A massive comet, which is bigger than two moons of planet Mars combined, is heading closer to our Solar System. The megacomet Bernardinelli-Bernstein, named after Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein, has been dubbed as the largest comet that man has seen and is also often referred to as ‘the nearly spherical cow of comets’.
The astronomers who discovered the comet are from the University of Pennsylvania, found the comet data via the Dark Energy Survey (DES) that was ongoing at the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory.
The comet, which was initially estimated to be over 200-km wide was later found to be over 150-km wide, larger than Mars’ largest moon Phobos and Deimos together, with a tail.
The megacomet will come nearest to Earth in 2031 but may not collide with Earth, hence there is no threat, astronomers believe. The comet poses no threat to our planet, believe astro-enthusiasts. The nucleus is unresolved and there is no information regarding the comet’s rotation period.
Another interstellar object by the name Oumuamua was detected passing through the solar system, discovered by Robert Weryk at Haleakalā Observatory in Hawaii in 2017 about 40 days after it passed its closest point to the sun on September 9 that year. It posed no threat to planet Earth either.
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