Bernardinelli-Bernstein, the biggest comet ever detected is approaching us

A gigantic comet, possibly the largest ever observed, is approaching our solar system. It is C / 2014 UN271, or Bernardinelli-Bernstein for close friends, a comet from the Oort cloud which has a particularly large nucleus.

Bernardinelli-Bernstein
© DR

A huge comet – possibly the largest ever detected – is heading towards our solar system with an estimated time of arrival within 10 years, according to new research published on the arXiv.org server. This is C / 2014 UN271, or Bernardinelli-Bernstein, for the close friends.

Discovered by astronomers Pedro Bernardinelli et Gary Bernstein Several years ago, this gargantuan comet will pass through Saturn’s orbit in 2031, according to the specialized press. This news is already exciting scientists.

A thousand times more massive than a “typical” comet

If we are still very far from the scenario ofArmageddon, you should know that comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein still measures nearly 100 kilometers in diameter. It is about 1,000 times more massive than a typical comet and is even so large that astronomers have previously mistaken it for a dwarf planet, according to a statement announcing the discovery of the comet in June 2021.

Further analysis of the celestial object reveals what moves quickly through the Oort cloud, a vast area of ​​icy rocks, located billions of kilometers from Earth. The comet is therefore now heading towards our solar system, but without any risk of impact on the blue planet.

See also: The Hubble telescope immortalizes a spiral galaxy 150 million light years away

Currently, Bernardinelli-Bernstein crosses the Oort Cloud about 29 times the distance between Earth and the Sun, or 29 astronomical units (AU). In 2031, thethe comet will dive within 10.97 AU of the sun, just placing her outside of Saturn’s orbit. A distance far enough away that we cannot even see it without the use of a telescope.

After modeling the comet’s path, the study’s authors calculated that the comet made its last approach about 3.5 million years ago. At the time, she had passed within 18 AU of our sun. The comet then went up to 40,000 AU from our sun, in the depths of the mysterious Oort cloud, before coming back towards us.

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