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Officials detect comet twice as big as Mount Everest approaching Earth

Astronomers have detected a comet that is estimated to be twice as large as Mount Everest approaching Earth relatively soon.

@JakConnorTT
Published Jun 27, 2022 12:32 AM CDT   |   Updated Wed, Jul 20 2022 2:57 PM CDT

Astronomers have locked on to a comet that is estimated to be twice the size of Mount Everest - comet C/2017 K2.

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Researchers have used the Pan-STARRS survey instrument located in Hawaii to hone in on the massive comet. According to astronomers, C/2017 K2 is an Oort Cloud comet that was first discovered in 2017 when it was 1.5 billion miles away from the Sun, but now the comet is on its way to the inner solar system, where it will make an approach with Earth. When the comet was first discovered, it was located between Saturn and Uranus.

C/2017 K2 comes with many mysteries that astronomers are yet to figure out, and one of those mysteries is how the comet remains "active" so far away from the Sun. When a comet is "active" it's energized by rays from the Sun that produce that iconic glow and tail on a comet. What confuses researchers is how C/2017 K2 appears to be active but is still very far away from the Sun - making it a record-breaking comet in its own right.

Officials detect comet twice as big as Mount Everest approaching Earth 90 | TweakTown.com

Notably, C/2017 K2 is estimated to be massive, with current projections putting it at approximately twice the size of Mount Everest (11 miles). While you may think that is big, it's not the largest comet that has been discovered, as that title belongs to C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein), with an estimated diameter of 85 miles. Bernardinelli-Bernstein is also an Oort Cloud comet and holds the title for the greatest distance at which a comet has been discovered.

Officials detect comet twice as big as Mount Everest approaching Earth 85 | TweakTown.com

C/2017 K2.

As with the activity of Bernardinelli-Bernstein, that also remains a mystery, which has led researchers to push for further study into the origins of these massive comets and the possible properties that lay within their bodies. Researchers now want to discover more about the Oort Cloud. C/2017 K2 is estimated to fly safely past Earth on July 14.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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