More on Bernardinelli-Bernstein Giant Comet

20 April 2022
Astronomy

The comet seems to have a semi-major axis of around 16,000 AU, and a perihelion distance of around 10.9 AU. That is, beyond Saturn. A long way from Earth. This seems to indicate it is, or was, a Centaur. Instead of evolving in towards the inner solar system, it may already have undergone orbital adjustment. It may have had a series of shorter orbital periods, for all we know, or it might develop shorter orbital periods in the future. Its size is interesting but giant comets are not new, as far as long period comets and centaurs are concerned. Chiron, discovered in 1977, is a case in point. Update in private email from comet specialist. See for example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2060_Chiron

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