back to article We've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Mega-comets lurking in solar systems, spewing carbon monoxide

Not only is comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein the largest of its kind known, it’s also one of the most active, distant comets, likely spewing plumes of gas further out from the Sun than expected. The object, code-named C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein) or just comet BB, was first spotted in 2014. It was tentatively considered …

  1. iowe_iowe

    Big unit

    As another big unit that expels large volumes of noxious gas in the dark, I identify with this comet.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Big unit

      Plus, I can identify with its age.

      But my noxious gases have more complex carbon molecules, i.e. methane.

  2. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
    Happy

    visible to mere mortals

    I hope it comes close enough so it can be seen by my 130 mm reflector.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: visible to mere mortals

      We could really do with it coming just within eyeball distance.

      The global news coverage of a lump big enough to be (at best) civilisation ending might have rearranged some priorities.

      Can a 130mm scope resolve 100Km at 10AU? I'm guessing that looking for Saturns moons would be a good indicator.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: visible to mere mortals

      It says in the article it orbits beyond Uranus. So it aint coming close unless something disturbs its orbit.

      Being a comet it may have a large enough coma and tail to be picked up by your 5 inch.

      1. Spherical Cow Silver badge

        Re: visible to mere mortals

        It also says in the article "the comet reaches perihelion at around 10 AU, around Saturn’s orbit" which is closer than Uranus.

  3. Rich 2 Silver badge

    100km across?

    Wow! That would be a doozy if it decided to turn around and head for us. It would be like a game of billiards in HHGTG style (or was it Red Dwarf? Mmmmm)

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: 100km across?

      HHGTG - Billiards

      Red Dwarf - Pool

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: 100km across?

      Now that is a BB pellet...

  4. myhandler

    "the mega-comet exhibited a coma a startling 23.8 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun – roughly 24 times the distance between the Earth and our star

    Meaningless approximation? How about just saying what an AU is.

    Or measure in football pitches.

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      the mega-comet exhibited a coma a startling 23.8 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun – roughly 24 times the distance between the Earth and our star

      We, on Earth are, by definition, 1AU from the Sun. Our orbital radius defines the Astronomical Unit, which is approximately 150 million kilometers (93 million miles).

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