On September 10th, a tweet caught my attention:
Apparently the object named #gb00234 was a second interstellar object on a hyperbolic trajectory through the solar system! Over the next couple days, more information about the object was posted:
Then I saw this post, which had the comet’s name: C/2019 Q4:
I plugged the name into JPL’s Small Body Database Browser, and found it!
Dr. Heidi Hammel tweeted that she wished people would not post about this new object using the image of asteroid ʻOumuamua, the first interstellar object detected:
So I created the new object in SpaceEngine, with an oblateness value of 0.8, and used that image as this post’s header – go ahead and use that image if you wish!
Here’s the artist impression image of asteroid ʻOumuamua to jog your memory:
This new object will be visible for months, making it’s closest approach to Earth in December; astronomers will have lots of time to observe it! I’ll be following developments, and keep you posted in my In the Sky posts.