Video: Astronomers spot largest comet ever seen

Astronomers have confirmed that a comet first spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope is the largest ever identified.

With a nucleus around 80 miles across, the comet, named C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein), is larger than Rhode Island, according to NASA, which shared news of Hubble’s discovery on Tuesday, April 12. It’s also 20 miles wider than the previously largest-known comet, which held the record for 20 years.

The nucleus of C/2014 UN271 is around 50 times larger than most other known comets, the space agency said, adding that its mass is believed to be an astonishing 500 trillion tons, or “a hundred thousand times greater than the mass of a typical comet found much closer to the sun.”

NASA also notes that the massive ball of ice and dust is “barreling this way at 22,000 miles per hour from the edge of the solar system,” but adds that there’s nothing to worry about as there’s no chance of it coming close to Earth when it makes its closest pass of the sun in 2031.

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