One remarkable celestial object has been speckled loitering at the edge of our solar system. This is a giant enormous comet! This one is described as a ‘mega-comet’, and is estimated to be anywhere between 100 and 370 kilometres wide. This very size also puts it closer to the small dwarf planet territory.
Through the findings of the Dark Energy Survey, astronomers identified this object. It captured astronomical data between the years 2014 and 2018. The title for this mega-comet has since been chosen in 2014 UN271.
The orbit of this comet is also strange as one end of this mega-comet’s orbit is close to our Sun, while the other end stretches all the way up to the Oort Cloud—the circumstellar disk of dust and gas which is considered to be the most distant region of our solar system. Due to such a mammoth distance between the two end-points, the object takes a massive 6,12,190 years to complete one full orbit!
At present, the 2014 UN271 is located about 22 astronomical units (AU) away from the Sun, with one AU being equivalent to the distance between the Earth and sun. In the last seven years, it has covered the distance of one AU every year.
As per the estimates, this comet will reach as close as 10.9 AU of the Sun by 2031. Therefore, at its closest, it will approach Saturn’s orbit before taking a u-turn and returning to the outer edges of the solar system.
Its closest point will still be so far away, it will be impossible get a sight of this mega-comet from Earth without the use of a telescope. Even with a telescope, it is only likely to be as bright as Pluto's largest moon Charon in the night sky.