The closest star to us is located between 3 and 4 light-years away, and that’s a large enough distance for us to be sure that no astronomer will be able to travel it during a human lifetime. Or at least that’s how things go considering the current technology. We can realistically hope that interstellar journeys will be totally feasible one day in the same way we’re now traveling to another city.
But while we won’t be able to travel to other solar systems anytime soon, we can consider ourselves lucky that asteroids belonging from such places are pretty close to us. Scientists from Exact Sciences (IGCE-UNESP) and São Paulo State University’s Institute of Geosciences in Rio Claro, Brazil recently discovered a whole population of asteroids belonging to other solar systems.
19 interstellar asteroids found in the Solar System
The cosmic objects are classified as Centaurs, and they revolve around the Sun in the area between Jupiter and Neptune. Maria Helena Moreira Morais, who is one of the co-authors of the study, declared:
The Solar System formed 4.5 billion years ago in a stellar nursery, with its systems of planets and asteroids. The stars were close enough to each other to foster strong gravitational interactions that led to an exchange of material among the systems. Some objects now in the Solar System must therefore have formed around other stars. Until recently, however, we couldn’t distinguish between captured interstellar objects and objects that formed around the Sun. The first identification was made by us in 2018,
Morais also explained that for investigating the origin of the cosmic objects, the scientists involved made a computer simulation that was running the trajectories of the asteroids backwards in time by 4.5 billion years. The simulation unveiled the mystery, enabling the scientists to conclude where the objects began.
The findings were reported in the Royal Astronomical Society’s Monthly Notices.