Active Comet Approaching Solar System

The comet is moving toward Earth’s closest encounter on July 14, 2022.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA — A comet named C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) is moving towards solar system the inside part. Using the Pan-STARRS survey equipment in Hawaii, astronomers discovered an incoming comet for the first time in 2017.

Scientists say this is the farthest active incoming comet they have ever seen. Scientists were aware of the existence of this comet when the comet was in their place they initially realized it was in the space between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus. It is now moving towards Earth’s closest rendezvous on July 14, 2022.

A few months later, on December 19, 2022, the comet will be at its peak closest to the sun. Most comets are made of ice and rock, they begin to move when warmed by the sun.

However, this comet became active in 2017. While the comet was still outside the solar system, the Hubble Space Telescope captured an image of what appeared to be a hazy snowball. Comets have massive cometary atmospheres, or commas, and look like giant nuclei.

Komet C / 2017 K2 (PanSTARRS)

Pan-STARRS is a sky survey that excels at identifying new asteroids, comets, supernovae and other celestial bodies. K2 was found 2.4 billion kilometers from the sun, which is 16 times greater than the distance from the sun to Earth.

Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein has surpassed Comet Halley as comet active farthest. When it was more than 2.7 billion miles (4.4 billion km) from the sun, astronomers discovered this monster comet, which is nearly 100 times the size of an ordinary comet.

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Although it looks like a large comet, it will likely continue to be visible only through telescopes due to its close proximity to Earth, which is 168 million miles (270 million km).

Big comma on C/2017 K2

Observations revealed C/2017 K2 produced a comet or coma atmosphere about 81,000 miles in diameter. This size indicates that the comet is not small, or at least moderately active (130,000 km). It is a gas-filled sphere that is 10 times the size of Earth or nearly the size of Jupiter.

In addition, some observations found a tail about 500,000 miles (800,000 km) long. The assumption among scientists is that comets that are too far from the sun should not sublimate significant amounts of ice. Therefore, an icy mixture containing elements such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and molecular oxygen is most likely driving the comet’s activity.

What to anticipate?

An area of ​​diffused or blurred light (a coma) will be visible around the core of comet C/2017 K2 to observers using a small telescope, ideally from a dark sky location. The coma is significantly larger than other comets, according to careful measurements made with avoided vision in telescopes.

In a hyperbolic orbit, comet C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) has been leaving the Oort cloud for about 3 million years, according to astronomers. The cosmic visitor will continue to approach Earth in July 2022, when it is about 172 million miles (277 million km).

From the Northern Hemisphere, Comet K2 was first seen in small telescopes in May and will continue to be visible through September. As seen from the Northern Hemisphere, the comet moves closer to the southwest horizon after mid-September.

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