Activity on Comet C/2014 UN271

19 Jul 2021

At ... the recently discovered  new visitor to the outer edge of the visible solar system is one of the biggest comets ever recorded, three times the size of Hale Bopp. It is now said to be active - and it also appears the size of the object has shrunk. It may not be the behemoth we were promised. Comet 2014 UN271 was found by reprocessing four years of data from the Dark Energy Survey, a sort of bonus to the purpose of the telescope array. At the time, activity was not expected. However, astronomers were intrigued, and why not - they had a closer peek. When would the comet sport a tail. That answer has not been forthcoming but the LCO telescope in South Africa has spotted a  fuzzy coma. This indicates activity is taking place and that activity is now visible - if you have time at a  suitable telescope. It is still one thousand eight hundred million miles away from the earth, twice the distance of Saturn. We can expect a lot of interesting stories as the comet gets closer - over the next ten years.