The Bernardinelli-Bernstein comet is the largest of them all, heading towards the sun

  • “We have the privilege of discovering perhaps the biggest comet we have ever seen.”
  • The solar system has not been visited for over 3 million years.
  • People here on Earth will likely need to rely on telescopes to take pictures.

It’s a big one.

A giant comet – which scientists say is arguably the largest comet discovered in modern times – is on its way to the sun and will see its closest approach to Earth in 2031.

“We have the privilege of discovering perhaps the largest comet we have ever seen – or at least larger than any well-studied comet – and finding it early enough for people to watch it evolve as it evolves. that it’s approaching, ”the University of Pennsylvania said. astronomer. Gary Bernstein, who is a co-discoverer of the object.

The National Science Foundation said it was the farthest comet ever found on its next trajectory, giving us years to watch it evolve as it nears the sun.

The comet is also a rare visitor to the neck of the jungle: “It has not visited the solar system for over 3 million years,” Bernstein said in declaration.

A comet, estimated to be 60 to 120 miles in diameter, or about 10 times the diameter of most comets, is an icy remnant that emerged from the solar system by the migration of giant planets early in the solar system’s history.

This comet is very different from any other comet we’ve seen before, the National Science Foundation said, and estimating its huge size depends on how much sunlight it reflects.

At its current rate, the comet will depart from its current point just after Neptune’s orbit to approach Saturn’s orbit in 2031, Smithsonian the magazine said.

The object would likely be as bright as Pluto’s Charon moon at that time, according to New AtlasSo it’s likely that people here on Earth will need to rely on telescopes to take pictures of them. Then you will return to deep space where it came from.

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The comet likely originated from the Oort Cloud, which is believed to be a giant spherical crust that surrounds the solar system, according to Nasa. Most long-range comets like this come from the Oort Cloud, NASA said.

It could be the largest object ever detected in the Oort Cloud and the first comet on an incoming trajectory to be detected so far.

Astronomers believe there may be more undiscovered comets of this size waiting in the Oort Cloud. These giant comets are believed to have spread to the far reaches of the solar system through the migrations of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune early in their history.

The comet was named Bernardinelli-Bernstein after the astronomers who discovered it: Pedro Bernardinelli (Also from the University of Pennsylvania) and Gary Bernstein. Its official name is 2014 UN271.

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