Do you remember that interstellar asteroid/thing from while back? - the unpronouncable Oumuamua.
Well, it looks very much like there's another object passing through our solar system, and this time we are seeing it's definitely a comet and is heading in from the outside so there will be lots of time to really study this one ... Oumuamua was only detected on its way out of the solar system.
"The new comet, C/2019 Q4, is still inbound toward the Sun, but it will remain farther than the orbit of Mars and will approach no closer to Earth than about 190 million miles (300 million kilometers)."
'So, in the end, this comet may be from an entirely different star system, but it doesn't look alien at all. ... Which is still extremely cool. Why? Because it shows us that a fundamental principle of astronomy is true. Stated simply, it's that the rules here are the same as the rules everywhere. The same physics, the same chemistry, the same elements, the same processes — the ones we see all around us are the same ones occurring everywhere.'
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"That white ghostly shroud surrounding the icy comet – which is currently drawing nearer to Earth – is called a coma: a cloud of gas and dust that drift into space as the object's icy nucleus sublimates in the heat of starlight.
In the case of 2I/Borisov, much of this outgassed matter trails behind the comet in an epic tail that currently measures almost 100,000 miles long – over a dozen Earth diameters in a row.
"It's humbling to realise how small Earth is next to this visitor from another solar system," says one of the Yale team, Pieter van Dokkum.
2I/Borisov is projected to reach its closest approach to the Sun in early December, and to Earth later in the month – after which it will continue on its way out of our cosmic neighbourhood, taking what remains of its icy mystery with it to whichever distant stars beckon next."
The comet is at its closest approach to the sun now, a bit beyond the orbit of the planet Mars. Closest approach to Earth is later this month on the 28th as our orbit round the sun swings us towards it.
Sadly it will need a very large amateur telescope to see it, as at its brightest it will be 15th magnitude so necessitating a telescope with a mirror of 15 inches diameter and an experienced observer. [The two fifteens are coincidental!]
It will now start its journey back into the depths of interstellar space.
Interestingly, it came from a direction very close to the famous [to amateur astronomers] double star cluster in Perseus.