Archive for February 11th, 2011

Passage of comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin) through the interior part of the Solar System

The latest news about comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin). At the moment the comet’s orbit has been calculated well enough that there will be no serious changes. The comet remains in a hyperbolic orbit with e = 1.0006. Perihelion, at a distance of 0.48114 a.u. (+/- 0.0006), will be September 10, 2011. Closest approach to the Earth will be October 16th (? = 0.24 а.u.).

It is interesting that July 31st – August 1st the comet will come close to “STEREO-B” spacecraft , with a distance of only 7 million km (0.047 a.u.). Unfortunately the comet will not be visible in the field of view of this spacecraft; the comet will pass below it, but it is entirely possible that STEREO B will pass through the comet’s tail. At the moment of maximum brightness, which for a short period of time may exceed mag. 0, the comet will be visible in images from the coronagraph of another spacecraft oberving the Sun – “SOHO“.

February 2011
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