Super-huge comet rushes through space towards the solar system, Science News
Talk about comets or asteroids approaching us and the mind immediately reverts to what happened to the dinosaurs. It just needed a rock in space to end the reign of these formidable reptiles that dominated almost the entire food chain. The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was only 10 kilometers in diameter. But now, a comet larger than the moons of Mars is accelerating towards the solar system.
Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein is a mammoth! Do you remember Hale-Bopp? The comet that surrounded us in 1997? It was called a massive comet. And Bernardinelli-Bernstein is 10 times the mass of Hale-Bopp.
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In fact, it is bigger than the two moons of Mars. If you line up those moons, the comet would be twice as big!
Such a mega thing is happening to our solar system!
NASA is currently monitoring the comet and we may be able to get a better idea of it as it gets closer. But this comet has already started to make its show!
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Recently, the Las Cumbres Observatory reported that the comet was getting brighter and brighter. It happens as it gradually comes to us through space.
Just like its size, the comet has an orbit which has a super huge diameter. According to calculations by Bad Astronomy, the comet moves from about 1.6 billion kilometers from the Sun to a breathtaking distance of 2,000 billion kilometers from the Sun. To put it in perspective, this is a fifth light year!
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The comet is expected to approach closest to the Sun in 2031 and will be comfortably far from Earth as it passes through the solar system. Humanity has another chance!