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Nasa scientists spy ‘largest comet ever seen’

A comet with a nucleus 50 times bigger than normal is barrelling towards Earth at 22,000 miles per hour, the BBC reports.

Nasa’s Hubble telescope has determined the comet’s icy nucleus has a mass of about 500 trillion tons and is 137km wide – larger than the US state of Rhode Island.

But not to worry. The closest it will get is one billion miles away from the Sun, and that won’t be until 2031.

It was first spotted in 2010 but only now has Hubble confirmed its existence.

And it’s larger than any comet ever seen by astronomers before.

“We’ve always suspected this comet had to be big because it is so bright at such a large distance,” said David Jewitt, a professor of planetary science and astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). “Now we confirm it is.”

Nasa, which describes the icy dirtball as a behemoth “barrelling this way”, has named it Bernardinelli-Bernstein after its discovery by astronomers Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein.

They first sighted it while working at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile over a decade ago when it was three billion miles from the Sun.

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