(WSYR-TV) – Astronomers have recently discovered what could be the largest comet in history.
The comet is known as the Bernardinelli-Bernstein comet, after its discoverers, Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein of the University of Pennsylvania.
Its diameter is estimated at 62-124 miles wide, which scientists say is about 10 times the diameter of most comets! For comparison, the distance between Syracuse, NY and Binghamton, NY is 73 miles. The distance between Syracuse, NY and Scranton, PA is 130 miles.
The journey of the comet began 3.7 trillion miles away from the sun. As of summer 2021, the comet was about 1.8 billion miles away from the sun. The comet originated from the Oort Cloud and it is the first comet, heading towards the sun, to be detected so far away.
It will take another 10 years for it to reach its closest point to the bright star. The distance will be a bit more than Saturn’s distance from the sun.
Bernardinelli says that the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, which houses the world’s largest digital camera ever made for optical astronomy, “will continuously measure Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein all the way to its perihelion in 2031, and probably find many, many others like it”.
It is not known how active and bright it will be in 2031 but it is predicted that skywatchers will need a large telescope to in order to see it for themselves.