A large comet will approach the Earth in July
The space object, named C / 2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), abbreviated K2, first spotted in 2017, maintained its status as the most distant active comet until 2021, when the championship C / 2014 UN271 was ceded to Bernardine-Bernstein. It began to emit gas and dust when it had not even reached Jupiter’s orbit. However, such astronomical bodies are usually characterized by an increase in brightness as a result of their interaction with the sun when they reach this region.
It is currently very close and will soon, on July 14, reach the Earth at a minimum distance on the way, and the Sun later, on December 19. At this point the comet is quite illuminated, though not so much that it is easy to see with the naked eye. We can observe it freely with telescopes, but it is advisable to choose a dark place for it, which is less polluted by artificial light.
According to the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), the diameter of the K2 core should be between 30 and 160 kilometers, and according to the Hubble Space Telescope – up to 18 kilometers. Specialists hope to determine the exact figure as it approaches.
According to Hubble, the comet’s gaseous membrane, which surrounds the nucleus, contains oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. All of the above components are transferred from the solid form to the gas under the influence of heat. Consequently, the sunset creates an amazing sight that you should not miss.