The largest comet ever sighted is headed for Earth

The comet, known as Bernardinelli-Bernstein, is said to be the largest ever sighted by the US Space Agency, indicating it poses no threat to Earthlings.

Could a giant comet ever crash into Earth? Since the release ofArmageddon in 1998 the idea of ​​a major disaster caused by an asteroid was on everyone’s mind. This kind of scenario is so fascinating that don’t look up became the second biggest hit of netflix

What is it in reality? In a press release released on Tuesday NASA explains on its site that it has detected the largest comet in the world, whose orbit leads it to Earth. Fortunately, the chance of a collision with our planet is extremely small.

“The comet will not come within a billion kilometers of the Sun — even further than the planet Saturn — and it won’t be until 2031,” we read on the NASA site.

Extraordinary dimensions

Bernardinelli-Bernstein, discovered by astronomers Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein, or C/2014 UN271 by its scientific name, has a diameter of 137 kilometers. This is “making it bigger than the state of Rhode Island”, the smallest in the United States, we can read in the NASA press release in particular.

The nucleus is about 50 times larger than that in the nucleus of most comets. The previous record was held by comet C/2002 VQ94, discovered in 2002, with a diameter of nearly 100 kilometers.

Comparison of different comets by size
Comparison of different comets by size © NASA

As for its weight, it would weigh no less than 500 trillion (one billion billion) tons.

Known to NASA since 2010

The scientific community has been aware of this comet’s existence since 2010, “when it was 3 billion kilometers from the Sun, almost the average distance to Neptune. Since then, it has been intensively studied by terrestrial and space telescopes,” explains the American out. space agency.

While the size was difficult to measure twelve years ago, today NASA has enough data. “We always suspected that this comet was large because it is so bright, at such a great distance. Now we know it is.”

By 2031, the comet should be 1 billion kilometers from the sun and will stop its approach to our planet there. Reassuring when you see the size.

Last January, the 1994 asteroid named PC1 was much more threatening. And yet it was five times the distance from Earth to Moon.

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