Universe Finds The “Mother Of All Comets” – Meet The Megacomet

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The core of Bernardinelli-Bernstein, the frozen core at the heart of all comets, has been shown to be upwards of 80 miles broad in a recent study. This is the biggest comet ever seen, with a diameter 50 times greater than the next greatest.

The Bernardinelli-Bernstein comet was spotted last year, and it was a monster. Because of its size, it was given the name “megacomet” by scientists throughout the globe.

This comet is only the tipping of the glacier for tens of thousands fainter comets that can’t be seen in the furthest reaches of the planetary system. Since it is so dazzling at such a great distance, scientists have long thought that this comet must be huge. They’ve now confirmed that that is really the case.

Even with the help of the Hubble, astronomers still had a difficult time determining the exact size of the object. The megacomet would still be a long way away. As a result, they had to analyze Hubble photos of the comet in a simulation environment, which provided them with an approximation of the mass. The Bernardinelli-Bernstein comet has been confirmed as the largest ever found by astronomers. C/2002 VQ94, with a nucleus just 60 miles wide, held the previous title.

When the megacomet crosses our planetary system in 2031, we’ll have to put up with it for a while. It will only travel between Saturn and Uranus’ orbits, keeping us at a safe distance of a billion miles or more from its closest approach to the sun.

Scientists will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to investigate an asteroid thought to contain remains of the earliest days solar system when it comes into view in nine years. With the James Webb Space Telescope in space, we may be able to obtain a closer view of the comet than we have ever been able to previously.

The research was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Susan Kowal
Susan Kowal is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor/advisor, and health enthusiast.