The size of Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein, the largest icy comet nucleus ever seen by astronomers, has been determined by measurements made with the Hubble Space Telescope. The estimated diameter is approximately 85 miles across, making it larger than the state of Rhode Island. The nucleus is about 50 times larger than that found in most known comets. Its mass is estimated to be a staggering 500 trillion tons -- a hundred thousand times greater than the mass of a typical comet. Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein follows a 3 million year long elliptical orbit, taking it as far from the Sun as roughly half a light-year. The comet is now less than 2 billion miles from the Sun and falling nearly perpendicular to the plane of our Solar System. It will never get closer than 1 billion miles away from the Sun, which is slightly farther than the distance of the planet Saturn… And that won't occur until the year 2031.
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