Celestial objects are normally found on their way out of the principal part of the Solar system and back into its outer reaches.
However, a recent discovery got astronomers hyped – They discovered a vast new object s it’s on its way from the far, outer solar system.
In the following decade, it may come to just a hair short of Saturn’s orbit before going back to the edge of the solar system.
Samantha Lawler, an astronomy professor from the University of Regina, explained that the discovery is impressive, as the astronomers have a chance of analyzing the comet in closer and learn more about it.
The discovery was made public on Saturday, and astronomers are working on follow-up observations on the object, known as 2014 UN271, to determine some critical aspects of it.
For starter, its distance, both currently and in the near future, is an important parameter to keep track of.
Distances are generally measured in astronomical units (AU). One astronomical unit is roughly the distance between the centre of the Earth and the centre of the Sun, approximately 93 million miles.
At the moment, 2014 UN271 is approximately 22 AUs from the Sun. As a reference, Neptune is approximately 29.7 AU from the Sun.
According to preliminary observations, it is believed that the object will come as close as 10.9 AUs from the Sun by 2031. Saturn is generally between 9 and 10.1 AU from the Sun, according to its orbit.
Some estimates suggest that the object may be coming from over 14,000 AU away.
Due to its eccentric orbit, the object needs approximately 600,000 years to complete a full circle around the Sun.