Illustration of our galaxy, the Milky Way seen obliquely, with the arms and the central bar in their approximate known locations. There are four major arms and one arm fragment (Orion-Cygnus or Local) where the Sun is found. In the annotated version of this image, the yellow dot indicates the position of the Solar System about 25000 ly from the galactic core. The Norma and Outer arms are in fact the same, but the two names refer to different parts of it. The same is true of the so-called 3kpc (3 kilo-parsec) arm, which further out becomes the Perseus arm.
Astronomers believe mysterious object may have zoomed through interstellar space in the Milky Way on its way to our solar system (Copyright: Science Photo Library)

Astronomers believe a second ‘interstellar object’ has been spotted in our solar system.

It’s believed a new comet may have travelled into our cosmic neighbourhood after making a long and lonely journey through deep space.

Scientists believe the comet is travelling on a ‘hyperbolic trajectory’, which means its path looks like a curve rather than the ellipse you’d expect from an object orbiting the sun.

It was spotted by a Russian amateur astronomer called Gennady Borisov and named Comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov).

The mysterious deep space traveller is now being closely analysed to see if it really has journeyed here from another star system.

It was officially declared a visitor from interstellar space by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, which wrote: ‘Based on the available observations, the orbit solution for this object has converged to the hyperbolic elements shown below, which would indicate an interstellar origin.’

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The discovery of ‘Oumuamua provoked impassioned debate about its origins (Picture: Getty)
This Nasa graphic shows the distinctive tumbling motion of 'Oumuamua (Image: Nasa)
This Nasa graphic shows the distinctive tumbling motion of ‘Oumuamua (Image: Nasa)

The first object observed in our solar system that travelled here from deep space was called ‘Oumuamua and was spotted in 2017.

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The weird comet captured the attention of the world and prompted claims that it was a spaceship of some sort, with one scientist suggesting its distinctive ‘tumbling’ motion could prove it was an extraterrestrial craft which had suffered an engine malfunction.

Other researchers claimed it could be a ‘light sail’ ship which travels through space powered by the light of stars.

Oumuamua sped past Earth and looped around our sun at 196,000 mph.

The object was almost half a mile long and so unusual that Nasa said it had ‘never seen a natural object with such extreme proportions in the solar system before’.

Sadly, the word ‘natural’ in that sentence shows that Nasa did not believe it was an alien spacecraft sent to investigate Earth.

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