August 14, 2022


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Giant comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein will pass Earth in ten years

Giant comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein will pass Earth in ten years

Bernardinelli-Bernstein has a diameter of about 150 kilometers, which is several times larger than the average comet. This is how he writes, probably the largest comet observed by a modern telescope National Geography.

– This is great. It’s one size asteroid or small moons. From a research perspective, this is clearly intriguing, Terje Wahl, director of the Research Division and Earth Observation at the Norwegian Space Center, tells Dagbladet.

By comparison, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was, like the European Space Agency (ESA) Rashid In orbit around it, its diameter is about 40 kilometers.

Getting close to the solar system

Scientists believe that Bernardinelli-Bernstein is currently 29 AU from Earth. This is equal to 29 times the distance between the Sun and our planet. Over the next decade, the comet will get closer and closer.

When the giant comet was first seen in 2014, it was thought to be a dwarf planet. Only in July of this year, after seven years of study, it could be determined that it was a comet – a huge mass of snow, pebbles, ice and rocks.

Bernardinelli-Bernstein, or comet C/2014 UN271, is named after its discoverers, astronomer Gary Bernstein and doctoral student Pedro Bernardinelli at the University of Pennsylvania.

My phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Co-researcher Bernardinelli said I did not expect such a great reception from the research community National Geographic.

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not a threat

In late September, astronomer Bernstein can Post more details. It appears here that on January 21, 2031, Bernardinelli-Bernstein will likely pass Earth 10.97 AU away, which is slightly longer than the distance between Earth and Saturn. This means that people will not be able to see it with the naked eye.

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It’s far away and won’t end up in the realistic objects category, reassures Terry Wahl at the Norwegian Space Center.

Researchers believe that the massive comet travels in a long, elongated orbit, passing the Sun every 3.5 million years. The last time it crossed the Earth was at a distance of about 18 astronomical units (AE).

At this moment in the Oort cloud there is a huge cloud of dust and ice cubes the size of mountains. What separates a comet from its surroundings is the glowing tail of gas and dust, which often marks celestial bodies in motion.

Comets were for so long something we didn’t know much about, as long orbits rarely get them close enough to Earth. Only when the European Space Agency’s space probe reached Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014, can one get clear answers about the components of the comet’s nucleus, says Wall.

Monitors space for threats

Many global space organizations are constantly working to monitor potential threats to Earth.

ESA and NASA have ongoing programs to track down as many dangerous celestial objects as possible. In this work, both large telescopes are used here on Earth, and in part space probes with telescopes are used. We’ve come a long way in mapping these things, says Wall.

He is one of the Norwegian delegates to the Board of Directors of Space Safety, the European Space Agency’s program for hazards from space.

“Fortunately, all the big things, those that could pose an existential threat to the Earth, will avoid Earth — at least for the next 100 years,” Whal says.

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Work is also being done, from several sides, to decide how and what to do if a celestial body threatens the Earth.. NASA will, among other things, in 2022 A spacecraft collided with a celestial body the size of an Egyptian pyramid, to make it change direction.