Hubble gets snapshot of interstellar comet

Pictures captured by the Hubble Space Telescope show the second known interstellar object, 2I/Borisov, in all its cometary glory.

The images were taken by the telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 on Oct. 12, when 2I/Borisov was 260 million miles from Earth. The object was discovered by Crimean amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov in August, and since then its path has been traced to far beyond our solar system.

2I/Borisov is currently zooming through our celestial neighborhood at a speed of 110,000 mph. The comet won’t come any closer than 190 million miles to us, with the closest approach expected on Dec. 7 — and it’s on a course to leave our solar system for good.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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