December 3, 2022

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A comet 4 billion years old and 80 miles wide is heading toward Earth

A comet 4 billion years old and 80 miles wide is heading toward Earth

An ancient comet believed to be more than 4 billion years old is heading toward Earth. The massive comet is at least 80 miles wide, making it twice the width of Rhode Island. It is currently accelerating toward Earth at 22,000 miles per hour.

This ancient comet is the largest comet ever discovered

The comet in question is currently traveling toward Earth at 22,000 miles per hour. It’s hurtling inward from the edge of our solar system. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about the comet’s impact on Earth. Astronomers say it will never pass more than a billion miles close to the sun. This is a little further than the distance between Earth and Saturn.

An ancient comet is expected to pass this close to Earth sometime in the year 2031. This means we have a number of years before we even need to care about this ancient celestial body. However, it is always interesting to know when comets and asteroids are heading in our direction.

David Jewett, professor of planetary sciences and astronomy at UCLA, co-authored a study on the comet. Jewett and colleagues published in Astrophysical Journal Letters. He says that objects like this ancient comet were “kicked out” from the solar system ages ago.

The comets then settled in the Oort Cloud, Jewett says, the massive assemblage of distant comets that surround our solar system. Then other comets like this ancient comet orbit the solar system billions of miles in deep space.

Meet Comet C / 2014 UN271

A quick look at how comet C/2014 UN271 compares to other comets we’ve discovered. Image source: NASA, ESA, and Xena Levy (STScI)

On top of making its way toward Earth, there’s something else that makes this ancient comet intriguing. For example, astronomers say this comet has the largest nucleus of any comet we’ve seen so far. They determined the size of the nucleus using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. They currently estimate the comet to be up to 85 miles in size.

Comet C/2014 UN271 was first discovered by Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein. It was first observed by astronomers in 2010. At the time, the ancient comet was 3 billion miles from the sun. Now, it’s less than 2 billion miles from the sun. Jewett says it will continue in its current loop until it eventually returns to the Oort cloud in a few million years.

Jewett says This ancient comet is “bigger and darker than coal”. The team estimates the comet to be about 500 trillion tons. This is a hundred thousand times greater than the mass of a typical comet found near the Sun.

Of course, this is not the first unusual comet discovered by astronomers. Previously, NASA This comet and its wonderful aura. Astronomers also previously Find Guilty In a place they had never seen before.

Comet C/2014 UN271

David Jewett, professor of planetary science and astronomy at UCLA, and co-author of the book New study at Astrophysical Journal Letters. “We have always suspected that this comet must be large because it is so bright at such a great distance. Now we confirm it.”

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