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A mysterious object with a diameter of 370 km is flying to Earth from the Oort cloud

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A mysterious object with a diameter of 370 km is flying to Earth from the Oort cloud

An object of extraordinary size (the diameter of 2014 UN271 is from 100 to 370 kilometers, it is one of the largest known objects that came from the outer part of the Solar System ) it will make its closest approach to the Sun in 2031, during which it will sweep past the orbit of Saturn and possibly turn into an exceptionally large comet.

flying to Earth from the Oort cloud

Astronomers are already anticipating possible "fireworks", but so far they cannot not only calculate its exact orbit but also determine what kind of "guest from deep space" it is. In terms of its size, it corresponds not even to an asteroid, but to a dwarf planet...

The mysterious object is called 2014 UN271, and it is currently located at a distance of 22 AU from the Sun (1 AU is the average distance of the Earth to the Sun), which means that it has already passed the orbit of Neptune. The Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union announced the discovery on June 19. This object will pass another 11.1 AU before reaching the perihelion point (the closest approach to the Sun) in 2031, after which 2014 UN271 will begin its long journey back to the Oort Cloud.

From the University of Regina in Saskatchewan (Canada), Astronomer Samantha Lawler explained that they noticed this object in data collected as part of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) program from 2014 to 2018. During this time, almost 40 separate observations of 2014 UN271 were made, which allowed astronomers to estimate its size, speed, and trajectory.

Initially, the object was seen at a distance of 29 AU from the Sun, and over the past seven years, it has passed a distance of 7 AU. It moves in an exceptionally elongated orbit, but the exact orbital period remains uncertain, its estimates range from 400,000 to 1 million years.

There is a lot of uncertainty about how far this object will fly from the Sun at the farthest distance,"

Lawler said:

The diameter of 2014 UN271 is from 100 to 370 kilometers, it is one of the largest known objects that came from the outer part of the Solar System. As noted by scientist Sam Dean, this is " undoubtedly the largest object that flies to us from the Oort cloud ever discovered."

Astronomers have calculated its size by measuring the reflectivity of the object; as it approaches, they will be able to further refine the size estimate.

However, if the object has a coma and a tail during perihelion in 2031, it will become one of the largest comets ever recorded. Other examples of large comets include Comet Sarabat (observed in 1729) with a nucleus about 100 km in diameter and comet Hale-Bopp, whose nucleus was between 40 and 80 km.

However, the fact that 2014 UN271 will turn into a comet in 10 years is not a guarantee. Comets are defined as celestial bodies that, as they approach the Sun, form a coma-the result of the sublimation of ice (when solid particles turn directly into a gas) - and a tail.

We expect that most bodies in the outer Solar System have a large proportion of ice, so they should start to sublimate if they get closer to the Sun. But whether this particular object will have a coma at its closest approach depends on how many times it has passed through the inner Solar system and what its exact composition is-it may have less ice in it than we expect.

Lawler explained:

As Lawler noted, the object can be heated to much higher temperatures than those it has experienced over the past million years or so. This can cause the gas release or thermal loads, which will lead to its destruction and disintegration into "separate pieces". where these "pieces" will fly, if this happens, no one can predict.

Astronomers also don't know whether 10.9 AU - the closest distance this object will be to the Sun during its current orbit - is close enough to ignite cometary activity.

So far, we really don't know much about this object. The most interesting thing is that we will find out very soon - within the next decade

says Lawler.:

PS: So far, no one knows what kind of giant object is flying to us from the Oort cloud - an asteroid, a comet, a dwarf planet, or an alien civilization that sent automatic probes in the past to search for habitable planets, after the appearance of an alien spacecraft in our Solar System in 2017, it received information about our civilization collected by probes and decided to pay us a visit?

Related tags:

UFO  Oort cloud  Solar System  space

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