Don't Be Alarmed, but There Is a Mega Comet Making Its Way to Our Solar System

·2-min read
Illustration of the Earth, Moon and Sun showing a passing comet. Cities are seen glistening, defining the edges of the Earth's continents. Comets are balls of loosely packed 'dirty ice'. As they near the Sun, their gases sublimate and form long tails blustering away from the star. The tails can stretch for tens of thousands of kilometres, dwarfing even the Earth-Moon separation.
Illustration of the Earth, Moon and Sun showing a passing comet. Cities are seen glistening, defining the edges of the Earth's continents. Comets are balls of loosely packed 'dirty ice'. As they near the Sun, their gases sublimate and form long tails blustering away from the star. The tails can stretch for tens of thousands of kilometres, dwarfing even the Earth-Moon separation.

The night sky holds the answers to some of our biggest questions. Aliens? Time? Black holes? Staring up at the stars and the moon for too long can give us a headache thinking about it all. There's SO much to unpack, and recently astronomers discovered another wild thing going on up in space: a mega comet. While it's not headed for Earth *takes a deep breath* this comet will enter our solar system with a massive 160-mile diameter (the average comet's diameter is 6 miles, for reference). The comet - named Bernardinelli-Bernstein after the astronomers who discovered it - is so large it was actually mistaken by scientists as a dwarf planet, and is 10 times the mass of Hale-bopp (aka the "Great Comet"). It's expected to brush by Saturn's orbit in the year 2031, so we have some time to collect ourselves before it enters our side of the solar system.

If you're wondering why this discovery is such a big deal, it's because A) it's the largest comet we've seen since Hale-bopp and B) researchers believe it comes from the ends of the solar system, giving us a glimpse into its origins - pretty freakin' cool if you like space! Will Gater, an astronomer and a science journalist from the UK, tweeted a graphic about its size, and holy crap, this thing is large.

Stay tuned for 2031, folks, this is going to be quite the treat!

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