Astronomers Focus on the Biggest Comet Ever Found

Astronomers Focus on the Biggest Comet Ever Found
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A comet measuring 85 miles wide, meaning over 136 kilometers, would surely cause some damage if it ever collides with Earth. Astronomers now focus on such a space rock that’s coming from the Oort Cloud, one that will make its closest approach to our planet in less than a decade, according to Gizmodo.com.

The comet in question is C/2014 UN271. If you’re not willing to remember that fancy name, you can also call it the Bernardinelli-Bernstein comet. Emmanuel Lellouch from the Paris Observatory is the leader of the research in charge of providing the latest measurements of the comet. 

The biggest comet ever discovered

Bernardinelli-Bernstein is officially recognized as the biggest comet ever found, so there’s no wonder why astronomers are focusing their attention upon it. However, you never know when an even larger comet will be found. Astronomers estimate that the Oort Cloud, meaning the place where the mega comet is dwelling, contains roughly one trillion comets. 

In 2031, the Bernardinelli-Bernstein comet will approach our planet the most, but thankfully, there’s no indication of a possible collision. Scientists suspected since last year that they’re dealing with the largest comet ever found. 

Gary Bernstein, a co-discoverer from the University of Pennsylvania, said at that time:

We have the privilege of having discovered perhaps the largest comet ever seen – or at least larger than any well-studied one – and caught it early enough for people to watch it evolve as it approaches and warms up. It has not visited the Solar System in more than 3 million years.

It’s nice to see that the astronomers’ hunch has been confirmed as true! But again, we can also hope that comets even bigger than Bernardinelli-Bernstein will be found by scientists.

The new study paper regarding the mega comet is available as a preprint at arXiv, and it will be published in Astronomy and Astrophysics Letters.


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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