The Crimean amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov shocked the world last year when he discovered the second interstellar object ever: the 2l/Borisov comet. The cosmic object traveled across whole light-years from another solar system to ours. But as in the case of perhaps all the other things in life, the comet’s long journey has to come to an end.
Recent observations made by the Hubble Telescope are confirming that the interstellar comet is finally falling apart. However, this is not at all surprising information for anybody. The comet has been tough enough.
It appears as there are two cores
A team of scientists led by David Jewitt of the University of California Los Angeles said the following about the 2l/Borisov comet:
In contrast, images from UT 2020 March 30 show a clearly non-stellar core, consistent with two unresolved components separated by 0.1 arcsecond (180 km at the distance of the comet) and aligned with the main axis of the larger dust coma.
Images from the comet gathered previously on March 23 are showing a single inner brightness core. This is not surprising at all, considering that the 2l/Borisov comet passed the closest approach to the Sun recently, on 8 December 2019. The process is also called ‘perihelion’, and the exposure to the Sun’s heat causes the comet to disintegrate itself. More precisely, the comet is outgassing due to the high temperature from the Sun affecting the surrounding ice.
However, the 2l/Borisov is far from being so peculiar, as some people expected. For a cosmic object belonging to another solar system, it has features quite familiar to us. The comet contains cyanide, a component that is also found on the comets from our own Solar System. Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen’s University Belfast said the following:
We can see that this comet, in terms of the first type of gas detected, looks a little bit like comets in our solar system,
After all, the Big Bang Theory teaches us that all the matter from the Universe belongs to one tiny singularity. Therefore, our whole reality is made pretty much of the same stuff – many chemical elements from Earth had been found on stars, exoplanets, and so on.