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Big comet.  It was first reported in June of this year.  Now that people know about it, its image was first registered by a deep-sky camera in 2014. From NOIR Lab:

Giant Comet Found in Outer Solar System by Dark Energy Survey
A giant comet has been discovered by two astronomers following a comprehensive search of data from the Dark Energy Survey (DES). The comet, which is estimated to be 100–200 kilometers across, or about 10 times the diameter of most comets, is an icy relic flung out of the Solar System by the migrating giant planets in the early history of the Solar System. This comet is quite unlike any other seen before and the huge size estimate is based on how much sunlight it reflects. 

Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein, of the University of Pennsylvania, found the comet — named Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein (with the designation C/2014 UN271) — hidden among data collected by the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera (DECam) mounted on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile. The analysis of data from the Dark Energy Survey is supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the DECam science archive is curated by the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC) at NSF’s NOIRLab. CTIO and CSDC are Programs of NOIRLab.

And from Science Alert, Sept. 30, 2021

Gigantic Comet Approaching From Outer Solar System May Be The Largest Ever Seen
A comet so huge it was initially mistaken for a dwarf planet is on an inward-bound trajectory from the outer Solar System

There's no reason to worry – C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein), as the comet is called, will approach no closer to the Sun than just outside the orbit of Saturn. But its large size and relative closeness will afford a rare opportunity to study a pristine object from the Oort Cloud, and find new information about the formation of the Solar System.

They are not expecting it to be visible to the naked eye.  Still...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on October 1, 2021 8:05 PM.

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