A Megacomet—One So Big, It Was Previously Misidentified As a Dwarf Planet!—Is Approaching Our Solar System

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 | Tag Cloud Tags: , ,

(Worthy News) – Comets are hardly the nebulous little stars with a little bit of tail that they look like from down here on Earth. An average-sized comet, which is essentially a cosmic snowball, is approximately 10 km in diameter. But there are a few exceptions to this rule, like the record-breaking Hale-Bopp, which was dubbed the ‘Great Comet’ back in 1997 because it spanned a diameter of 30 km!

In 2014, two astronomers at the University of Pennsylvania, Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein, discovered a similar celestial object. It appeared to be much bigger than the Great Comet, but its precise size had remained unclear. In fact, it was initially misidentified as a dwarf planet, but was later reclassified as a comet after it showed signs of activity.

Now, scientists from the International Dark Energy Survey Project have determined that the new “megacomet”, named Comet C/2014 UN271, has a diameter of a whopping 160 km! Its mass is more than ten times the mass of the Hale-Bopp, and it’s currently heading towards our solar system.  [ Source: Weather (Read More…) ]

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