New Discoveries from Our Second Interstellar Visitor | SciShow News

New Discoveries from Our Second Interstellar Visitor | SciShow News

[♪ INTRO] This year, scientists have had a chance to
study something pretty mind-boggling: a comet that came from outside of our solar system. The comet appeared this summer, and on December
8th, it made its closest approach to the Sun. It’s called 2I/Borisov, and it’s only
the second interstellar object we’ve ever detected. The second interstellar interloper,
if you will. It’s traveled billions of kilometers to
get here, and so long as it’s in our neighborhood, there’s a lot we can learn from it about regions
of space far beyond our own. In fact, there’s a lot we’re already learning. Last week, NASA released a shiny new image
of the comet, and over the last few weeks, scientists have published a handful of new
papers about it. And so far, all this research is demonstrating
that 2I/Borisov is full of surprises. The comet was discovered this August by a
Crimean telescope engineer named Gennady Borisov. Who, for the record, discovered this comet
using a telescope he built himself! I have a hard time building IKEA furniture. After Borisov saw the object, he submitted
his findings to the astronomy community so more researchers could take a look. And ultimately, everyone’s early data indicated
that something was super weird. For one, this comet had a very weird orbit. Most objects around here travel in a closed
loop around the Sun, but 2I/Borisov seemed to have a highly hyperbolic orbit. In other words, it wasn’t actually orbiting
the Sun. Instead, it was on a path that would swing
around our star and then zoom off into the distance, never to return. Now technically, it is possible that something
within our solar system could get bumped into an orbit like that. There’s even some evidence of this happening on a smaller scale way out in the Oort Cloud beyond Pluto. But 2I/Borisov was traveling on a path that
was dramatically tilted compared to the rest of our neighborhood. It also seemed to be moving especially fast,
at more than 30 kilometers per second. So, with that kind of speed and orbit, well, scientists eventually concluded that this thing wasn’t from around here. We mentioned this discovery on SciShow Space
in late September, but since then, scientists have been observing 2I/Borisov
as much as possible. And some of their results have been published
over the last few days or weeks. Using images from various ground and space
telescopes, these researchers have characterized every aspect of the comet they could. They’ve calculated its size and shape, the
rate it’s losing mass, and how it reflects light in different wavelengths, something that can tell us about its composition. So, now we know a few things. Like, the data show that the comet’s body,
called the nucleus, is less than 500 meters across. And they also show that its dust tail, or
coma, has a similar composition to some comets from the Oort Cloud. In fact, based on these results, if this comet
had come from inside our solar system, it would be pretty unremarkable. Which that’s actually kind of remarkable. Especially if you compare this comet to the
only other interstellar visitor we know of: ‘Oumuamua, which zoomed past us in 2017. With its probably cigar-like shape and shiny
surface, ‘Oumuamua was among the weirdest objects anyone had ever seen. So, how come 2I/Borisov looks so normal, even
though they’re both from interstellar space? Well, we don’t know, and it’s way too
early to make generalizations. The most we can say from these 2 data points is that the 2 objects seem to come from 2 different spots. By working back from their current trajectories, scientists think 2I/Borisov came from the general direction of the constellation Cassiopeia. Meanwhile, ‘Oumuamua likely came from somewhere
in the direction of the star Vega. So maybe that explains some of the differences. But also, let’s be honest: 2 data points
representing all interstellar objects… It’s just not a lot to go on. As telescopes get better and better at resolving
faint objects, we may have better luck at making more
discoveries like this. But until then, we’ll be left with more
questions than answers. The good news is, one way or another, we are
not done with 2I/Borisov yet! While we only saw ‘Oumuamua on its way out
of the solar system, we caught 2I/Borisov while it was sill coming in, so we have more time to observe it. It will be making its closest approach to
Earth around December 28th, so we’ll be able to study it with the best precision yet. And that means there will be plenty more to
learn about our second visitor from interstellar space. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow
Space News! As December winds down, we wanted to remind
you about our Pin of the Month club. Every month, we release a new space-themed pin that you can use to celebrate your love of exploration. And this month, we’ve got one of an astronaut
riding around on the Apollo 17 lunar rover! It was designed by one of the amazing animators
on the SciShow team, and it’s really just so good. Also, it’s a great chance to tell people
about that one time we drove buggies on the Moon. If you want to get a pin for you or a friend,
they’re only available until the end of the month! You can find them at, or in the
merch shelf below this video. [♪ OUTRO]

100 thoughts to “New Discoveries from Our Second Interstellar Visitor | SciShow News”

  1. If it's unremarkable, according to Earth/human standards, then that is remarkabke in its own right. Assuming that it did come from outside our solar system, then just goes to show that there is a proven/existential amount of regular matter out there. This actually woild help astronomists/physicists gain more information on the universe.

  2. Oumoumoua (I butchered that spelling) was their first recon to gather intel, now this one is a follow up.

    I’m 99% sure a full blown attack will be laid out against our solar system

  3. So the Borisov comet resembles one from our solar system. Did we have a model of comet formation that said it shouldn't? SciShow seems to want to play this up as puzzling in some way.

  4. Some day someone will utter the phrase, "what an interesting time to be alive", for the very last time.

    … and this comet will still be traveling along it's way as if none of this had ever happened.

  5. Could Planet 9 be the object that put the comet in its weird tilted orbit? I thought that was one of the pieces of evidence in favor of Planet 9

  6. 0:52 it is full of surpises!
    – it came from outside the solar system
    -the coma is like something from the oort cloud but different

    is that it?

  7. I can’t find a video on this but you might have already done one. Why when looking at a model of our solar system, do all the planets have horizontal orbits? It’s like the sun is in the middle and the planets are round the edge but nothing is on top or below. What’s the deal?

  8. …30 km/s [02:01] is what Earth is doing but is not leaving any time soon—the comet must've been spotted doing 30 far-beyond Mars, to barely-escape… Also, there were three Apollo lunar rover missions…

  9. Is it possible that it moving at 30 kilometers per SECOND a possible reason it acted diff around our star or aliens? Prolly aliens again.

  10. We’ve gotten 2 interstellar items so far within relatively close time… what else and how much is still on it’s way…
    P.s. dec 28th is my birthday, seems the universe threw me a gift 🎁 😄

  11. I like that they were saying about Oumuamua these objects are extremely rare, and then we see a second interstellar object in a year. Maybe they're much more regular than we thought we just haven't been tracking properly until the last few decades.

  12. If you are still holding out hope that we could somehow deflect an Interstellar object, you are sadly mistaken… the universe could take us out at any moment, and there's nothing we could do about it. Just saying

  13. "Scientists have concluded that despite such curious observations that have startled the uninformed, public, concerning the hairpin turns that it makes (hence giving it the name, The Vomit Comet), annoying radio emissions, and laser firings through our asteroid belt, have assured us that this is a completely natural phenomena. They have also concluded that like Borisov, many comets must also have enough deuterium-tritium in their cores to produce those spectacular plasma firings, that the amateur astronomers have noted."

  14. Sounds like a 1950's Sci-Fi thriller:
    "I Borisoff is full of surprises"….
    It's filled with chocolate pudding 💩
    My God, Man! Do you know what you've just done? You've discovered A GIANT COSMIC ECLAIRE❗❗❗❗❗

    By the way, this 💩 was originally created to represent pudding, not a 3-coil steamer 😝

  15. I wonder what would happen if a similar comet was expected to make a return pass in another solar system, but instead we captured (decelerated) it for study. If there was intelligent life in that solar system who was studying the comet might realize that it hadn't returned as scheduled, and traced its disappearance to us. Suddenly, we would have contact (provided that each society survived long enough for the long-distance conversation). It might make an interesting movie….. provided it's nothing like the 1997 film Contact.

  16. Anyone else find it odd that with all the objects we have been tracking for how many years, we have just noticed the first 2 in the past 3 years? You would think we would have found more earlier, or found them further apart.

  17. But I note that only having 2 data points didn't stop conclusions being made about comets not bringing water to earth because our two examples didn't have the right quantities of the right kind of hydrogen. 🙂 Are we supposed to forget these things?


  19. I built my first telescope when I was 20 years old. I didnt have a job and had plenty of time to do things. Now that I have to go to work I don't do anything. That is why Einstein made discoveries, he had free time in the patent office. Progress can only happen when intelligent people have free time. This happens do to great economies.

  20. There are probably many more ISOs than we are currently spotting. When the LSST is online, I suspect that we are going to be spotting them like exoplanets.

  21. I believe they are disguised alien spacecraft… looking for new planets to colonize with a ready "food source"… 😲😉

  22. The second interstellar object that came to our system.
    Technically all the starts u see basically are interstellar and I'm pretty sure we've detected them…

  23. I would like to know if there is any way we could detect the composition of the tail and corona of the comet, specifically whether or not it contains the organic building blocks for life. If so, it would dramatically increase the likelihood that there is extraterrestrial life, and I would posit that extra-solar or interstellar comets are the means by which these compounds spread across the universe.

  24. Anything entering our solar system brings with it the trash its picked up along its way from its orginal orgin. Wats on or around it is deoosited here in our solar system and will evenually makes its way to our planet via the cosmic/solar winds. Eventually could be a day a week a month or a year, but it wiil makes its way ta our planet due ta Mua's powerful magnetic field. Will it start us ta evovle inta the greys we keep seein or reptilians😁 all kiddin aside maybe will finally evolve away from or violent tendencies. Stay safe all the new cycle is upon us.

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