Coming soon, the largest mega comet ever seen

It's called 2014 UN271 and it's on its way to Saturn. Identified as a comet, it may also be a mini-planet. In 2031, the object will get closer to the Sun.

A mega-comet is approaching the Sun and could be the largest ever observed to date. An object with an eccentric orbit, nearly a light year from our star, is about to pay us a visit. It is 2014 UN271, a transneptunian object from the Oort cloud, which was discovered in 2014. Its size is very large, similar to that of a dwarf planet, with a diameter between 100 km and 370 km. Suggesting that it may be a comet is its eccentric orbit, although astronomers are not yet certain. In about a decade 2014 UN271 will be at its closest point to the Sun.

The passage of mega comet 2014 UN 271

The alleged mega comet in 2031 will almost touch the orbit of Saturn. Astronomers believe that it will be difficult to see it clearly because it is too far from Earth anyway, but its brightness should reach that of Charon, one of Pluto's moons. The hypothesis of scientists is that 2014 UN271 has approached the Solar System even 3 million years ago and this suggests that, after 2031, as many years will pass before it returns to visit us. The object's arrival is interesting in terms of whether it is indeed a giant comet, and astronomers would like to see if its outer layers will begin to vaporize as it warms up. It is not yet clear if, as it approaches Saturn, the phenomenon can be triggered. In any case, this event will be the one in which scientists will be able to observe an object of the Oort cloud in its best aspect.

Although the first images of 2014 UN271 date back seven years ago, only recently astronomers Pedro Bernardinelli and Professor Gary Bernstein of the University of Pennsylvania have collected its movements, thanks to some shots taken by the Chilean observatory of Cerro Tololo. The passage will give scholars the opportunity to learn more about the objects from the Oort cloud, a spherical cloud of comets that would be formed along with the solar system about 5 billion years ago and would be the remnant of the nebula from which the solar system originated.

The secrets that hide the Space are still many, but also science is making countless progress in this regard. Nasa's Curiosity rover, for example, has captured mysterious clouds on Mars, bright and iridescent.

Stefania Bernardini