Interstellar Wanderers...

Patrick, Edward L.

I don’t know whether there are any asteroiders or comet hunters among you, and this is not exactly in the observational astronomy category, but a former colleague of mine is co-author on a recent paper describing the use of the C/O ratio (from CO, CO2 & H2O) from comets as a means of determining where they formed relative to the CO “frost line” in their parent system. Yes, this is related to the “implied” discoveries of those first putative interstellar interlopers 1I/’Oumuamu and 2I/Borisov, the latter of which provided spectroscopic keys to the distance from its parent star at which it formed…

The site is open access, so anyone can download the pdf for free. I’ll be adding this to the thousand papers, or so, on my nightstand set aside for my retirement reading.


They mention HST, ALMA, and JWST in the paper. I suspect this work and the discovery of Borisov will lead to increased research into the study of spectroscopic compositions of protoplanetary disks, particularly now that JWST has been commissioned, as well as studies of the 3-body orbital mechanics of how star systems eject comets out into the depths of space.


I also suspect that there will be an increase in the number of observations made by both automated telescopes and amateur astronomers as each seeks to find the next hyperbolic intruder from the depths of interstellar space.


Maybe we start looking for bodies coming at us from far out of the plane of the ecliptic. That might be a good start!


I am by no means an expert on the subject, but I have no problem going out on a limb and predicting that the C/O ratio for R CrB is way off the charts.


Have a great weekend!


Best regards,






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Edward L. Patrick

Lead Scientist

Space Science & Engineering Division

Southwest Research Institute





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