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Interstellar comet 'Oumuamua, illustration

Interstellar comet 'Oumuamua, illustration

C039/0139

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Credit

ESA / HUBBLE, NASA, ESO, M. KORNMESSER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ESA / HUBBLE, NASA, ESO, M. KORNMESSER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption

Illustration of the interstellar comet 1I/2017 U1 ('Oumuamua), discovered in October 2017. It is the first object to be confirmed as originating around another star. It came from the direction of the star Vega, which is 25 light years from the Sun. It is seen here as it is leaving the Solar System. The comet is venting gas (outgassing) on its sunward side, which is increasing its speed. Outgassing is typical of comets, leading to 'Oumuamua being reclassified from its previous status as an asteroid.

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