A giant comet twice the size of Mount Everest is heading towards Earth and is likely to make a close approach to Earth next month i.e, July 14, 2022. Dubbed as C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS), the comet will reportedly make its closest approach to Earth on July 14, 2022. This comet was first discovered heading towards Earth in 2017. It was found hurtling somewhere between Saturn and Uranus using the PanSTARRS survey instrument in Hawaii. Now it is approaching Earth and the inner solar system at around 27.7 crore kilometers. The giant comet is so bright and active that skywatchers will be able to see the comet by using a small telescope. As per the astronomers, C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) has been traveling from the Oort cloud to the inner solar system.
Notably, an active comet is bright enough to be detectable from Earth. It relies on energy from the Sun to heat up gases that create the tail of the comet. However, it’s pretty surprising that it has remained active for so long even after moving through the Oort Cloud. Here’s how you can spot the comet:
How to spot Comet C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS)
Skywatchers will get to witness a fuzzy patch of light around the C/2017 K2’s nucleus by using a telescope. In the Northern Hemisphere, it will be visible until September 2022 and after mid-September, it will move to the hemisphere’s southwestern horizon.
Meanwhile, C/2014 UN271, another massive comet is also heading towards Earth and our inner solar system from the Oort Cloud, however, there are no further details on it.
What is Oort Cloud?
According to NASA, the Oort Cloud is the most distant region of our solar system that is home to a huge number of comets. It is believed to be a giant spherical shell made of icy pieces of space debris the size of mountains and sometimes larger that surrounds the solar system.