THE mysterious visitor to our Solar System that has baffled scientists for weeks journeyed from an alien star over 7trillion miles away.
Astronomers first spotted the strange object in early September, and are still stumped as to what it is, and where exactly it came from.
Most believe the traveller is a comet, though one scientist told The Sun last week that we can’t rule out it’s an alien probe.
Previously given the catchy title «C/2019 Q4», scientists have now renamed it 2I/Borisov after amateur Ukrainian astronomer Gennadiy Borisov, who discovered it in August.
Following intensive study, Polish experts say they’ve now pinpointed a key checkpoint in its travels.
Around a million years ago, 2I/Borisov passed the binary star Kruger 60, which is around 13 light-years – or 7.6trillion miles – from Earth.
The object «skimmed» the star before heading towards Earth at breakneck speeds of 93,000mph.
But that’s not all we now know about our interstellar visitor.
It’s between 1.2 and 10 miles long, and will reach its closest approach to the Sun on December 8, getting within 190million miles of our star.
That’s about twice the average distance of Earth from the Sun.
Scientists say it’ll take a few more months to plot the object’s full trajectory, which may give us more of a clue about what it is and where it came from.
Their research was published in the pre-print journal arXiv.
On September 12, scientists in Germany announced they were tracking a distant object heading in our direction.
The high-speed body, now known as 2I/Borisov, appears to be on a path originating from another star system that will see it fire past Mars in October.
Despite numerous attempts to study C/2019, scientists remain clueless as to what it is. Many speculate the distant mass is a comet.
According to prominent astronomer Dr Seth Shostak, 76, while this is the interstellar traveller’s most likely identity, we can’t say for sure it’s not a flying saucer.
«We can’t rule out that this is an interstellar probe,» Dr Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in California, told The Sun.
«If we get a closeup look, we may well see it has a metal exterior with portholes and little green faces looking out at us.