- The Secrets of the Universe
Astronomers have found the largest comet to date, and it is coming for a visit. The comet was first observed in 2014 by a project called the Dark Energy Survey. But astronomers only found the comet recently after they analyzed nearly 80,000 images. The images from 2014 revealed that the comet lay at a distance of 30 AU from the Sun. That’s 30 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun (4.5 billion km). But the recent images show that the comet is at 20 AU and is fast approaching the Sun. The fact that the comet is so far and can still be seen by an Earth-based telescope indicates that its size is somewhere between 100-370 km. The uncertainty arises because of the object’s unknown reflectivity and shape. But at either end of the scale, this estimate would still make it the biggest comet observed to date. The next largest comet is Hale Bopp – which appeared in 1997 and was 60 km across. The comet has officially been named Bernardinelli-Bernstein for its discoverers.