A gigantic comet is moving towards our solar system. Sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. But it’s reality.
Philadelphia – Heavenly phenomena keep us busy. The annual Perseids, UFO sightings or a bright, clear starry sky in summer or winter. The two astronomers Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia have discovered a new phenomenon in space. Namely a huge comet. It has its origin in the so-called Oort cloud, at the very edge of the solar system. And now the colossus is moving towards the central star.
Gigantic comet is moving towards our solar system
The celestial body with the original designation 2014 UN271, with a length of 100 to 200 kilometers, is probably the largest comet ever discovered. For comparison: Comet Neowise had a radius of around five kilometers, Hale-Bopp had a core of 60 kilometers, and Halley’s Comet was around eleven kilometers.
The two scientists discovered the giant from space as part of a search of data already collected from the Dark Energy Survey. The two were looking for trans-Neptunian objects. They noticed the comet because of its enormous size. They have not yet published their findings in a scientific magazine, but Bernardinelli tweeted about his discovery.
– Dr. Pedro bernardinelli (@phbernardinelli) June 20, 2021
Scientists, astrophysicists, and astronomers are terribly excited about this discovery. It will take a few more years for the comet Bernardinelli-Amber, now named after its discoverers, to feed on our sun. Because only in the year 2031 is the comet supposed to reach the point of its orbit closest to the sun. This lies just outside the orbit of Saturn and therefore not in direct proximity to the earth.
Giant from space: invisible to the naked eye
Hobby astronomers hope they could see the giant with an amateur telescope. Because unfortunately we will not be able to admire the comet with the naked eye, like its prominent predecessors.
List of rubric lists: © NOIRLab / NSF / AURA / J. da Silva