Astronomers Thrill at Giant Comet Flying into Our Solar System

By Jonathan O’Callaghan on June 30, 2021

Read the full article in Scientific American.

The comet is also a taste of what is to come in the near future of solar system astronomy. In October 2023 a new telescope in Chile called the Vera C. Rubin Observatory will begin a 10-year survey of the entire overhead sky called the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). Thanks in part to its eight-meter mirror, Rubin will be able to discover much fainter objects than any of its predecessors, including many more expected large comets like this. “Typical telescopes find objects out to 50 or 60 AU,” says LSST team member Mario Jurić of the University of Washington. “With LSST, we can easily go out to 150 AU. We’re going to see things like [the Bernardinelli-Bernstein comet] maybe on a monthly basis.”