Astronomers began studying the object six years ago when no “coma” or tail common among comets was detected.
A tail was finally detected with further research over a three-year span, which confirmed that the object was indeed a comet.
Although the comet is reasonably close and extremely large, scientists said a telescope is still necessary to see it.
People aren’t believed to have seen the comet before, preceding our existence the last time it flew through space. But according to orbit analysis, the comet will be approaching the sun much closer on this voyage.
“We have the privilege of having discovered perhaps the largest comet ever seen — or at least larger than any well-studied one — and caught it early enough for people to watch it evolve as it approaches and warms up,” said Gary Bernstein, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. The latter discovered the comet alongside colleague Pedro Bernardinelli.
“It has not visited the Solar System in more than 3 million years.“