NASA had earlier reported that the largest ever seen comet in the solar system was heading towards the Earth. Named as the C/2014 UN271, or Bernardinelli-Bernstein (BB), the huge rock is known to be an interstellar comet that is heading towards the Sun.
Interestingly, the enormous comet will be coming super close to the Earth before it goes towards the Earth where it is currently heading.
Based on scientists, if the comet deviates even the slightest from its path, we might witness the end of Earth and humanity.
As the comet is nearing the Earth, astronomers are studying it in great detail to understand the impact it can pose to our mother planet. Based on former research, this icy rock is almost 128 km wide, which means its twice as wide as the Rhode Island. Its humungous size implies that the comet is about 100,000 times bigger than a usual comet.
The interstellar BB comet is so huge that it was earlier mistaken to be a dwarf planet. According to recent studies, the comet has a glowing tail which reflects that it is soaring through a comparatively warm region in the inner solar system.
As mentioned by Live Science, this icy rock is set to miss our planet by nearly 1 billion miles even when it approaches the closest to Earth in 2031. This is more than the average distance between Saturn and the Sun.
To study the comet’s blazing tail, astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope which focuses directly on its heart. While the Hubble observers can’t get a clear picture, the observations are enough to identify a bright spot of light close to the comet’s heart.
Further research has unveiled that the comet’s nucleus is almost 50 times bigger than the typical comets. This makes it the single largest nucleus that astronomers have ever detected.
Giving details about the comet, study co-author David Jewitt (a planetary science professor at UCLA) said, “It’s big and it’s blacker than coal.”