CALIFORNIA – Earlier this year two astronomers discovered biggest comet candidater ever seen in the solar system, while combing through data collected by the Dark Energy Survey.
Now, a new study led by the same scientist, shows a space monsters referred to as the “round comet cow.” It is categorized as Comet C/2014 UN271.
Reported from Cnet, Friday (9/24/2021), this mega comet is also known as Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein because of its discovery duo, Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein, both from the University of Pennsylvania.
Early estimates of the comet were 125 miles or 200 kilometers wide. But from the results of a study submitted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, it is likely to be around 93 miles (150km) in diameter.
Nevertheless. that size still has a mass 10 times that of comet Hale-Bopp, which became known as the Great Comet of 1997.
Astronomer Will Gater put together many illustrations of other famous solar system objects to give a scale of how big this comet really is.
Some are even surprised to learn that this mega comet is much larger than Mars’ largest moon.
When placing Mars’ two natural satellites, Phobos and Deimos, side by side lengthwise and Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein will still be twice the size of the Martian pair of moons.
This massive comet poses no threat of a collision with Earth. But it is heading towards the inner solar system and will make its closest trajectory to the sun in 2031.
This comet should put on a pretty good show for astronomers in the decades to come. In fact, it’s already starting to show itself off a bit with the increased brightness reported by the Las Cumbres Observatory earlier this month.