The second interstellar comet to enter the Solar System is expected to reach its closest distance from Earth in December. As it makes its approach, astronomers from Yale University were able to capture new close-up images of the object.

The comet, named as 2I/Borisov, was first spotted on Aug. 30 by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov from Crimea. After analyzing the trajectory of the mysterious object, the International Astronomical Union and NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies confirmed that the comet came from a different star system. It is considered as the second interstellar object to enter the Solar System after the comet Oumuamua.

According to astronomers, 2I/Borisov is currently moving across space at an average speed of 110,000 miles per hour. The comet is expected to reach its closest distance from Earth sometime in early December. Astronomers estimate that the object will fly past the planet from a distance of 190 million miles away.

Since 2I/Borisov is getting closer to the planet, astronomers are taking the opportunity to observe it. Recently, astronomers from Yale University were able to snap close-up photos of the comet and its distinct features using the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

Through observations using the facility’s low-resolution imaging spectrometer, the astronomers were able to get a closer look at the comet’s dust tail, which is estimated to be about 100,000 miles long. According to the astronomers, the tail is about 14 times the diameter of Earth.

“It’s humbling to realize how small Earth is next to this visitor from another solar system,” astronomer Pieter van Dokkum said in a statement.

According to van Dokkum’s colleague Gregory Laughlin, the comet’s huge tail is caused by the gas and fine dust released by the comet as it evaporates. He noted that the materials within the comet’s tail could provide valuable information regarding the formation of planets.

“Astronomers are taking advantage of Borisov’s visit, using telescopes such as Keck to obtain information about the building blocks of planets in systems other than our own,” Laughlin explained.

2I/Borisov is expected to be about 500 million miles from Jupiter by mid-2020. Astronomers predict that by this time, the interstellar comet will be exiting the Solar System. It could take millions of years before it enters another system.

2I Borisov NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has given astronomers their best look yet at an interstellar visitor — comet 2I/Borisov — whose speed and trajectory indicate it has come from beyond our solar system. Photo: NASA, ESA and J. DePasquale (STScI)