2I/Borisov was officially registered in August 2019. The surveillance revealed that the interstellar comet has been strolling our Solar System for quite some time. Scientists searched through older data and found evidence that Borisov was lurking around since, at least, December 2018.
The interloper is believed to originate from the theoretical Oort cloud. Like lots of things in astronomy, the Oort cloud is thought and scientifically needed to exist, but it hasn’t been proved. Nor by sight, nor by irrefutable science.
So, it is a theoretical cloud of mostly icy solid objects thought to exist in protoplanetary disks and debris disks. It is the place where most of the long-period comets, such as Borisov, are believed to be coming from. Oort cloud supposedly surrounds the Sun at distances ranging from 2,000 to 200,000 au.
Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov Is Dying
Don’t think it is condescending when calling Borisov an interloper. It is a scientific term given to those interstellar objects that, besides not being gravitationally bound to a star, they pass during their trajectory close to a star. Interstellar comet Borisov passes close to or Sun. And as it did so, between 5 and 9 March, it swept out cometary outburst twice.
Polish scientists from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and the University of Warsaw concluded that this indicates fragmentation of the comet’s nucleus, which is typical dying behavior for a long-period comet.
The behavior was expected, given that Borisov is a long-period comet and not a short-period. Short-period comets are more resilient to phenomena such as getting close to the Sun. But long-period comets tend to disintegrate when confronted with such heat.
“For Solar System comets, it is known that dynamically new comets are ten times more likely to disintegrate than short-period comets, presumably due to their pristine state and weaker structural strength,” stated the researchers from the University of Maryland.