Morocco’s Oukaimden observatory detects gas molecules in a comet from another star system

Moroccan astronomical observatory, Oukaimden, has been part of a groundbreaking discovery, related to a comet from another star system. According to recent data, the observatory announced the detection of gas molecules in the unusual object.

2I/ Borisov, an interstellar from another star system. / Ph. DR
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Moroccan astronomical observatory, located in the commune of Oukaimden in the Atlas Mountains, has been part of a new groundbreaking discovery. The Oukaimden Observatory has been able to give more details about a recently discovered interstellar interloper.

Dubbed 2I/Borisov, the latter is an unusual object detected across the sky in August by amateur astronomer Gennadiy Borisov and originated from outside our solar system.

The discovery of 2I/Borisov is not the only exciting finding astronomers have been able to detect. With the help of the Oukaimden Observatory, scientists were able to reveal the first characteristics of this interstellar comet.

The detection of gas molecules 

In a press release sent, Monday, to Yabiladi, the Moroccan astronomical observatory revealed that it participated to «an historical discovery that has detected gas molecules in» the comet that comes from a different star system.

Data provided by TRAPPIST-Nord, a telescope operated by the Caddi Ayyad University in Marrakech and the University of Liege in Belgium, «made it possible» for a group of researchers to measure the «amount of comet dust emitted by 2I», the Observatory explained.

This discovery will «allow scientists to begin deciphering exactly what these objects are made of and how our home solar system compares with others in our galaxy», the same source added.

This was part of a paper on this discovery, co-written by PhD student of the Laboratory of High Energy Physics and Astrophysics (LPHEA) Youssef Moulane and submitted on 26 September to the Astrophysical Journal Letters for scientific peer review.

In the study, the researchers concluded that they «find the gas, dust and nuclear properties for the first active interstellar object are similar to normal solar system comets», Space reports.

«The next year is going to be extremely exciting, as we will be able to follow 2I's evolution as it zooms through our solar system», study co-author Oliver Hainaut of the European Southern Observatory said in a statement on the discovery.

This recent findings are added to similar discoveries made three years ago. In fact, 2I/Borisov is the second interstellar object detected after «Oumuamua». The latter is the first interstellar visitor discovered in October, 2017.

Article modified on : 2019/09/30 18h04

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