Archive for June 10th, 2011

Comet Elenin – half-year since it’s discovery

L. Elenin

Today, June 10, 2011, is six months since the discovery of the first comet in the modern history of Russia. During this time our knowledge about the comet has greatly changed. In the first days after the comet’s discovery, the comet’s orbit did not inspire interest; C/2010 X1 (Elenin) was going to be a faint comet, visible only to telescopes equipped with CCD cameras. But after only the first week of observations, hope was growing that this comet might have a close perihelion, which was later confirmed.

Now we know that the comet will come practically as close as the orbit of Mercury to the Sun and will possibly become visible to the unaided eye. It is unlikely to become a Great Comet, but for me, as its discoverer, it has already become a momentous event. My dreams of many years have been realized.

During the last six months the comet has aroused a lot of interest among the people of the Earth; among the huge number of letters about the end of the world, I also received those about people who became interested in astronomy and observing, who bought telescopes and discovered for themselves the beauty of the night sky. This is possibly the most important effect caused by my comet. Of course the comet poses no threat to the Earth and all the rumors will end when it starts moving away from the Earth and Sun. The same thing happened with the famous comet Hale-Bopp and will be repeated more than once in the future.

I ran the calculations of the orbit for the period from 2011 to 15,000. Of course, in such a long time interval, the accuracy of the calculations will be limited but quite acceptable for a general understanding of the orbital parameters of Comet C/2010 X1. At aphelion the comet will be ~1030 AU from the Sun and will not return toward the Sun until the 8th century of the 14th millennium…

So hurry and see it!

June 2011
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