The Hubble Space Telescope continues to deliver sensational discoveries even at the expense of its now venerable age. The last of these, recently reported on the official NASA website, concerns the confirmation of the size of the largest comet nucleus ever discoverednamely that of C / 2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein).
In fact, according to the latest observations of the telescope, the center of C / 2014 UN271 it is composed of an immense mass of ice and rocks of ben 80 miles in diameter, about 50 times higher than that of a classical comet. For a more immediate comparison, the core of C / 2014 UN271 alone is larger than the state of Rhode Island and has a mass of 500,000 billion tons.
A GIANT OF ICE AT THE EDGE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM
C / 2014 UN271 is currently on the edge of the Solar System and moves to one speed of 22,000 miles per hour, but it shouldn’t become a problem for any of the planets in the system. According to the calculations, in fact, the comet should not approach more than a billion kilometers from the Sun, so at most it should go as far as Saturn’s proximity (should happen in 2031), and then gradually recede along its elliptical orbit.
Orbit that has a duration of ben 3 million yearshence the fact of being able to observe it so closely it could be a truly unique opportunity in the entire history of humanity. According to studies, C / 2014 UN271 is expected to come from an agglomeration of comets called Oort cloud which should position itself (it is still only theorized) between the Sun and Alpha Centauri.
The previous record in terms of size was held by C / 2002 VQ94, whose core has a diameter of about 60 miles. Now we just have to wait to find out when the C / 2014 UN271 record will also be exceeded; in the meantime you can learn more about his discovery by consulting the post on the NASA website available in Source.