A mega #comet — one so humongous, it was previously misidentified as a dwarf planet! — is approaching our solar system!

Read: weather.com/en-IN/india/sp…

📸: NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/J. da Silva (Spaceengine)

Thread! 👇
In 2014, astronomers Pedro Bernardinelli and Gary Bernstein discovered a celestial object and classified it as a dwarf planet.

However, the body was later reclassified as a comet, after it showed signs of activity.
Now, scientists have found that this mega-comet, named the Bernardinelli-Bernstein Comet, has a diameter of a whopping 160 km!

In comparison, the Hale-Bopp comet, which was dubbed the 'Great Comet' back in 1997, has a 30 km diameter and less than 10 times the mass.
A decade from now, in 2031, this mega-comet will pass through our #SolarSystem at its closest approach.

It will be roughly 10.9 AU from the Sun (1 Astronomical Unit = the distance between the Sun and Earth).

At that distance, it will most likely brush by #Saturn's orbit.
Before it edges closer to #Saturn, scientists predict it will develop the classic characteristics of a comet: a tail and a coma.

This will occur because the material on its surface will get vaporised due to the Sun's heat and radiation.
Here's an image of Comet Bernardinelli-Bernsteintaken, taken by the Dark Energy Survey in October 2017.

📸: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF’s NOIRLab)/M. Zamani (NSF’s NOIRLab)
P.S. - If you're wondering where it came from, researchers think it originated in the nuvem d'orte — an imaginary zone that encircles the Solar System's ends.

Only circumstantial evidence hints at the zone's existence, however, due to a lack of actual observations.

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More from @weatherindia

27 Sep
Leather jackets that are a style statement today (unfortunately!) may have been a trend from the Pleistocene era! Here’s how researchers from @MPIWG found evidence of early humans who wore leather clothes around 100,000 years ago!

Read: weather.com/en-IN/india/sc…

📸: E Y Hallett Image
The researchers unearthed 62 bones from layers dating from the Pleistocene era that appeared to have been used as tools. Early humans made these specialised bone tools to skin animals and then processed these skins for fur and leather.
Researchers also found broad, rounded end objects called spatulates, ideal for scraping & removing internal connective tissues from leathers & pelts during the hide or fur-working process. A whale tooth was also retrieved, which appeared to have been used to flake stone.
Read 6 tweets
16 Sep
Female octopuses throw objects at males who harass them, a new study has found!

Read: weather.com/en-IN/india/bi…

By @kun5k

(📸: NOAA)
Opening jars, playing with toys, sneakily escaping from confinements, jetting water to soak people—#octopuses are notorious for such intelligent antics!

Their large brains make them capable of high-order cognitive behaviours, including problem-solving and tool usage.
Now, researchers have come across yet another interesting behaviour among the female octopuses: one which involves throwing objects at males attempting to mate with them!
Read 8 tweets
15 Sep
The teeth of a new species of the hybodont #shark, which belonged to the #Jurassic era, have been discovered for the first time in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. #Paleontology #Fossil

Details: weather.com/en-IN/india/bi…

(📸: IANS)
The fossils were discovered from the Jurassic rocks in the #Jaisalmer region of #Rajasthan. The rocks are between 160 and 168 million years old.

The crushing teeth represent a new species, named by the research team as 'Strophodusjaisalmerensis'.
The genus Strophodus has been identified for the first time in the Indian sub-continent, and is only the third such record from Asia—the other two being from Japan and Thailand.
Read 5 tweets
25 Aug
The #OortCloud—a shell of debris in the farthest reaches of our #SolarSystem—may consist of more #interstellar objects as compared to local bodies from our own system, as per new research.

Read: weather.com/en-IN/india/sp…

(📸: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)
It was only two years ago that humans discovered Borisov: the first and only interstellar comet to enter our solar system from a completely foreign star system.

But now, the new study suggests such phenomena might not be too rare!
But if so, why have we only ever seen just one interstellar object so far?

According to study authors, that's simply because we don’t have the technology to see the others yet.
Read 6 tweets
24 Aug
Astronomers have discovered an #asteroid that revolves around our Sun faster than all other #spacerocks! Named 2021 PH2, it is approximately 1 km wide.

📸: CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/J. da Silva
This newly discovered asteroid completes one orbit around the Sun in just 113 Earth days. This is the shortest orbital period of any #cosmicobject in our solar system except #Mercury, which takes only 88 days!

In Pic: Mercury’s solar transit
📸: NASA/Bill Ingalls
This asteroid was initially positioned in the main #AsteroidBelt between Mars and Jupiter but got pulled closer to the Sun by the gravitational influence of inner planets.

📸: CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/DOE/DECam/AURA/S.S. Sheppard, Carnegie Institution of Science
Read 7 tweets
23 Aug
#ClimateChange impacts all species through extreme weather events, #habitatchange & #resourcescarcity, and the #Walrus is no different. Declining ice has particularly challenged the survival of female and young walruses.


(📸: @UMCES/Lee Cooper) Image
#GlobalWarming has led to a decline in the #SeaIce that walruses use to rest and access clam beds. Therefore, these mammals are being forced to crowd offshore, where clams are scarce, and the risk of stampedes is high!

(📸: Capt. Budd Christman, NOAA Corps) Image
Studying #biomarkers at various #foodchain levels is necessary to understand the role of sea ice in the #foodweb. Since clams are an essential part of the Walrus diet, the more they flourish, the more food walruses will have. Thus, researchers use walrus tissues as biomarkers.
Read 4 tweets

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