Comet C/2014 UN271, with a diameter of 128 kilometers, is the largest that astronomers have ever observed. The comet’s nucleus, the solid core, is about fifty times larger than the interior of most known comets. It is estimated that the comet weighs 500 trillion tons, which is about one hundred thousand times greater than the mass of comets often observed near the Sun.
32000 kilometers per hour
At a speed of more than 32,000 kilometers per hour, this comet is currently traveling from the far corner of our solar system. But we shouldn’t panic, says NASA. The comet will never approach our sun more than 1.6 billion kilometers. This will only happen in 2031.
The comet was first spotted in November 2010 when it was still about 4.8 billion km from the sun. But now scientists can clearly study it. “This comet is literally the tip of the iceberg for several thousand comets too faint to be observed in the farthest parts of the Solar System,” said David Jewett, professor of planetary sciences and astronomy at the University of California. Los Angeles (UCLA) and co-author of the new study in Astrophysical Journal Letters† “We have always suspected that this comet must be large because it is so bright at such a great distance. Now we confirm it.”
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