Gennadiy Borisov

Gennadiy Vladimirovich Borisov (Russian: Генна́дий Влади́мирович Бори́сов; born in 1962)[2] is a Crimean[6] telescope maker and amateur astronomer who discovered the first known interstellar comet, 2I/Borisov.

Gennadiy Borisov
Gennady Borisov.jpg
Gennadiy Vladimirovich Borisov[1]

1962 (age 58–59)[2]
OccupationTelescope maker, Astronomer
EmployerSternberg Astronomical Institute
Known forDiscovery of 2I/Borisov
Spouse(s)Nadezhda Borisova[3]
AwardsEdgar Wilson Award (two awards in 2014)
MARGO observatory
Observatory codeL51
LocationNauchnyy, Bakhchysarai Raion, Crimea
Coordinates44°43′35″N 34°0′45″E / 44.72639°N 34.01250°E / 44.72639; 34.01250
Altitude574 m (1,883 ft)
GENON0.192 m (f/1.54)[1]
GENON0.192 m (f/1.54)
GENON Max0.300 m (f/1.5)[1]
GENON Max0.300 m (f/1.5)
Unnamed telescope0.65 m
Comets discovered by Gennadiy Borisov[5]
Designation Type
C/2013 N4 (Borisov) long-period
C/2013 V2 (Borisov) hyperbolic
C/2014 R1 (Borisov) near-parabolic
C/2014 Q3 (Borisov) Halley-type
C/2015 D4 (Borisov) long-period
C/2016 R3 (Borisov) long-period
C/2017 E1 (Borisov) hyperbolic
2I/Borisov hyperbolic, interstellar
C/2019 V1 (Borisov) near-parabolic
C/2020 Q1 (Borisov) long-period


Borisov works as an engineer at the Crimean Astronomical Station [ru][Note 1] of the Sternberg Astronomical Institute of Moscow State University.[7][8] There he maintains the telescopes, but does not make observations himself. He also works with Astronomicheskiy Nauchnyy Tsentr JSC, creating experimental telescopes in collaboration with Roscosmos.[9]

Borisov pursues astronomy in his spare time at his personal observatory MARGO located in Nauchnyi, in the southern part of the Crimean peninsula. Between 2013 and 2019, he has discovered nine comets[5] and several near-Earth objects such as 2013 TV135.[7] These discoveries were made using telescopes he designed and built himself: GENON (2 comets), GENON Max (5 comets)[9][1] and the unnamed 0.65 m telescope (2 comets, including 2I/Borisov). In 2014, Borisov received two Edgar Wilson Awards for his discoveries of C/2013 N4 and C/2013 V2.[10]

Discovery of 2I/BorisovEdit

In early 2019, Borisov completed his new 0.65-meter telescope.[11][7] On August 30, 2019, he used this telescope to discover the first known interstellar comet, 2I/Borisov, which is only the second interstellar object to have been observed.[7][12]

Borisov described his discovery thus:[13]

I observed it on August 29, but it was August 30 GMT. I saw a moving object in the frame, it moved in a direction that was slightly different from that of main asteroids.[Note 2] I measured its coordinates and consulted the Minor Planet Center database. Turned out, it was a new object. Then I measured the near-Earth object rating,[Note 3] it is calculated from various parameters, and it turned out to be 100% – in other words, dangerous. In such cases I must immediately post the parameters to the world webpage for confirmation of dangerous asteroids.[Note 4] I posted it and wrote that the object was diffuse and that it was not an asteroid, but a comet.

The discovery of 2I/Borisov by Gennadiy Borisov has been compared to the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh.[9] Tombaugh was also an amateur astronomer who was building his own telescopes, although he discovered Pluto using Lowell Observatory's astrograph.


Borisov thinks that soon amateur astronomers will no longer be able to discover new comets: "In 2016, only I have discovered a comet. In 2013, there were seven of us. Every year there are less and less. There are more and more huge telescopes. Amateurs will soon have nothing left."[9]


  1. ^ Not to be confused with the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, which is located right next to it.
  2. ^ Of the 800,000 objects known to orbit the Sun, 737,000 (92%) of them are main-belt asteroids.
  3. ^ NEO Rating for calculating the probability that a new object is a near-Earth candidate.
  4. ^ The NEO Confirmation Page for confirming near-Earth objects and potentially hazardous objects.


  1. ^ a b c d Телескопы GENON [GENON telescopes]. Астрономический научный центр [Astronomical scientific center] (in Russian). Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b Смирнов, Дмитрий. Геннадий Борисов — крымский ловец комет [Gennadiy Borisov – Crimean comet catcher]. Russkaya planeta Русская планета (in Russian). Retrieved 23 September 2019 – via Krymskiy blog Крымский блог.
  3. ^ "Знания о других мирах": жена крымского астронома об открытой им комете ["The knowledge about other worlds": the wife of Crimean astronomer on the comet discovered by him]. Радио Sputnik [Radio Sputnik] (in Russian). 13 September 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  4. ^ "M.P.C. 2013 NOV. 17" (PDF). Minor Planet Circulars. Minor Planet Center. 17 November 2013. p. 85415. ISSN 0736-6884. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  5. ^ a b "JPL Small-Body Database Browser — Search string: Borisov". JPL Solar System Dynamics. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  6. ^ Overbye, Dennis (7 December 2019). "The Interstellar Comet Has Arrived in Time for the Holidays". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d King, Bob (11 September 2019). "Another Interstellar Visitor Is Headed Our Way". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  8. ^ Структура ГАИШ: Крымская астрономическая станция МГУ имени М.В.Ломоносова (КАС МГУ) [SAI Structure: The Crimean Astronomical Station of the MSU named after M. V. Lomonosov (CAS MSU)]. Государственный Астрономический Институт имени П.К. Штернберга МГУ [State Astronomical Institute named after P. K. Sternberg of the MSU] (in Russian). Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d Нелюбин, Николай (13 September 2019). «Готовы открывать кометы бесплатно, лишь бы имя осталось». Российский астроном Геннадий Борисов о первой в истории человечества межзвёздной комете [“We’ll discover comets without pay, what matters is that the name lives on.” Russian astronomer Gennadiy Borisov on the first interstellar comet in the history of humankind]. [ru] Фонтанка.ру (in Russian). Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  10. ^ "The Edgar Wilson Award Recipients". Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  11. ^ Крымский астроном рассказал, как открыл первую межзвездную комету [Crimean astronomer explained how he discovered the first interstellar comet]. Gazeta.Ru Газета.Ru (in Russian). 12 September 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  12. ^ Agle, DC; Johnson, Alana (12 September 2019). "Newly Discovered Comet Is Likely Interstellar Visitor". NASA. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  13. ^ Крымский астроном заявил, что открытая им комета изменит название [Crimean astronomer says that the comet discovered by him will be renamed]. RIA Novosti РИА Новости (in Russian). 16 September 2019. para. 5. Retrieved 16 September 2019.

External linksEdit