On December 10 2010 using a remotely operated 18 inch telescope situated in pod 3 at New Mexico Skies observatory in Mayhill New Mexico United States, Russian astronomer Leonid Elenin discovered what is now known as comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin). Before that, it was an unknown mountain size chunk of ice and sand drifting for eons through the outer reaches of our solar system.
Firstly, congratulations to Mr. Elenin on the discovery! Only a handful of comets are discovered each year and so to have your name on a comet is a rare event worth congratulating. Leonid Elenin has a site dedicated to astronomy that also covers the science of comet Elenin. The area of his site covering comet Elenin is here. His site is written in Russian of course, but most of it is translated to English, and for those areas that are not translated you can use Google translator to get a fairly decent translation.
In the java applet below we see comet Elenin diagrammatically represented in our solar system with its position shown for today's date. Try playing with the various controls, namely, use the upper and lower scroll bars to rotate the view. Also, use the animation controls to animate the movements of the solar system bodies forward or backward in time.
Orbit Viewer applet originally written and kindly provided by Osamu Ajiki (AstroArts), and further modified by Ron Baalke (JPL).
Comet Elenin is a new comet, but also, comet Elenin is classified as what as known as a new comet. To explain the meaning of that, there are three types of comets, new comets, long period comets and periodic comets. Periodic comets orbit the sun on orbits less than 200 years such as Halley's comet, which arrives at the inner solar system every 75.32 years while long period comets orbit on orbits longer than 200 years. Whereas, comet Elenin, a new comet, is a comet that is entering the solar system for the first time. It is hypothesized that new comets come from a supposed area called the Oort cloud that resides about 50,000 times the distance from the earth to the sun. The distance from the earth to the sun is a measurement known as an astronomical unit. An astronomical unit is abbreviated AU. So the hypothetical Oort cloud is proposed to be 50,000 AU from the sun.
Being that comet Elenin is a new comet entering the inner solar system for the first time, it will be dimmer than periodic comets usually are as they head toward the sun. However, new comets will brighten up once they get very near to perihelion at about the same level of brightness of periodic comets and even brighter in most cases. The perihelion is the time when a comet is closest to the sun. There is another rare term for comets that I didn't mention and that is great comets. Most of the comets of the past that have been termed as great comets were exceptionally bright and put on an amazing show, ergo the term great comet. And most of those were new comets. New comets tend to light up brighter than periodic or long term comets because concentrated sunlight is heating them up for the very first time. Comet Elenin will brighten, but we don't actually know how bright it will get since comets of the past have done strange things when it comes to brightness. Comets in the past that we have expected to be bright enough to see with the unaided eye, like we expect comet Elenin to be, have at times became disappointingly dim, whereas comets that we thought would be nothing special have suddenly lit up beautifully.
Comet Elenin is very nearly coming in on the plane of the ecliptic. The plane of the ecliptic refers to the orbital plane of the earth.
In the above diagram, our sun would be represented by the yellow sphere in the center, the earth by the small blue sphere and the red line would represent the orbit of the earth around the sun. And so, the grid would be the plane of the ecliptic. Or, to explain it in words, think of a disc shape and imagine the earth moving around the circumference of this disc and imagine the flat surface of the disc as the plane and imagine this plane extending throughout the solar system. This plane is what's known as the plane of the ecliptic. All of the planets orbit the sun very close to this plane and therefore the entire solar system is shaped like a giant disc. Comet Elenin is coming in very close to this plane and that means that it will be moving through the asteroid belt. The asteroid belt is an area between Mars and Jupiter that is populated by hundreds of thousands of asteroids.
In the above diagram asteroids are represented as blue dots. This is a diagrammatic view representing what would be seen if you were hovering above the North Pole of the sun and looking down. As you can see, comet Elenin started to enter into the main region of the asteroid belt on March 4th.
It is possible for comet Elenin to actually run into an asteroid, however this would be a very rare event because the asteroids are spread out over a huge area. There will be gravitational protuberances of its orbit though by the various asteroids it will come close to as it travels through this region.
The size of comet Elenin has not yet been determined. For now, take a look at the list below of comets from the past that we have determined the size for. If I had to guess, being that it was first spotted at 4.3 AU from the sun and that it is a new comet, which tend to be dimmer inbound for the first time, it's most likely going to be on the large side, say, at least 15 km in diameter based on an equivalent sphere.
I'll add more to the above regarding the actual science of comet Elenin as the data comes in over the coming months. In the meanwhile, lets talk about some of the other interesting things about it. Things like cataclysm. On my iGoogle page I have a gadget that monitors twitter in real time for anything being said about comet Elenin. From watching that over the last few months, combined with another monitor I have which is a Google search monitor, I know that everyone wants to know about how comet Elenin relates to possible cataclysmic events for earth. So lets talk about that.
Can comet Elenin cause harm to earth?
Yes, it is possible, but not probable. I'll present some scenarios here where cataclysmic events could occur. In addition, I'll tell everyone about a surprise I have that relates to this comet.
The most obvious question is, can comet Elenin or any part of it hit the earth? Well, if you have played around with the orbital applet above, then you may have seen that it does come close, but the closeness that you see in the orbital diagram is in reality a distance barely imaginable. Currently, at the time of this writing, comet Elenin misses earth by 0.232 AU. That translates to 21,565,820 miles. And so, in terms of distances on earth, that would be the equivalent of taking a trip around earths equator 862 times! And another way to look at it is that it is the mean distance from the earth to the moon times 90!
So comet Elenin will miss us by quite a ways. The thing about space is, it's big. Space is so big that you can hardly even think about it. As an example, lets say you tossed a ping pong ball in the middle of the pacific ocean. What are the odds that an ocean going ship of any kind will run into that ping pong ball any time soon? Next to impossible, right? Maybe in 100 thousand years a ship might happen upon it, but not any time soon. And that is the way space is but on an even larger scale. So for anything out there to hit earth is pretty slim. We do get hit by stuff every day, but that's mostly just sand size particles out there floating around our solar system. In fact, tons of this sand or meteoroids as they're called hit the earth every day. Ever see a shooting star? Well, that's what that is, just specks of sand hitting earths upper atmosphere. These specks of sand are traveling so fast, and the earth is traveling super fast too, that when they hit us they heat up by friction to white hot and that's the flash of light that you see. Interestingly, at the time when these meteoroids are lighting up, or in other words, burning up, we change the name from meteoroid to meteor. Bigger stuff hits us too, but this is rare. If you've ever seen with your own eyes or have seen on video what is known as a fireball, then that would be an example of the bigger items that hit us ranging from the size of a fist, to say, the size of a microwave oven. These larger sized objects can sometimes make it all the way to the surface of the earth without burning up and we change the name once again from meteor to meteorites for these objects. And then there are much bigger items out there whizzing by, but they are far more rarer than fireballs. So rare that those larger items rarely ever hit us. The last time something of significant size hit us was an event known as the Tunguska event that happened in 1908.
So, aside from Jupiter and the sun
which, with their immense gravity sucking up anything that gets near
them and consequently getting hit all the time by stuff out there,
earth rarely ever gets hit by anything of significant size. Oh but
we will though! All in good time, all in good time. Hopefully, we will be able to see it coming before hand, calculate exactly where on the earth it will impact and then evacuate the area.
But not by comet Elenin. It can hit us, but the odds are astronomically against this. Things that could happen to change its orbital trajectory sending it on a collision course with earth are things like, there may be one or more undiscovered asteroids out there of sufficient size that get close enough to perturb it's trajectory by gravitational attraction. Combined with the fact that comets have jets of gas that jet out from the surface of their nucleus and these jets can sometimes alter the trajectory significantly over long distances.
Shown in the above is a two frame video showing jets of gas spewing out from the nucleus of comet Hartley 2. The white speckles are chunks of ice floating along with the nucleus. These images were just recently taken by the NASA EPOXI spacecraft.
This is nothing really, because the odds of the orbit of comet Elenin being changed significantly in the aforementioned ways is next to zero. A more likely scenario for cataclysm would be related to comet Elenin running into an uncharted asteroid of significant size. Significant size being at least 300 feet in mean diameter. Now this would definitely change the orbital trajectory quite a lot. But for that change to then cause whatever remained of the comet to hit earth is still going to be very high odds. It's the ping pong ball in the pacific ocean analogy coming into play again. Earth is just too small of a target when compared to the vastness of space. Another way to think of it is two persons in the grand canyon each with a high powered rifle and they are shooting bullets at regular intervals in random directions in the canyon. Well, what are the odds that one or the other would be able to shoot down the others bullet? Pretty slim right? And that's the way it is with space.
However, if comet Elenin ran into an asteroid at least 300 feet in average diameter this would cause a large portion of, or even the entire comet, to be obliterated and that would cause a huge debris cloud to form. We know that this would cause a huge debris cloud because we have done the experiment.
On July 4, 2005 we slammed a 820 pound, roughly 3 foot by 3 foot block, of solid copper into the nucleus of comet Tempel 1. The above image shows the nucleus of the comet 67 seconds after the impact. Scientists were surprised by the enormity of the debris cloud. They had anticipated that they would barely be able to see anything on the imaging cameras, yet the debris cloud ended up becoming around a few thousand miles wide overall. In the above image only a portion of the overall eventual debris cloud is shown. To make things clear, I should point out that this image and the above image of comet Hartley 2 are from the same spacecraft. It started out as the Deep Impact spacecraft but then its name was changed to the EPOXI spacecraft once the initial Deep Impact mission was completed. It's new mission, including taking images of comet Hartley 2, will be to do experiments regarding extrasolar planets.
And so a solid object such as an asteroid at least 300 feet in diameter would definitely create a huge debris cloud and if the impact occurred at just the right angle, earth would definitely run into that debris cloud. And any larger chunks of the comet nucleus, if numerous enough, would hit us too. This being analogous to a shotgun effect.
I think you can imagine the ramifications if this were to happen. The most amazing aspect would be the resulting meteor shower. If earth ended up going through the most dense part of the debris cloud then there would be a meteor shower like nothing ever before experienced in human history. It would start off as an ordinary meteor shower and then it would intensify to the point where the entire sky over most of the earth would light up brighter than the sun! So in other words, every part of the sky coming into contact with the debris cloud would be as though looking at an ark light! It would be so fantastically bright that you wouldn't be able to look at it and if you did look you wouldn’t be able to find the sun in day time within the blazing light because the meteor dust storm would appear much brighter than the sun itself. Meanwhile, there would be a tremendous roaring whistling hissing thundering sound heard all over the entire earth as individual meteoroids disturbed the atmosphere sonically in various ways. These events would last for several days as earth past through the debris cloud.
Also, if there were a large number of sizable chunks of the obliterated comet within the debris cloud then earth might run into one or more of these during this meteor storm. Large impacts would result in observers either being instantly vaporized if too close to the impact site to feeling a magnitude 10 or so worldwide earthquake. It would most likely strike an ocean and this would result in a worldwide downwind rainstorm of salt water combined with nitric acid. The nitric acid being formed by the intense heat of the impact reacting nitrogen with oxygen. Also too, the intense heat of each meteoroid of the meteor storm would generate nitric acid as well. This would contaminate the fresh waters and kill aquatic life and make the water in some locations undrinkable, as is the case observed with acid rain. The water would acquire a bitter sour taste like.... Guess what I'm going to say. That's right! Like wormwood! For those not in the know, wormwood is a plant that has a very bitter taste. This plant is mentioned in the bible in the book of revelations where the writer is describing cataclysmic events befalling the earth. I find this very interesting from a scientific point of view because that's exactly what would happen and the author knows about it because in the distant past of human history it did happen. Can it happen again with comet Elenin? Yes, but the odds of it happening are so remote that it would be like hitting a state lottery several times in a row. So the more appropriate answer is no. But being that it did happen once, and we have a plethora of evidence of this in the writings of ancient humans, it makes for a very interesting subject to talk about in relation to comet Elenin being that the orbital trajectory of comet Elenin is similar. Similar to what? Similar to a monster!
The monster is mentioned in various ancient writings as, Zeus in conjunction with Typhon, Quetzalcoatl the feathered serpent, Bel in conjunction with the Dragon, Marduk in conjunction with Tiamat, Vishnu in conjunction with the serpent and so on. The surprise is, I'll show that this monster was in fact a comet that was on a orbital path similar to comet Elenin and that this comet collided with an asteroid as it approached the earth. I've been working on this hypotheses off and on since 1997 and had mainly been keeping it to friends, family and myself, but with the advent of the discovery of comet Elenin and its orbital trajectory I have decided to make this web site and tell the world about it.
I'll talk more about all of this as I write it out and post it here. There is so much to talk about! I want to talk about the late Zecharia Sitchin and how Nibiru was actually an event and not a planet, Immanuel Velikovsky and how gravitational induced tides occurred WITHOUT a planet getting near to the earth, the late Tom Van Flandern and how exploding planets may actually be a possibility, Charles Hapgood and how pole shift may actually be possible as well and so much more. I am busy doing numerous other things so I'll write all this over time, check back for updates.