Recently, strange activity was spotted regarding the interstellar Comet Borisov. Pictures of the space object captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope on March 28 and March 30 display an intriguing yet strange phenomenon.
The comet appears to have an elongated nucleus with two different components. Back on March 23, Comet Borisov’s nucleus appeared as a single entity. The two-spotted pieces, though, are approximately equally bright, but not in size, according to astronomer David Jewitt.
Interstellar Comet Borisov’s Nucleus Has Changed
The Hubble Space Telescope captures the dust in those photos. So, what we see in the latest shots is not Borisov breaking apart, but only a little dropout. Comet Borisov might have lost around 0,1 % to 1 % of its total volume. Still, the scientists don’t know that for sure. The possibility that something bigger occurred is discussed. Jewitt and his team try to understand such a transformation, and more Hubble shots might help a lot.
Comet Borisov was spotted for the first time back in August 2019. The space object realized its closest approach to our host star later on in December. Borisov is the second found interstellar body ever detected in our solar system.
The first one was the mysterious and strange space object, dubbed “Oumuamua,” whose multilayered oddness has made scientists believe it might be an alien spaceship. But, Oumuamua was already moving toward the outer solar system when it was observed. Comet Borisov hadn’t yet circled our host star in August 2019, meaning scientists could track it for longer and in better detail.
It’s not such an odd thing to observe a bunch of fragments flying off the interstellar comet now, according to Jewitt. He doesn’t believe, however, that such a phenomenon is the result of an impact, the comet had suffered. Further observations of the Hubble Space Telescope will help Jewitt and his team to figure out what’s happening up there.