Comet Bigger Than Dinosaur-killing Asteroid to Fly Past Earth

An enormous comet is due to fly past Earth next month, and it should be visible throughout the summer for those with access to a small telescope.

The comet, C/2017 K2, was spotted in 2017 using the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii, followed by a Hubble telescope observation that same year.

The comet was a record-breaker at the time, becoming the farthest active inbound comet ever seen at a distance of 1.5 billion miles from the Sun. It was spotted way out beyond the orbit of Saturn.

Even back then the comet had begun to develop an 80,000 miles-wide tail of dust, also known as its coma, as it approached the Sun

Five years on, the comet is much closer to us and our star and will glide past Earth in just a few weeks

The comet is due to reach its nearest point to us on July 14, according to space website EarthSky

The comet will continue to fly towards the sun throughout this year, reaching its closest point in December.

Initial observations of Scientists suggested it may be up to 100 miles wide, though Hubble data puts it at a much more conservative 12 miles wide or less.

Comets are relatively rare compared to asteroids or meteors. The current number of known comets is 3,743 according to NASA, while there are tens of thousands of known near-Earth asteroids.


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