Scientists are baffled by a mysterious asteroid that orbits backward around the planet Jupiter. According to them, this is the first “interstellar immigrant” from outside our solar system which will apparently stick around for a while. A new study, which the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society recently published, says that the official name of the asteroid is 2015 BZ509, and it is 2-mile wide. Apart from this, it is reportedly in retrograde, meaning that it appears to orbit in the opposite direction of the other planets in our solar system.
According to Dr. Fathi Namouni, the lead author of the study, the team is yet to figure out how this unusual asteroid came to move like that on Jupiter’s orbit. Had the asteroid been a native object from our solar system, it should have moved like all the other planets. This proves that it is not from here, but from somewhere beyond. The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System actually first spotted the object back in November 2014. Since then, experts have wondered for how long it has been in our solar system.
The bizarre, retrograde asteroid from beyond our solar system
Now, after entire years of research, scientists think that they might have figured out an answer. The asteroid probably has around 4.5 billion years since it has been here. It’s interesting that this discovery comes only a few months after experts have discovered another interstellar guest, the first one, and they called it Oumuamua. This is a Hawaiian name meaning “messenger from afar arriving first.”
However, Oumuamua is only a visitor passing by and saying hi, whereas the retrograde asteroid has been here for a very long time. Also, it doesn’t look like it is planning to leave anytime soon. Its discovery might imply that there are other interstellar objects in our solar system that are yet to be found.
Image source: flickr