamua and now this comet. Trouble is it's too narrow a theme, isn't it?
 

StilLearning

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I did think of writing a short story set at the time Scholz's star went past - my protagonists were intelligent dino's with victorian era technology, tracking an object making the crossing from the Scholz star system to our own and how the possibility of a visitor from another star affect their society - being predators they instinctively ascribed hunter/prey motivations to things, and they crumbled under the growing conviction they were facing some sort of advanced super predator from space. I outlined it but never filled in the gaps.
 

farntfar

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First the surfboard
1575386173429.jpeg


Now the Phoenix asteroid
1575386325863.jpeg



If the next thing to arrive is a metal box, for heaven's sake don't start discussing philosophy with it.
 

Parson

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First the surfboard
View attachment 58408

Now the Phoenix asteroid
View attachment 58409


If the next thing to arrive is a metal box, for heaven's sake don't start discussing philosophy with it.

Grin .... I'm currently reading a novel entitled Winter World by A.G. Riddle and the first contact appears to be a "metal box." The novel is gripping and so far I'm in love with it.
 

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