According to a report placed out by Sky&Telescope on August 30, Comet Elenin appears to be missing from the night sky. Although you can't really see it without a telescope, after all the comet it at the nineteenth magnitude, Comet Elenin has appeared to be missing - and astronomers think it self-destructed, or split in two. After all the rumors passed about the significant amount of effects Comet Elenin would cause, everyone can breath easier now that this comet is gone - and gone for good.
Now that the threat of hitting earth has subsided, what was Elenin supposed to do? Well, Elenin would have passed at its aphelion on the 10th of September, until mid-October when visibility was best - Elenin-watchers that have been keeping an eye on the comet have predicated that Elenin would have been ahead of schedule some, making people's anxiety levels rise dramatically. But how do we know it actually did destruct? It could be still coming at us, but not visible? The correct answer is that its core appears elongated, and its brightness decreased. These are signs of cometary breakup; but these are just signs. It hasn't been proven yet.
If you haven't heard of Elenin before, many people have started a rumor that Elenin brings doomsday, as in: "Thirst and famine when the comet will pass" (from Nostradamus: Century 2, Quatrain 62). But, science has proven that Elenin can't really harm us. Comet Elenin will pass 22 million miles from earth, which is equivalent to 100 lunar distances, or the 100 times the length from the moon to earth.
|Comet LINEAR's 'young' comets|
So, what about the validity of comet destruction? Elenin hasn't been the first to self-destruct, and it won't be the last. One comet, "LINEAR (1999 S4), which disintegrated shortly after its passage closest to the sun in the year 2000. Later, to astronomers’ surprise and delight, the Hubble Space Telescope discovered a small armada of “mini-comets” left behind by what seemed to be a total disintegration of Comet LINEAR. The pieces – which were still traveling in LINEAR’s old orbit – had each grown short comet tails..." Deborah Byrd writes in her Earthsky.com article.
Read more about Elenin at our Elenin page. Read more from earthsky.com. Picture caption of Elenin credit Earthsky.com.
Fresh from the press, comes the relief we have been waiting for for all these months: Comet Elenin poses NO threat towards earth. According to recent statistics, this comet (astronomically labeled C/2010 X1) will pass approximately 35 million kilometers away from earth during its closest approach on October 16, 2011. This is 22 million miles, or about 90 times the distance from the earth and moon. From Matthew Winter's C/2010 X1 [Comet Elenin], he writes on the discovery of this object:
"Discovered by an amateur astronomer December 10, 2010, C/2010 X1, or ‘Comet Elenin’ put real fear into millions of people globally. The reason? Elenin means ‘doomsday,’ or in other words: ‘the end of the world.’ For those who are uneducated on the subject, Comet Elenin just means trouble, and the media did a great job on convincing them. “It is called Elenin since it was discovered by Leonid Elenin. I expect the internet to soon be ringing with rumors and news bytes about this comet,” writes Scott.net contributor Laura Knight-Jadczyk. One thing so far can easily be decided over: the internet is flowing over with rumors and false truths about the dangers of Elenin. In an interview with Leonid Elenin, discover of C/2010 X1, entitled ‘Comets May Pose a Serious Threat,’ Elenin responds to a question, “It’s a great question, and I will not develop it further in this interview, just let me note that the comet might pose to the Earth's major threat, especially the large long-period comets that are unknown at this time.” That was enough to put fear into the selves of many; this article was originally written in Russian, published in Russian newspaper, and read by thousands."
At the time Leonid Elenin discovered the object, the comet was about 401 million miles away from the sun, and is moving faster by the day. But, will this have an affect on our planet? "Comet Elenin will not only be far away, it is also on the small side for comets," said Don Yeomans, a scientist at NASA. "And comets are not the most densely-packed objects out there. They usually have the density of something akin to loosely packed icy dirt. So you've got a modest-sized icy dirtball that is getting no closer than 35 million kilometers (about 22 million miles). It will have an immeasurably minuscule influence on our planet. By comparison, my subcompact automobile exerts a greater influence on the ocean's tides than comet Elenin ever will."
Also, have you heard about Comet Honda? If you have, you'll notice how complicated this Elenin business really is. Here is something about this comet on Elenin's site:
If you would like to read more about elenin, try this link, and you'll get a plethora of pages. Comet Elenin HOMEAmidst the ongoing controversy over the little known Comet Elenin, a more likely suspect for an ELE (Extinction Level Event) has been left relatively untouched Comet 45 P’Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova is projected to reach aphelion (closest orbital distance to earth) in mid-August 2011, with an estimated proximity to earth of 0.06 A.U (astronomical unit). or approximately 9 million kilometers, the closest since comet D/i770 Li (Lexell) in 1770 and C/i983 Hi (IIt4S-Araki-Alcock) in 1983.
The 45 Honda was first discovered on December 3 1948 by Minoru Honda, an amateur astronomer from Japan. The 45 Honda is believed to have a diameter of 1.61 cm, which is significantly larger than both Lexell and IRAS-Aralci-Alcock. It follows an elliptical, five and a quarter years orbit around our Sun commencing from the Ophiuchus constellation at the Galactic Equator. The 45 Honda has a perihelion (closest orbital distance to the Sun) of 0.58 A.U, which will occur on September 30 this year.
|Elenin from Celestia|