NASA: Hubble Telescope reveals unknown facts about this LARGEST Comet!

A new study carried out with the help of NASA’s Hubble telescope shared some unknown facts about the largest ever comet in our solar system.

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 12:53 IST
NASA Hubble Telescope helped us to know some unknown facts about the largest comet in our solar system. Check here. (NASA)
NASA Hubble Telescope helped us to know some unknown facts about the largest comet in our solar system. Check here. (NASA)

Back in 2014, scientists discovered a comet that was soon dubbed as the Bernardinelli-Bernstein comet and it is known as the largest comet ever spotted in our solar system! NASA's Hubble Telescope detected the Nucleus of this Comet which showed that the Bernardinelli-Bernstein is about 120 kilometers (75 miles) across which is twice as wide as Rhode Island, David Jewitt an astronomer at the University of California, Los Angeles mentioned in his study. He along with his team has compiled new images from the Hubble Space Telescope to understand the size of this largest known comet in our solar system.

Comets are basically the cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock, and dust that orbit the Sun, NASA explained. When they are frozen, they are the size of a small town, while when a comet's orbit brings it close to the Sun, it heats up and emits dust and gases into a giant shining head larger than most of the planets. There are likely billions of comets orbiting our Sun in the Kuiper Belt, NASA mentioned. The study by astronomer Jewitt revealed that the comet's nucleus reflects only about 3 percent of the light that strikes it, which makes the object “blacker than coal."

More unknown facts about the biggest ever known comet

Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein (BB) which is also known as C/2014 UN271 is much bigger in size in comparison to the other known comets, even the famous comet Hale-Bopp is about half as wide as the BB comet. Take Halley's comet, which passes by Earth every 75 years and is just 11km wide while Bernardinelli-Bernstein is more than 120km in size. Despite its massive size, the comet will never be visible from the Earth to the naked eye as it is about 3 billion kilometers away from the Earth! Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein takes around 3 million years to orbit around the Sun.

Still, Jewitt said that the comet is “just the tip of the iceberg” for discovering huge comets of this size and even more! He believes that there could be tens of thousands of smaller, as yet, undetected comets circling the sun.

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First Published Date: 10 Jun, 11:38 IST