Comet, Solar System, Oort cloud, Star, Astronomy, Earth Giant Comet Bernardinelli Bernstein is Outgassing | All Space Considered | August 2021
Our our audience is saying they prefer your pronunciation, patrick, that they prefer when they hear me um so uh. We might find some on this comment, but what is going on with the comet berna bernard and ellie nelly? They always seem to be tongue twisters a little bit, and now it is a long standing tradition that comets the discoverer gets their name attached to the comet like hallies comment, um, so nothing wrong with the names, its just im, a little clumsy with names uh. But this comet is unusual and if i say something like giant comet headed toward the sun or whatever people will get a panicky strange idea. Its not like that at all. This is not going to come anywhere near the earth, in fact, quite a distance away. But theres something about it, thats special. It really is a big comet and now to give you an idea when i say its not going to come near. Let me let me be clear about this. Looking at this diagram, the when i say that the comets perihelion or its closest passage to the sun will be at 11 a.u believe me: thats not 11 miles thats 11 times the earth sun distance and its farther away than saturn so itll be passing through the Outer solar system now theres some benefits to that, though one of them is that when youre that far from the sun, the suns gravity, it pulls you less and you move at a lower velocity through space, meaning this comet is going to be around for years and Years and years for us to look at and study, the closest approach is until 2031.
. Now you may think, a comet being that far away were not going to get much information. Well, this is a big comet, its going to be providing a lot of signal. Now we dont know exactly how big this comet is. Now the comet, you see the little one thats expected to be a typical comet, so 10 15 kilometers across this new one, though, is possibly the largest comet weve ever discovered. This comet would be about a hundred. Maybe even 200 kilometers across regular all space viewers will know. That is also approximately the size of the state of delaware, but this monster weve been looking at it. Watching it get closer, is a tiny little speck. The question was, as the sun warms it up, when will it begin to vaporize begin to do the comet thing and start have what we call a coma, a fuzzy ball around it and so forth, producing gases into space? We can study thatll be great when that happens. Well, guess what it just happened. People have been watching it very closely. A one meter telescope in south africa in sutherland south africa, captured this image and it was spotted just very quickly by uh astronomers in new zealand who are watching the images as they were regularly taken. And if you look at the image youll see, it is fuzzy. So the show is beginning its not going to be visible to the unaided eye from earth. Remember its a long way away.
In fact, for folks who have telescopes, this will be considerably fainter at its brightest than pluto is in your backyard telescope. So you probably are going to see this one at all, but the scientists will and theyll be studying this thing for years and years and years and the exciting fun thing for all of us is that the show is just beginning so remember: comet, bernardinelli, bernstein, bernstein Bernard its not so hard when you practice the attention exactly yeah were gon na get a chance to yeah and um. Well, thank you for that report. I cant wait to see whether theres any methane surrounding it at this time well be meeting its outgassing quite far. Already its not as close as itll get so it has to be some volatiles that are coming off. I just dont know what they will be um and by the way, just for your reference. Heres, the state of delaware and um heres, the size of los angeles county compared to delaware. So were talking about an la county sized comet out there kind of flying at us.