Scientific Colloquium
February 26, 2020, 3:30 p.m.
Building 3, Goett Auditorium

"The Composition of Interstellar Come 2I/Borisov: Insights into Planet Formation in Other Planetary Systeams " 

In the past several years two interstellar objects were discovered passing through our Solar System. Studying objects like these can provide insights into the planet formation process in other star systems and how common the conditions that led to our Solar System are throughout the galaxy. While limited observations were available for the first interstellar object 1I/'Oumuamua, the second interstellar object 2I/Borisov was discovered with enough lead time for detailed spectroscopic observations probing the object's composition to be performed. Moreover, 2I/Borisov is unambiguously a comet, meaning it is rich in volatile ices and studying these ices in 2I/Borisov will lead to new insights into the formation of icy material in other star systems. I will discuss recent findings pertaining to the composition of 2I/Borisov, how this compares to Solar System comets, and what implications this may have for planet formation.

About the Speaker:

Adam McKay is a Research Scientist at NASA GSFC and American University. His research focuses on the volatile composition of comets and other icy bodies in the Solar System. He received his Bachelors degree in Astrophysics and Mathematics from Williams College and obtained his Ph.D. in Astronomy from New Mexico State University. After his graduate work at New Mexico State he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin before coming to NASA GSFC as an NPP fellow.
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