BIGGEST comet ever discovered is 137 Km WIDE and is coming towards us | Tech News

BIGGEST comet ever discovered is 137 Km WIDE and is coming towards us

Biggest comet discovered is the Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein that is passing Earth in the year 2031.

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 00:02 IST
Leonard Comet
Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein measures almost 137 Km in diameters (NASA)

Biggest comet found in humanity's history! The Bernardinelli-Bernstein comes is now officially the largest comet we have ever seen. Coming from the Oort cloud, which surrounds our solar system, the comet C/2014 UN271, also known as Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein, measures almost 137 Km in diameters, with a variation of 17 km in its actual size. It was discovered Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein.

Just by its size, this comet beats every other comet we have seen so far. At the moment, it is heading towards us but not close enough to be visible to the naked eyes. While making its closest approach to Earth in 2031, the comet will still be at a distance of 11 au (Astronomical units) from the Sun. 1 au is the average distance between the Earth and Sun.

In layman's terms, this comet won't come closer to us than Saturn's orbit. Hence, you will need powerful telescopes to look at it while it greets us from far in 2031.

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Largest comet discovered ever

The massive size of the Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein puts it on top of the list of the largest comets ever found. It is twice as big as the comet Hale-Bopp that was observed in 1997. The Comet Sarabat observed in 1729 had a nucleus measuring 100 km in diameter.

The comet was first discovered by astronomers when it was still 29 au from the Sun). However, astronomers could only consider its significance only when it was within 24 au. It was confirmed as a comet in June 2021 by researchers in Las Cumbres Observatory. 

While this comet won't be coming close enough to us, the previous one that passed us gave us a good view. Comet Leonard passed us within a million miles in December and went to fly past closer to the Sun. In the process, this comet gave us a good light show and was even captured whizzing past the ESA and NASA's Solar Orbiter spacecraft with a bright tail of gas and ice emissions as it neared our Sun. 

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First Published Date: 09 Feb, 14:39 IST