New Findings About The Chemical Composition Of 2I/Borisov, The Newfound Interstellar Object

The sighting of an interstellar object into our own Solar System is truly a magnificent achievement by the astronomers since it’s very difficult for an object to fully escape the gravitational pull of the star that it orbits. And let’s not forget how unimaginably huge distances among stars are, therefore an interstellar object has to travel for a very long time.

2I/Borisov is the newfound interstellar object hurling around in our Solar System, it’s actually a comet and it was named after its discoverer, the Crimean amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov. The object has already attracted huge attention from astronomers since many observatories are studying it, from the Very Large Telescope in Chile to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

What is it made of?

Everybody wants to know what can an object belonging to another solar system be made of. Scientists discovered that the comet 2I/Borisov contains cyanogen gas, a combination of carbon and nitrogen. They came to this conclusion while observing the spike in the ultraviolet spectrum. Nothing weird here, since this type of gas is also found in our Solar System.

There may be something else

2l/Borisov may have some other components besides the cyanogen gas. As time passes, the comet will release even more material due to the heat caused by the Sun, giving the scientists more homework. They will analyze all that material and establish what other chemical compounds are dwelling there. Therefore, who knows what else could lie in the composition of the interstellar object? 2I/Borisov’s travel to the Sun causes it to degrade slowly, and thus we may fully understand what it’s made of.

Surprising or not, the comet has been called a “planetesimal”, meaning an object that has the potential of becoming a planet if it will receive the amount of time needed and the right gravitational conditions.

You can see the research paper on pre-publication archive arXiv and it will be published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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