Home NASA Visitor from Far, Far Away Spotted in Our Solar System (Videos)

Visitor from Far, Far Away Spotted in Our Solar System (Videos)

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This animation shows the path of A/2017 U1, which is an asteroid -- or perhaps a comet -- as it passed through our inner solar system in September and October 2017. From analysis of its motion, scientists calculate that it probably originated from outside of our solar system. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A small asteroid or comet that has been spotted racing through our solar system may have come from elsewhere in the galaxy, U.S. space scientists say, possibly marking the first such interstellar visitor observed from Earth. Samantha Vadas reports.


A visitor from interstellar space has likely been spotted in our solar system for the first time ever.

The object, known as A/2017 U1, was detected last week by researchers using the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii.

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“We have been waiting for this day for decades,” Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.

“It’s long been theorized that such objects exist — asteroids or comets moving around between the stars and occasionally passing through our solar system — but this is the first such detection,” Chodas added. “So far, everything indicates this is likely an interstellar object, but more data would help to confirm it.”

Chodas and other researchers base this preliminary conclusion on A/2017 U1’s hyperbolic orbit — the fact that its path is taking the body out of the solar system. Other hyperbolic objects have been spotted before, but they were nudged onto escape trajectories by gravitational interactions with planets, said Matthew Holman, director of the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the organization responsible for collecting data about asteroids and comets in our solar system.  

NASA video: Did you ever wonder how NASA spots asteroids that maybe getting too close to Earth for comfort? 

[vc_btn title=”Continue reading” style=”outline” color=”black” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.space.com%2F38580-interstellar-object-spotted-comet-asteroid-mystery.html|title:Continue%20reading|target:%20_blank|”][vc_message message_box_style=”outline” message_box_color=”black”]Space, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, Oct. 30, 2017 

Video by Reuters.com

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