New Image Of Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov Shared

The interstellar comet known as 2I/Borisov is the first such comet that the Hubble space telescope has observed. Astronomers have shared a new image of the comet that was taken using the W.M. Keck Observatory's Low-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer in Hawaii.

The resulting image is the closest look yet at the interstellar comet since it was discovered last summer. The single image is made up fo two images with the left side being 2I/Borisov alone and the right side being the comet with an image of Earth for size comparison.

The new photo looks at the huge tail of the comet that scientists say extends for nearly 100,000 miles. That makes it 14 times the size of Earth, according to Yale researchers. One Yale astronomer called Pieter van Dokkum said that it is humbling to realize how small Earth is next to the visitor from another solar system.

2I/Borisov will make its closest approach to Earth on December 8 when it comes within 190 million miles of Earth. After that closest approach, it will continue through the solar system back into interstellar space, never to be seen again. The scientist thinks that the comet originated in another star system but was kicked out after a near-miss with a planet.

New details have been learned about the comet since it was first discovered. Its cometary core is a mile wide, and its has begun to look more "ghostly" as it reacts to the heat of the sun. It's also has a noticeable reddish hue. 2I/Borisov will be observable with moderate-size telescopes until April 2020, after that, it will only be observable with larger professional telescopes. Scientists say that future observations will shed more details on its path.