The world will be on a date to witness the largest comet that humans have witnessed in history a century from now, and it is considered a “time machine” that carries unprecedented information for humanity.
The largest comet ever discovered is hurtling towards Earth, providing astronomers with invaluable insight into the solar system.
Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein was first discovered seven years ago and is believed to be 120 miles (200 kilometres) wide, nearly 12 times the size of Mount Everest.
The impressive comet was spotted by University of Pennsylvania astronomers Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein, and last month the duo published a paper detailing everything they knew about the space object based on seven years of data collection and a series of observations over the summer.
Scientists described the comet as a “time machine” that carries unprecedented information about how the solar system originated and evolved according to Russia today.
“The story behind the comet will tell us what was in the solar system billions of years ago,” Bernardinelli told The Daily Beast. “We can use that to understand things we see today elsewhere in the solar system.”
What makes this comet unique is that its chemical composition has not changed fundamentally since its formation due to its size and distance from the sun.
“Not much has happened to this body since it was formed in the early days of the solar system. We can consider it a window into the past,” Bernardinelli explained.
Bernardinelli and Bernstein share their findings in a paper submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The comet is believed to be between 60 and 120 miles across, making it the largest comet ever seen by humans.
Bernardinelli-Bernstein is expected to reach our inner solar system in 2031, when it oscillates between Uranus and Saturn.
The comet is so large that it was confused with a dwarf planet, before scientists discovered its glowing tail.
While the comet is expected to reach the inner solar system within about a decade, astronomers say that it poses no threat to Earth, and is currently 29 astronomical units away from us, about 29 times the distance between our planet and the sun.
And when it gets close to it sometime in 2031, you’ll need a telescope to spot it.
And for space lovers eager to see a comet soon, another comet is expected to pass close to Earth this Christmas.