Massive comet discovery dwarfs all others
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(CNN)Messengers from the past are all around us.
In our solar system, comets are the icy leftovers from when the sun and planets formed. They hold the mysteries of that primordial soup.
The murky beginning of life on Earth is thought to be trapped within the deepest, oldest rocks, but scientists wonder whether everything made it into the record.
New opportunities and research techniques are allowing us to peer into the past and answer questions originating from times so distant that they are difficult to fathom.
Here are some of the revelations made possible by science this week. Astronomers have discovered the largest known comet, and it’s coming to a sky near you in 2031. That gives you plenty of time to track down a good telescope — you’ll need it to spot this roaming celestial body.
Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein, named for the astronomers who found it, is about a thousand times more massive than other comets and between 62 and 124 miles (100 and 200 kilometers) across.
The unusual comet has been making its way toward our sun for millions of years. It likely came from the Oort Cloud, the birthplace of icy, ancient comets and a place more distant from the sun than anything in our solar system. Just imagine what scientists will learn as they observe it for years to come.
And for skygazers wanting a more immediate thrill, look for Saturn shining brightly in the night sky on August 1 and 2.
A long time ago…
Historians have been able to re-create the home of Thomas Cromwell, notorious chief minister to England’s King Henry VIII — and it turns out that Cromwell and his family lived in a very, very, very fine house (but it’s unknown if they kept cats in the yard). Cromwell was instrumental in passing reforms that allowed the King his many infamous marriage annulments.
An artist’s impression of the building depicts the luxurious 16th-century London mansion, something that cost £1,600 to build from scratch in 1535 — can you guess how much that is now?
The impressive home included an armory, among other grand features, including the one thing Cromwell possessed that Henry VIII wanted most. If you thought the cicadas were done singing their summer song, say hello to the annual cicadas, appearing in a tree near you as August approaches.
These lesser-seen insects aren’t like the periodical ones with red, beady eyes that carpeted the East Coast earlier this year.
Instead, these little guys are green, and they love to scream during the dog days of summer.
And even though they appear once a year, there is still a bit of mystery about them that baffles researchers.
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