‘Interstellar Immigrant’ Asteroid Befuddles Scientists After Moving Around Jupiter ‘Wrong Way’
By Jennifer Earl, Fox News // May 22, 2018
(FOX NEWS) – A mysterious asteroid that is moving the wrong way around Jupiter is turning heads this week as scientists reveal it’s the first “interstellar immigrant” from beyond our solar system to stick around, according to a new study released Monday.
The 2-mile-wide asteroid, known as 2015 BZ509, is in retrograde — appearing to turn the opposite direction in relation to other planets within its solar system — around the gas giant’s sun. It was just recently discovered around Jupiter’s co-orbital region, and stumped scientists who studied it.
“How the asteroid came to move in this way while sharing Jupiter’s orbit has until now been a mystery,” Dr. Fathi Namouni, lead author of the study, said in a statement online.
“If 2015 BZ509 were a native of our system, it should have had the same original direction as all of the other planets and asteroids, inherited from the cloud of gas and dust that formed them.”
How long has it been here?
That was another question on every scientist’s mind after the space rock was spotted in November 2014 by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS), Space.com explained. Now astronomers believe they finally have an answer: 4.5 billion years.
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