A new study has discovered a first for our solar system. The first known permanent immigrant from another solar system has been discovered in the form of an asteroid orbiting Jupiter. This is the first known asteroid to be captured in our solar system that originated from another star system.
The asteroid is known as (514107) 2015 BZ509 and scientists determined that it was from another star system because of the direction it orbits the planet. The object is orbiting in the opposite direction as other objects in our star system what’s called a retrograde orbit. If the object was originally from our solar system, it would have the same original direction as other planets and asteroids in our system.
The team ran simulations to trace the locations of (514107) 2015 BZ509 to the origins of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago. Those simulations show that the object has always moved in a retrograde orbit and had to be captured from another solar system.
The scientists say that asteroid immigration from other stars occurred because our Sun initially formed in a dense star cluster where each star had its own planets and asteroids. The proximity of those other stars attracted, removed and captured asteroids from one another.
Scientists say that understanding how and when (514107) 2015 BZ509 came to our solar system gives clues about the Sun’s original formative years and about the enrichment of the early environment on Earth.