Whenever we talk about comets, it is important to explain that this is the name given to a specific and small type of celestial body that is part of the Solar System. Its structure is usually partitioned into a tail, coma (or coma) and nucleus.
Based on this definition and on the considerations recently released by a group of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, we found that the largest comet ever recorded so far is the C/2014 UN271also known as Bernardinelli-Bernstein.
In addition to its size, something that draws a lot of attention is that this giant would be traveling towards Earth. Here are some impressive details about him:
C/2014 UN271 is approximately 136 km wide (equivalent to 15 Mounts Everest) and has a mass of 500 trillion tons. That makes it about 50 times bigger than comets normally observed here on Earth.
This information was confirmed this year by a group of Chinese and American researchers, through the use of space and ground telescopes.
Scientists estimate that the comet departed the Oort Cloud about a million years ago. From then on, I would be following in towards the Sun, in Earth’s orbit.
Currently, he approaches us at a speed of 35,405 km/h and its closest proximity to us should happen in 2031. Around that year, the Bernardinelli-Bernstein will pass through the orbits of Saturn and Uranus (1.6 billion kilometers from our space home).
As you can see, there is no risk to life on Earth in this particular event — phew. However, we are not free from the threat of extinction due to impacts from space.
So much so that in 2021, the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) began the operation called the “Dual Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)”.
The objective is to destroy a small moon, which orbits the asteroid Didymos. If it’s to protect our existence, fine, then. We wish you success in the mission.