A team of astronomers has located an ‘alien’ asteroid that originated from another solar system. The 2015 BZ509 asteroid travels close to Jupiter’s orbit and is unique in our solar system as it orbits the sun backward, contrary to the space objects in our system, reports Canadian Homesteading. Besides, its discoverers described it as is the first celestial object of another system that has been trapped by the gravity of Jupiter and our Sun.
2015 BZ509 is “the first interstellar immigrant discovered in the Solar System”
In our system, planets, natural satellites, and asteroids rotate in the same direction around the Sun, that is, counterclockwise. Thus, if 2015 BZ509 originated from our solar system, it would rotate as all the planets and moon in the system.
The space rock was discovered in 2015 using the Large Binocular Telescope of Arizona. Through simulations, the Paul Wiegert’s team at the University of Ontario confirmed that the asteroid is millions of years old and still intact.
The analysis shows that until the formation of our system, there was nothing that could have caused the asteroid to change direction. Therefore, 2015 BZ509 must come from another solar system and have entered ours later.
Astronomers Namouni and Morais, the two who discovered the ‘alien’ asteroid, consider it “the first interstellar immigrant discovered in the Solar System.”
2015 BZ509 might have come in our solar system about 4.5 billion years ago
“The Solar System could not generate retrograde orbits at that time, everything was moving in the same direction, so the only possibility left is that this body was captured from another star system,” explains Morais.
“The proximity of the star, in addition to the gravitational forces of the planets, helped these systems attract the asteroids of others, take them out and trap them,” she added.
It is possible that the asteroid was dragged by Jupiter’s gravity and is therefore anchored in its orbit to this day.
The ‘alien’ asteroid 2015 BZ509 is crossing with Jupiter two times every 11 and a half years. The shortest distance between the two is 176 million kilometers, thanks to which, the gaseous planet gives the asteroid a “gravitational pull” that allows it to continue its orbit without deviation.