Newly released images from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope provide scientists with unprecedented details of the little comet.
Comet 2I/Borisov is 15 times smaller than it was first predicted and is considered to have come from beyond the outer edges of our solar system.
“Hubble gives us the best measure of the size of comet Borisov’s nucleus, which is the really important part of the comet,” astronomer David Jewitt from the University of California Los Angeles told Science Alert. “The radius is smaller than half a kilometre. This is important because knowing the size helps us to determine the total number, and mass, of such objects in the Solar System, and in the Milky Way.”
The comet was calculated as flying towards the Sun at around 175,000 kilometres per hour.
The images captured show a small blue light surrounded by an incredible glow. This “glow” is a fog of gas and dust that is defrosting as the comet is warmed as it comes closer to the Sun.
“Borisov is the first known interstellar comet, and we would like to know how many others there are,” says Jewitt.