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The newly discovered comet may be the largest ever

The newly discovered comet may be the largest ever

Newly discovered giant comet in the border Solar System It can be up to 1,000 times larger than an ordinary comet. This makes orb Possibly the largest of its kind ever recorded in modern history.

The object was officially designated a comet last June 23, and has received two names, one technical, C/2014 UN271 and the colloquial one, Bernardinelli-Bernstein. This second is a tribute to two of its discoverers, University of Pennsylvania student Pedro Bernardinelli and astronomer Gary Bernstein.

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Astronomers estimate that this ice giant From 100 to 200 kilometers, which is a very rough estimate. However, it is still very far from Earth, since its size is calculated based on the amount of sunlight reflected on it. To take a more precise approach, researchers will need to wait until 2031, when it passes close to Earth.

Not very soon…

Although “close” is a fairly strong word for determining how far a comet will be from Earth 10 years from now, it will still be 11 astronomical units (AU) from our planet. This is about the same distance between the Sun and its mean orbit SaturnIt is the sixth farthest planet from our star.

Bernstein said he felt privileged to discover the largest comet ever recorded. Moreover, the astronomer believes that he captured the celestial body early enough, which will make it possible to study its evolution as the comet approaches the Sun.

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C/2014 UN271 was first seen in archive footage from dark energy researchTaken in 2014. The comet glows with an intensity of 20 degrees, which puts it beyond the reach of most amateur astronomers’ telescopes. For comparison purposes, the objects that can be seen with the naked eye in the dark are 6 or 7.

However, even 10 years from now it will not be possible to visualize this ice giant with the naked eye, requiring very large telescopes to make the visualization possible. This will be the first Bernardinelli-Bernstein pass away from Earth in more than three million years.

with information from space

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