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Friday, September 10, 2021

CONTINUITY: Interstellar Visitors in the Oort Cloud

Objects in the Oort cloud orbit the Sun very slowly: some less than 150 metres per second. This means it takes very little delta-v to cancel enough velocity to cause them to plunge into the inner solar system, where we observe them as comets. Interstellar comets, however, pass through the Oort cloud with velocities typical among nearby stars of tens of kilometres per second and continue unperturbed along their paths. This may have the consequence that in the outer Oort cloud interstellar comets outnumber those gravitationally bound to the Sun by a substantial margin.

Posted at September 10, 2021 13:28