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Astronomers spot first activity on giant megacomet beyond Saturn

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#1 thundherr

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 04:00 PM

 possibly the largest comet ever discovered.  Comet BB.  

https://www.space.co...ce=notification

 

Astronomers in New Zealand were the first to spot a coma, or zone of gas and dust, spreading around the megacomet C/2014 UN271, also known as Bernardinelli-Bernstein, which may be 1,000 times more massive than a typical comet. It could be the most massive comet ever found in all of recorded history.

 

Bernardinelli-Bernstein's closest approach to the sun will still be beyond Saturn in January 2031.

 


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#2 Astrojensen

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 04:03 PM

Imagine if this beast came to within an A.U. of the Sun and Earth...! 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark 


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#3 Supernova74

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 04:18 PM

 possibly the largest comet ever discovered.  Comet BB.  

https://www.space.co...ce=notification

 

Astronomers in New Zealand were the first to spot a coma, or zone of gas and dust, spreading around the megacomet C/2014 UN271, also known as Bernardinelli-Bernstein, which may be 1,000 times more massive than a typical comet. It could be the most massive comet ever found in all of recorded history.

 

Bernardinelli-Bernstein's closest approach to the sun will still be beyond Saturn in January 2031.

Well I think it’s just as well it will never get close to earth amazing and scary stuff at the same time.


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#4 Sleep Deprived

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 04:36 PM

The idea that there is already a coma implies that this is a fresh comet - it hasn't been into the inner Solar System too many times.  It is still way past the Ice Line.  The coma is made up of things more volatile than ice.  The last estimate I heard (granted, it was last week) is that perihelion is about 9.5 years off, so it means we have many years to study this thing.  Over the next 19 years, it will be closer to us than it is right now - that's a lot of time.  I hope the science community is prepping to throw everything at it that they can!  I'd like to see NASA or ESA or, heck, even Space-X throw something at it, too.  There's a lot to learn from this one.


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#5 Stellar1

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 05:07 PM

Yeah that will poke a big hole on our rock fairly efficiently!


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#6 Hax

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Posted 16 July 2021 - 06:56 AM

I read about this… I’m hoping for a spectacular show in a few years!
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#7 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 16 July 2021 - 09:43 PM

I read about this… I’m hoping for a spectacular show in a few years!

Unfortunately, C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein) won't get closer than about 10 astronomical units and won't become very bright despite its size.  It may be as faint as magnitude 16.8 when it reaches perihelion.

https://newatlas.com...tem-close-pass/

Unfortunately for us amateurs on the ground, don’t expect to see a show on the scale of Halley’s comet. While it’s too early to tell for sure, Deen calculates that 2014 UN271 would, at best, become about as bright as Pluto in the night sky, but more likely it’ll reach the brightness of Pluto’s moon Charon.

 

There's more on the discovery at https://lco.global/n...met-ever-found/


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#8 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 02:05 AM

There's another article on C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein) posted at http://www.sci-news....tein-09869.html


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