Monthly Archives August 2021

The solar system may be full of interstellar objects than previously thought

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Interstellar objects don’t often visit the solar system, but there are a few notable ones. The first was Oumuamua, which means scout or messenger in Hawaiian, seen in 2017; while the second was the comet 2I / Borisov, the first rebel comet and the second interstellar object.

However, a recently published study claims that the solar system may be visited by interstellar objects more often than scientists previously thought.

    The solar system may be full of interstellar objects than previously thought

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has given astronomers their best glimpse yet of an interstellar visitor – Comet 2I / Borisov – whose speed and trajectory indicates it has come from beyond our solar system.

Interstellar visitors outnumber solar system objects in the Oort cloud

Amir Siraj, lead author of the study, said that before discovering the first interstellar comet, scientists had no idea how many interstellar objects exist in the solar system. The theory of solar system formation suggests that there are more solar system objects than interstellar visitors.

However, the opposite is true because experts have calculated that interstellar objects outnumber objects in the solar system. According to Forbes, this is only true for those objects in the Oort cloud.

Nasa said the Oort Cloud is the most remote region in the solar system, farther than the Kuiper Belt. The Oort Cloud is thought to be a large spherical shell surrounding the planetary system, like a large-walled bubble made of icy space debris the size of mountains. Also, it is believed to contain billions or maybe billions of objects.

Forbes further reported that the study titled “Interstellar objects outnumber solar system objects in the Oort cloud, published in tMonthly notices from the Royal Astronomical Society, suggests that native comets in the Oort cloud could be 10 times more numerous than interstellar comets.

However, these interstellar comets are not easily visible to humans from Earth. One reason could be that the comets that cannot be seen are those near or in the vicinity of Earth.

Another reason could also be the lack of technology to see the objects in the Oort cloud. However, with future improvements and space programs, scientists hope to see this remote region of the solar system up close.

“These results suggest that the abundances of interstellar objects and Oort clouds are comparable closer to the Sun than to Saturn,” Forbes cited, citing astrophysicist Matthew Holman.

ALSO READ: Fireball Over Brazil Could Have Interstellar Origins, Third To Cross Solar System

The study of interstellar objects could give indications on the formation of the solar system

Now that scientists have found two interstellar objects, their hunch that the solar system could be crawling with interstellar objects is confirmed. However, according to BBC Future, predicting how often they appear visible from Earth is extremely tricky.

Before Oumuamua and Borisov were detected, a first calculation in 2009 estimated the density of stars in the Milky Way. This includes assumptions that the matter ejected by each star is comparable to the sensitivity of available telescopes. This calculation says the scientists shouldn’t have seen the Oumuamua, but they did.

Siraj said the study of interstellar objects could help scientists unlock the secrets of the formation of the solar system. If the Oort Cloud is indeed dominated by interstellar objects, there must be more debris since the formation of the solar system.

RELATED ARTICLE: Hubble Telescope Takes Clearest Image Yet of Very First Confirmed Interstellar Comet

Find out more news and information from Space in Science Times.


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ISU Planetarium presents The Stars Tonight, August 14 – archyworldys

The Illinois State University Planetarium will offer a free presentation of The stars tonight at 3.30 p.m. on Saturday August 14. The stars tonight explores the planets, bright stars and constellations visible in the summer sky of central Illinois.

This live planetarium program complements a free outdoor stargazing session at 8:30 p.m. that evening, hosted by amateur astronomers from Twin City. Stargazing will take place at the Sugar Grove Nature Center in Funks Grove. There is no rain date. For more information on the Outdoor Stargazing Session, please visit the TCAA website at http://tcaa.us

The ISU Planetarium is located under the white domed roof at the east end of the Felmley Hall of Science annex, at the intersection of College Avenue and School Street, in Normal.

In accordance with the latest CDC guidelines and Illinois State University procedures, face coverings are required in all public indoor spaces at the University. This includes the ISU Planetarium.

For more information, please call the ISU Physics Department at (309) 438-8756 or visit our website through Google Illinois State University Planetarium.


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