The long ion tail observed behind the comet Elenin

T. Lovejoy

On the picture taken by the well-known Australian astronomy amateur, Terry Lovejoy, which discovered his comet in 2007, is clearly visible long and thin ion tail stretching almost one degree! Which corresponds to the length of the tail is more than 3,000,000 km! Although this is not a record, the sodium tail of comet Hale-Bopp had a length of nearly 50 million kilometers! Comet Elenin will pass closest to the Earth on October 16 at distance about 35 million kilometers from our planet.

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The diameter of the comet Elenin’s coma confirmed by visual observations from the Earth

M. Mattiazzo

My estimate the size of the comet Elenin coma was confirmed by visual observations of an experienced Australian amateur astronomer Michael Mattiazzo. August 19, he estimated the angular size of the coma as 4 arc minutes, which equal to  213,500 km in the linear size. The image of the comet, taken by Michael, on August 19 as you can see on the left and on own author’s site.

I remind, that in the next few days,  we have chances to see the comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin) in the coronagraph COR2 field of view, which mounted on the STEREO spacecrafts.

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MPC statistic for July – August 2011

The new monthly MPC circular released – MPC 75551- 75798.

ISON-NM statistic for the previous month (July 8 – August 8):

Number of measurements: 5378

Measured objects: 1290

Discovered objects: 3

Sky coverage: 205 sq. degrees

Observing nights*: 21

* – include partial nights

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Comet Elenin and asteroid 2005 YU55

L. Elenin

I have received many questions as to whether these two objects may collide, or whether they might come so close to one another that they can change their orbits to head directly for Earth. Categorically – NO. Minimum distance between the two objects will happen September 13 (three days after the comet passes perihelion), and that distance is 0.1688 a.u., on the order of 25,252,000 km – 10 million km less than the distance of closest approach of Comet Elenin to our planet, which will take place October 16.

As you know, May 21 was the closest approach of Comet C/2010 X1 to asteroid 1999 RQ176; the objects  passed all of 225,830 km from each other, more than 100 times closer than the minimum distance between Comet Elenin and asteroid 2005 YU55! After that encounter, new position measuments of the comet and asteroid 1999 RQ176 were obtained. On such a short timescale no influence was noted, which means it is practically nil. For that reason, we can absolutely precisely say that Comet Elenin and asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass by one another and it will not even be noticeable!

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A few milestones to the perihelion

www.curtrenz.com

1.000 AU – August 3

0.900 AU – August 8

0.800 AU – August 13

0.728 AU – August 18 (aphelion of the orbit of Venus)

0.700 AU – August 19

0.600AU – August 27

0.500 AU – September 5

0.482 AU – September 10

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