Monday, March 28, 2011

September Brings A Sparkling Comet

This tiny dot is Comet Elenin, on its way to earth's orbit and the sun. You may've heard that it's due to pass earth by September, making its way at supersonic speeds through space, and easy-to-spot-with binocs then later with naked eyes. It'll have an especially glowing tail - even though it's just dirty ice and gas emissions. If it sounds special, t'is. It has to do with the sun-comet-earth alignment.

It's only a blob right now, BELOW IS THE LATEST SHOT.
Click on this LINK to see Elenin in its various stages, (and other beautiful comets) just scroll down almost to the bottom of the list and look for "C2010X1 (Elenin)" Look at them full-size! Great pictures of it changing. It's still more than 300 million miles from the sun, headed inbound - early in the game - the calculated orbit is certain to change in coming months but right now it appears that its perihelion (time closest to the sun) will happen well inside earth's orbit around September 5th.

You'll see it with the naked eye as its orbit changes while in our vicinity. However the best thing about Elenin is its gases and melting speckled ice (tail) because Sol, Elenin and Earth will be in alignment. We can expect a pretty decent show. Patience .....