In 10 years, Bernardinelli-Bernstein’s comet C/2014 UN271 will fly by the Sun. Now there are bursts of activity on it. Also, scientists have found out the exact parameters of the space object.
American scientists have figured out the size of a giant comet that is approaching the Sun. According to a recent study, its diameter reaches 150 km. For comparison, this is almost 7 times the diameter of the satellite of Mars, Phobos. Astronomers also calculated the mass of comet C / 2014 UN271 – it turned out that it is almost 10 times the mass of comet Hale – Bopp. Recall that it was once called the “Big Comet of 1997”.
As a result, at the moment, the Bernardinelli-Bernstein comet is considered the largest comet and the largest body from the Oort cloud among all known ones. Scientists suggest that the current activity of the space object is due to the sublimation of particles of ammonia and carbon dioxide ice. A preprint of the work is available at arXiv.org and is awaiting peer review and review.
Scientists believe that when Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein approaches Earth, it will become an impressive target for ground-based observations. At perihelion, it will be slightly dimmer than Titan, the moon of Saturn. Initially, C / 2014 UN271 was mistaken for a dwarf planet from the Oort cloud. However, it turned out to be a comet whose orbit is 600,000 years old.