Astronomers Find Largest Comet Detected in Modern Times

Suara.com – Astronomers found a giant comet, is about 1,000 times larger than comet ordinary.

The team of experts believe the mega comet has the potential to be the largest ever discovered in modern times.

The object is called Comet C/2014 UN271 or Bernardinelli-Bernstein, after its discoverer.

Two University of Pennsylvania graduate students Pedro Bernardinelli and astronomer Gary Bernstein.

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Astronomers estimate this icy object to have a diameter of 100 to 200 km, making it about ten times wider than a regular comet.

However, that is a rough estimate due to the comet’s great distance from Earth.

Komet C/2014 UN271, Bernardinelli-Bernstein. [Noirlab]

The comet will make its closest approach to Earth in 2031, although it remains at a considerable distance.

“It’s probably the largest comet ever seen,” Bernstein said Space.com, Friday (2/7/2021).

The comet was first seen in archival images from the Dark Energy Survey taken in 2014.

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Currently, the comet is located at a distance of about 20 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun, where one AU is the Earth-sun distance of about 150 million km.

When Comet C/2014 UN271 approaches Earth in 2031, it will remain at a distance of 11 AU.

Another thing that makes the comet special, apart from its size, is that Comet C/2014 UN271 hasn’t visited the inner solar system in three million years.

According to the team of experts, the comet originated about 40,000 AU from the Sun in the Oort Cloud, a very distant region of space and is estimated to house trillions of comets.

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James Webb Space Telescope. [NASA}
James Webb Space Telescope. [NASA}

Para ahli menduga, mungkin ada lebih banyak komet yang belum ditemukan seukuran ini, bersembunyi di Awan Oort di luar Pluto dan Sabuk Kuiper.

Tim berharap dapat melakukan pengamatan terhadap komet itu ketika mendekati Bumi menggunakan teleskop luar angkasa yang lebih canggih di masa depan, seperti Extremely Large Telescope milik Badan Antariksa Eropa (ESA) dan James Webb Space Telescope NASA.

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