It was on August 30, 2019, that scientists at NASA, ESA and the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) announced the discovery of 2I/Borisov (C/2019 Q4), an interstellar comet that reached the solar system from the deep nooks of the universe. The discovery was originally made by Gennady Borisov, an amateur astronomer.
Interstellar comet heading towards earth
Since its discovery, astronomers at space agencies including NASA have been studying the trajectory of Borisov. As per the recent analysis, scientists have now confirmed that this interstellar comet is now all set to make its close approach to earth.
A team of astronomers at Yale University who has been studying the comet's trajectory for the past couple of months has even taken a clear image of this comet that shows the formation of a tail as it gets closer to the sun.
Researchers captured this image on November 24 using the Keck I Telescope's Low-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer at the W M Keck Observatory in Manua Kea, Hawaii.
After analyzing the image, the team led by Pieter van Dokkum, the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Astronomy at Yale University revealed that the tale of this comet is 14 times larger than the size of the earth. However, the solid nucleus of the comet measures just one mile in diameter.
"It's humbling to realize how small Earth is next to this visitor from another solar system," said Dokkum in a recent statement.
Possibilities of an alien probe?
It should be noted that 2I/Borisov is the second known interstellar visitor that has reached the solar system, and the first one being the interstellar asteroid Oumuamua. After the discovery of Oumuamua, Avi Loeb, a researcher at Harvard University had suggested that this space body could be most likely an alien probe.
In order to substantiate his theory, Loeb claimed that the weird trajectory of the interstellar object is a clear indication of its artificial origin. However, when it comes to Borisov, neither Loeb nor other space experts have put forward the alien angle.