GeminiFocus January 2018 - Page 6

John Blakeslee

Gemini North and South Join in Welcoming the Solar System ’ s First Interstellar Emissary

Two months after the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave detection caused Gemini to “ pull out all the stops ” in its effort to follow the event as long as possible , the Observatory reprised its performance , but this time for a few nights only , when the first known interstellar object streaked through our Solar System . Observations were carried out with both the Gemini North and South telescopes during late October 2017 and enabled astronomers to characterize the peculiar properties of this exotic visitor .
Note : Parts of the following article are adapted from the Gemini Observatory press release issued on November 20 , 2017 . The original release is available online .
Planet formation is a messy , sometimes violent , affair . The evidence is imprinted in the countless impact craters that pockmark the face of our Moon and the other airless , rocky bodies that retain the scars of the distant past . It is believed that numerous asteroids and comets were ejected entirely during the early stages of our Solar System as a consequence of interactions with the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn . The same should be true of all other planetary systems with giant planets , which may comprise the majority of the systems around stars in the Milky Way . Doing the numbers , one finds that trillions of objects must be wandering the vast expanses between the stars . However , the likelihood that any one of these wanderers would make a close approach to another planetary system is tiny .
On October 19 , 2017 , a small near-Earth object discovered by the Pan-STARRS1 survey telescope on Haleakala was found to be moving away from the Earth at a speed so high that the Sun ’ s gravity was insufficient to prevent the object from escaping . Thus , the object was on
4 GeminiFocus January 2018
John Blakeslee Gemini North and South Join in Welcoming the Solar System’s First Interstellar Emissary Two months after the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave detection caused Gemini to “pull out all the stops” in its effort to follow the event as long as possible, the Observatory reprised its performance, but this time for a few nights only, when the first known inter 7FV"&V7B7G&VVBF&VvW"6"77FV'6W'fF2vW&R6'&VBWBvF&FFRvV֖'FB6WFFVW66W2GW&rFR7F&W"#rBV&VB7G&W'2F6&7FW&RFRV7VƖ"&W'FW2bF2WF2f6F"FS'G2bFRfvr'F6R&RFFVBg&FRvV֖'6W'fF'&W70&VV6R77VVBfV&W"##rFR&v&VV6R2f&RƖRWBf&F2W776WFW2fVBff"FRWfFV6R2&FVBFP6VFW727B7&FW'2FB6&FRf6RbW"BFRFW"&W72&6&FW2FB&WFFR66'2bFRF7FB7BB2&VƖWfVBFBVW&W27FW&G2@6WG2vW&RVV7FVBVF&VǒGW&rFRV&ǒ7FvW2bW"6"77FV266WVV6PbFW&7F2vFFRvBWG2WFW"B6GW&FR6R6VB&RG'VRbFW"WF'77FV2vFvBWG2v66&6RFR&GbFR72ЧFV2&VB7F'2FR֖ƷvFrFRV&W'2RfG2FBG&Ɩ2b&V7G0W7B&RvFW&rFRf7BW6W2&WGvVVFR7F'2vWfW"FRƖVƖBFB琦RbFW6RvFW&W'2vVBR66R&6FFW"WF'77FV2F7F&W"#r6V"V'F&V7BF66fW&VB'FR5D%%37W'fWFVRЧ66RVv2fVBF&Rfrvg&FRV'FB7VVB6vFBFP7V( 2w&fGv27Vff6VBF&WfVBFR&V7Bg&W66rFW2FR&V7Bv2@vV֖f7W0V'#