Astronomers Just Found the First Interstellar Object From Beyond our Solar System

The comet passed within 23.4 million miles of the sun and is heading back into the interstellar wastes

Based on its current trajectory, the visitor came from the constellation Lyra and approached our solar from "above", perpendicular to the plane that most planets orbit the sun. An asteroid? A UFO piloted by little green aliens?

"If further observations will be able to confirm the unusual nature of this orbit, this object may be the first clear case of interstellar comets", - said the Deputy head of the global astronomical Union, Gareth Williams.

"We have been waiting for this day for decades", said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. Scientists surmise that this object might be a comet or an asteroid that originated outside the solar system. "So far, everything indicates this is likely an interstellar object, but more data would help to confirm it".

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A visualization of the path of that the asteroid or comet now named A/2017 U1 is taking through the solar system.

This unusual object - for now designated A/2017 U1 - is less than a quarter-mile (400 meters) in diameter and is moving remarkably fast.

It then made its closest approach to the Sun seven days later, before taking a "hairpin turn" and passing about 15 million miles under Earth's orbit on 14 October.

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The object was discovered October 19 by the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope during a nightly search for near-Earth objects, NASA said. Astronomers have seen objects with open-ended orbits like this before, but they were always nudged onto a hyperbolic path by outgassing (the warming and release of gasses as an object flies close to the sun, like air slowly slipping from a balloon) or gravitational interactions with planets. They would be able to give any information about the object only after collecting and analyzing sufficient data.

An unidentified object now hurtling through our solar system has fascinated NASA experts. "What's most surprising is that we've never seen interstellar objects pass through before", said Karen Meech, an astronomer at UH's Institute for Astronomy in Honolulu specializing in small bodies and their connection to solar system formation.

"It's going very fast and like a trajectory we can say with confidence that this thing is on its way out of the solar system and does not come back", he explained. It began traveling back above the plane and is making its way toward the Pegasus constellation. JPL hosts the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). We hardly knew ya. However, NASA had not acknowledged the existence of a planet which is similar to Nibiru.

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