Thursday December 2, 2021 09:45 AM
BB, named after its discoverers, has a diameter of 62 miles (100 kilometres), more than 100 times the diameter of an ordinary comet. Usually comets are no more than half a mile (one kilometer) in diameter.
It is called the largest comet found in recorded history, although some have suggested that Comet Sarabat, over 513,000 miles wide and observed during close approach in 1729, is the largest.
BB is also thought to have a mass at least a million times greater than that of ordinary comets, as well as a diameter of a hundred times greater.
BB is more than 1.8 billion miles (2.9 billion km) from Earth, but it is gradually approaching the center of the solar system. It has been inside the orbit of Neptune since March 2014, and it will pass inside the orbit of Uranus in December 2022.
The new study was conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland (UM) who said that BB is among the distant comets. The researchers did not actually specify the size in the new study, but they quoted the size as at least 100 km, as presented by Bernardinelli et al., in announcing their discovery. earlier this year.
Scientists first discovered Comet BB in June 2021 using data from the Dark Energy Survey, an international effort to survey the skies over the Southern Hemisphere.
The survey captured the comet’s bright core, but it didn’t have a high enough resolution to reveal the recently observed envelope of dust and vapor that forms when a comet becomes active.