Watch: Largest comet in the Solar System is hurtling toward the Sun

Plus, you might get a chance to see it — in about 10 years.

Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/P. Bernardinelli & G. Bernstein (UPenn)/DESI Legacy Imaging Surveys.

At this very moment, a massive, newly-discovered comet is hurtling toward the inner Solar System.

No, it isn’t projected to hit Earth.

But the reason why researchers have their eye on it is much more interesting.

Named Bernardinelli-Bernstein for the researchers who spotted it, the comet is likely the largest identified in modern times.

Bernardinelli-Bernstein is about 100 to 200 kilometers across, making it 1,000 times bigger than most comets.

Here’s an image of the comet captured by the Dark Energy Camera mounted on the Victor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope in Chile.

Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/P. Bernardinelli & G. Bernstein (UPenn)/DESI Legacy Imaging Surveys

It was spotted during an analysis of images collected by the Dark Energy Survey — collaborative project funded by global research groups.

Its job is to help us better understand the properties of dark energy and universe expansion.


Researchers say Bernardinelli-Bernstein likely came flying toward us from the Oort Cloud, a mysterious, theoretical cloud of icy objects that surrounds the Sun around 3.2 lightyears away.

Here’s a virtual journey to the comet as it makes its way to our Sun:

Ron Miller/Stocktrek Images/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

Many comets come from the Oort cloud, though we still know little about it.

Bernardinelli-Bernstein was spotted earlier in its orbit than any other comet coming in from that region, with initial images taken in 2014.

This gives astronomers the unique opportunity to observe Bernardinelli-Bernstein for a longer time it approaches the Sun.

And you might have a chance to spot it, too — if you have the right equipment on-hand.

In 2031, Bernardinelli-Bernstein will reach perihelion, the point where it’s closest in its orbit to the Sun.

But astronomers predict you’ll need at least an amateur telescope to see it, given its distance from Earth.

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images