A comet makes a pit stop near Jupiter but will eventually get flung into interstellar space - SYFY WIRE
Feb 26, 2021 1 min, 23 secs
However, an amateur astronomer noticed it appeared to be fuzzy, not point-like, which means it was more like a comet: Icy material on the surface turning into a gas as it's warmed by the Sun.

Hubble image of the unusual comet P/2019 LD2, which is currently orbiting the Sun near Jupiter, but will soon be ejected from the solar system.

Extremely temporary: Follow-up measurements to determine its orbit found it's actually in a similar orbit as Jupiter, and there's an excellent chance that, in the distant future, the mighty gravity of the giant planet will fling the comet out of the solar system entirely.

When that happens it will become an interstellar comet like 2I/Borisov or 'Oumuamua, interstellar objects that both recently passed through our solar system (and which, I'll note, are not alien spaceships).

The orbit of the comet P/2019 LD2 (white) is very similar to Jupiter’s (orange) though slightly tilted.

Artwork depicting a frozen object like an asteroid or comet in deep space.

They found it likely that it will only stay in its current orbit for 8 or 9 more years.

After that it will likely drop down into the inner solar system, becoming a Jupiter Family Comet.

It has a 50% of being ejected from the solar system in 340,000 years, which rises to 95% in 4 million years?

It's likely that, over the age of the solar system, billions of objects like this have been ejected?

And there are billions of stars like the Sun… which is why astronomers think the galaxy is loaded with rogue interstellar iceballs like P/2019 LD2, and why it's not so surprising that we see them passing through our solar system, too.


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