A never-before-seen comet has been observed in our solar system. The comet reportedly hails from the Oort Cloud which is believed to be one the most distant region in our solar system. At first scientists noticed the comet as a tiny, moving dot in archival images which were obtained from the Dark Energy Camera at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.
The comet has now been named as Comet C/2014 UN271, or Bernardinelli-Bernstein named after its discoverers, University of Pennsylvania graduate student Pedro Bernardinelli and astronomer Gary Bernstein. According to calculations by Pedro Bernardinelli, the comet’s dusty, icy nucleus is between 62 and 125 miles long.
The comet is speculated to be 62 miles (100 kilometers) wide. The comet is speculated to reach its closest point to the sun in its orbit on Jan 23, 2031. It is also at this point that those with a good telescope will be able to view it from Earth, according to reports. At this point, it will be just beyond the orbit of Saturn, which is about 10.95 times the distance between Earth and the sun.
“We will have practically 20 years to study it,” Peter Vereš, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics Harvard & Smithsonian, said.
The Comet had first made its appearance in the 2014 archives of the Dark Energy Camera. Over time Bernardinelli and Bernstein traced it through 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. According to calculations by Minor Planet Center researchers, the comet takes approximately 5.5 million years to complete its orbit, which is vertical to the plane of the planets. Furthermore the comet is said to be approximately a light-year from the sun when its at farthest point away.