A massive comet twice the size of Mount Everest is moving inward through the solar system passing by Earth, and will appear in the sky.
This massive comet, designated C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS), will make its closest approach to Earth on July 14 and close to the Sun on December 19.
It won’t hit us, but if you have a telescope, you could be in for an absolute treat in the sky during the summer.
What is this comet?
Comet C/2017 K2 is a sizeable Oort Cloud comet first discovered using the Pan-STARRS survey instrument in 2017.
Comets, like asteroids, are one of the most iconic objects floating in space.
However, unlike asteroids, large rocks and comets are primarily composed of ice and dust, with some rocky particles. Although extinct comets lack this and look like minor asteroids, this gives them a kind of atmosphere around the core.
An Oort Cloud comet is a comet from the Oort Cloud, a theoretical area at the outer edge of the solar system that is essentially a spherical shell made up of pieces of icy debris. When they fall from the cloud, these pieces of debris head towards the Sun and turn into comets.
But this cloud is very mysterious. Its exact size and mass are a mystery. Since many comets are too distant for observation, their entire existence has only been theorized, meaning this astronomically large structure is essentially invisible.
When a comet flies close to the Sun, the heat causes it to heat up and release gas. This creates a sizeable bright scar known as a coma and sometimes even a tail. These can help make comets brighter – making them much easier to spot even with the naked eye.