Small space object pays a visit to our galaxy

Observations are still underway and if so, then it would be the first "interstellar object" to be observed and confirmed by astronomers.

Small space object pays a visit to our galaxy
Image credit: NASA

New Delhi: Scientists have recently spotted a small space object, an asteroid or perhaps a comet, to have visited our galaxy from outside the solar system.

Observations are still underway and if so, then it would be the first "interstellar object" to be observed and confirmed by astronomers.

Astronomers aren't entirely sure what this object is. They initially called it a comet, but after failing to spot its coma, the cloud of gas and dust that surrounds a comet's core, they revised their designation and declared it an asteroid.

This unusual object – for now designated A/2017 U1 – is less than a quarter-mile (400 meters) in diameter and is moving remarkably fast, says NASA.

Astronomers are urgently working to point telescopes around the world and in space at this notable object.

Once the data is obtained and analyzed, astronomers may know more about the origin and possibly composition of the object.

A/2017 U1 was discovered October 19 by the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakala, Hawaii, during the course of its nightly search for near-Earth objects for NASA.

Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, was first to identify the moving object.

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