Astronomers were astonished enough when they located interstellar visitors last year – the 2l/Borisov and ʻOumuamua comets. As we’re marching through time and space along with the Earth, things can get far weirder than anyone could ever expect.
The Centaurs asteroids are the head of the show now, as scientists Fathi Namouni at the Université Côte d’Azur in France and Helena Morais from UNESP in Brazil are believing that the space objects belong from places beyond our solar system – from other stars. The space rocks are orbiting Jupiter, and they have highly inclined orbits compared to the plane of the rest of the planets.
19 asteroids are likely to originate from another Solar System
The scientists built a computer simulation and played within it in reverse the behavior of millions of imaginary objects that fit the (514107) 2015 BZ509 asteroids’ orbital parameters. Most of the simulated objects crashed into the Sun and on other planets. Others were pushed away from the solar system.
Namouni and Morais continued their research by running similar reverse-time computer simulations for more Centaurs asteroids. For 19 of the asteroids, the stable orbits took on orientations relative to the planets that couldn’t be explained if the objects were born in our own solar system. Thus, scientists concluded that they’d found a whole population of asteroids captured from outside the solar system.
2l Borisov was the second ever discovered interstellar visitor when the Crimean amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov shocked the world last year and found the object. As you’ve already guessed, the cosmic object was named after the astronomer that discovered it. Thus, Mr. Borisov discovered the second interstellar object ever: the 2l/Borisov comet. This object traveled across entire light-years from another solar system to ours.
The findings regarding the Centaurs asteroids were published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.