The first observations of object C / 2019 Q4 suggest that it is an interstellar comet, the second object of this nature detected after Oumuamua , in 2017.
Comet C / 2019 Q4 is relatively large, and its diameter varies between 2 and 16 kilometers. In comparison, the diameter of Oumuama is estimated at 440 meters.
At first, C / 2019 Q4 was detected on 30 August by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov from the MARGO observatory in Naoutchny, Crimea. Its existence was subsequently confirmed by the data collected by American and European space agencies.
The object is currently 420 million kilometers from the Sun and will reach its nearest point at a distance of about 300 million kilometers from December 8.
Astronomers believe that it is a comet because of its fuzzy appearance, which tends to indicate that the object has an icy central body producing a cloud of dust and particles as it approaches the Sun.
Astronomers will continue to watch the comet in the coming months to better characterize its physical properties (size, rotation, etc.) and better identify its trajectory.
For the moment, its origins remain unknown, but the size of C / 2019 Q4 will better study it than its predecessor Oumuama.
In March 2018, astrophysicists at the University of Toronto at Scarborough claimed that Oumuama was ejected from a binary system , that is, from two stars in orbit around a common point. This hypothesis is supported by different models predicting the expulsion of celestial objects by binary star systems.