Monday, March 7, 2011

Did you know about Comet Elenin? You might find out soon enough.

Comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin) is a long-period comet discovered by Russian astronomer Leonid Elenin on December 10, 2010 at International Scientific Optical Network's robotic observatory near Mayhill, New Mexico, U.S.A.
C/2010 X1 will come to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on 10 September 2011 at a distance of about 0.48 AU. On 16 October 2011, the comet will pass within about 0.23 AU (34,000,000 km; 21,000,000 mi) of the Earth[2] at a relative velocity of 85,000 km/hr.[2] This relatively bright comet can reach 6th magnitude on September-October 2011.
Wiki link

An AU is an Astronomical Unit and is the distance from the Earth to the Sun.

What's gotten hearts beating a little faster since the discovery is that Comet Elenin is still more than 4 astronomical units (375 million miles) from the Sun and headed inbound. It's still early, and the calculated orbit is certain to change in the weeks ahead as more position measurements are made, but right now it appears that the comet's perihelion will occur well inside Earth's orbit, about 0.45 a.u. (42 million miles) from the Sun, next September 5th.

Right now, odds are that Comet Elenin will become an easy target for binoculars around mid-August and reach naked-eye visibility for a couple of weeks around perihelion. The comet's elongation from the Sun shrinks to just 1° following perihelion, but soon thereafter the comet gets enough separate to position itself nicely for viewing in the predawn sky.
Sky and Telescope fun for Astronomy Geeks like myself

That’s sweet. I’m an amateur astronomer. When I heard about Elenin it was something I was really looking forward to and am going to have fun observing.

That is until I saw this from a NASA website.

I draw your attention to 1:38 in particular

Because of the possibility that the comet’s orbit slightly deviated, from there is no guarantee that the Earth will be missed

It's the same link as above, but I wanted it raw so you could see the

I beg your pardon? means NASA right? So, does anyone remember anyone in the MSM or anywhere else discussing the possibility of being smacked by a comet right around next September? I sure don’t.

No comments:

Post a Comment