Comet Elenin Will Not Destroy The Earth

Comet Elenin photographed on April 2 by German astrophotographer Bernhard Häusler. Because the comet moves in relation to the stars, the stars appear trailed during the exposure. Credit: Bernhard Bernhard Häusler

I did a search for Comet Elenin the other day and was surprised at how much gloom-and-doom blather has been written about this modest comet. The misinformation covers the full range of nonsense – everything from the name ‘Elenin’ being a coded message for ‘Extinction Level Event Notable Impact Nemesis’ to the comet being a secret brown dwarf star called Nibiru (which doesn’t exist). Some are even spreading the rumor that Leonid Elenin the person doesn’t actually exist.

Come on people!

Russian amateur astronomer Leonid Elenin

Let’s shed a little light. Comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin) was discovered by Russian amateur Leonid Elenin on December 10, 2010. Although he lives in Lyubertsy, Russia, like many amateur astronomers, Elenin takes astrophotos ‘remotely’ using telescopes that can be controlled by a home computer. The night of his discovery he was taking routine photos of the sky at the independent Russian remote observatory ISON-NM (International Scientific Optical Network) near Mayhill, New Mexico.

By the way, Elenin is real guy who lives near Moscow, loves astronomy and studies asteroids and variable stars. He
a researcher at the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics and volunteers at the International Astronomical Search Collaboration. Elenin also hosts a great website, where he frequently posts updates about his comet.

Elenin’s photos showed an extremely faint, tiny, teardrop-shaped fuzzball. After additional observations, astronomers determined that the comet’s orbit would bring it near the Earth later this summer, when it might become bright enough to see with the naked eye.

An animation of Comet Elenin in March compiled from multiple still photographs. Credit: Bernhard Häusler

When I heard the news, I cheered. While naked eye comets aren’t rare, they’re not common either, with one making an appearance every couple years. Each is a joy to follow. Every comet observer hopes a bright one will show interesting activity in its nucleus and develop a pretty tail. People love a nice comet – remember Hale-Bopp back in 1997? A thing of beauty.

Further study of Comet Elenin’s orbit appeared to indicate that it was making its first-ever visit to the inner solar system. This happens routinely with comets, since, like your in-laws, so many come from great distances. Other comets, like Halley’s for instance, travel on closed oval orbits called an ellipses and revisit the Earth’s vicinity periodically. These are called the periodic comets.

Leonid Elenin has studied the orbit of his comet closely and predicts that gravitational tugs from the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn will likely reshape its orbit into a very long, cigar-shaped ellipse. The closed track would return the comet for another visit in about 10,000 years. Further observations will no doubt refine Elenin’s orbit and narrow the possibilities.

Comet Elenin orbits nearly in the same plane as the planets do. It’s currently in the constellation Leo the Lion and still very faint at 16th magnitude, well below the visual limit of most amateur telescopes. As it slowly moves closer to the sun, the comet should become visible in large scopes by early summer. Right now, it’s cruising out beyond Mars in the asteroid belt some 180 million miles from Earth and looks like a small, fuzzy spot in photographs.

On September 5, the comet will be near the orbit of Mercury and closest to the sun. Unfortunately, from our vantage point on Earth, Elenin will appear in the same direction in the sky as the sun and be lost in the solar glare. Things get better later that month, when the comet moves away from the sun’s direction and makes an appearance in the morning sky at dawn in Leo the Lion.

This simplified diagram shows Comet Elenin as it swings through the inner solar system, passing by Earth on the dates shown. The two bodies are closest on October 17. Positions shown are approximate. Illustration: Bob King

Closest approach to Earth happens on October 17 when the comet will be 21 million miles away from Earth and 2.4 million miles above our orbit. While we might appear close to each other in the diagram above, we’re still millions of miles apart. After that, we each go our separate ways as Elenin plunges back into deep space.

Here are some more facts:

* Comet Elenin doesn’t appear to be any different from numerous other comets. It’s orbiting the sun in a predictable manner.

* Much baloney has been sliced about the comet or its tail striking the Earth and wreaking havoc. The truth is Comet Elenin is so tiny, its gravitational effect on Earth is practically zero. Even at closest approach it’s still 21 million miles away. Every few years we get almost that close to Venus (23.7 million miles), a rocky planet nearly the same size as our own, and don’t suffer any ill effects. Like the comet, its pull on Earth is tiny, tiny, tiny.

What about a meteor shower from the comet’s tail? After all, most meteors we see originate from comet dust lost through their tails. Elenin appears to cross right through Earth’s orbit in the diagram above. Unfortunately my little picture doesn’t show the third dimension, but this one does.

The comet actually passes above our orbit, missing Earth in the vertical direction by some 2.4 million miles. The chance for an impact is zero. Even stray meteors are extremely unlikely. We’re close but not that close. Keep this in mind too – comet tails point away from the sun. When Elenin and Earth are closest, its tail will be directed back and away from us as depicted in the diagram above.

Even if Earth were to pass through the tail, at worst we’d see a meteor shower. That would be awesome!

I’ll settle on getting up before dawn with binoculars in hand, enjoying the subtle beauty of our fuzzy visitor while trying to comprehend the amazing fact that it arrived in Duluth’s sky after a journey of billions of miles.

541 Responses

  1. Yikes

    Im glad you cleared that up but what about this other talk about how when it aligns with the sun it causes earthquakes like in Japan this lady on youtube put a video 2 days before the earthquake in Japan saying there would be an earthquake the day it happened because of Elenin?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Yikes, all that other stuff is just talk and nothing more. The comet is so small and so far away that it can’t possibly be involved in an earthquake or another event here on Earth. Even when it’s closest in October, Elenin will have no effects like the ones talked about on youtube. I think people have a tendency to attribute bad things to celestial objects when they think there’s no other reasonable explanation. But there is a very good reason for the Japan earthquakes. The country is sits along the ‘rim of fire’ where one of the tectonic plates is plunging under another. Volcanoes and earthquakes are common along this zone. This comet’s appearance at the same time is just coincidence. Some people want to connect the two when there is no connection.

      1. Matt

        dude, it lined up the same way on February 27, 2010….there was an 8.8 in chile that day. both these earthquakes knocked earth off its axis. Theres no strait answer on how big or small it is. my guess is its pretty freakin big. so dont be spreadin this bs on how it wont do anything when it comes between earth and the sun. we’ll see who knows more about space when this thing finally comes.

        1. astrobob

          Dear Matt,
          You’re right, we’ll know soon enough when Elenin finally comes by. I’m hoping it will be bright enough to see with the naked eye. That would be very nice.
          I wanted to address a few things in your note. The Earth was not knocked off its axis by the Chilean quake. It caused a very tiny shift in the axis completely unnoticeable except through exceptionally delicate instruments. The quake happened in a known subduction zone involving the Nazca plate. Earthquakes are common there as they are around the entire “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific. Earth’s tectonic activity offers a perfectly natural explanation for the quake’s origin.
          On February 27, 2010 the comet was beyond the orbit of Jupiter. That’s incredibly far away! Elenin would have to be bigger than Jupiter,probably way bigger, to affect our planet, and I doubt it’s specific effect would be to cause an earthquake. Consider that the sun, the largest object in the solar system by far, was six times closer to Earth than Elenin at the time. Based on the comet’s current size as measured in the telescope, its brightness and the shape of its light curve, Elenin appears to be a small, probably less than 10km. It’s effect, even if it were to get right next to the Earth, would be positively miniscule.
          Also, lineups between the sun, Earth and some asteroid or comet are happening all the time simply because there are so many small objects out there. Planetary lineups, which involve bodies far, far larger than any comets, also happen with great regularity with no ill effects. The moon, which is much bigger than any comet ever seen, sits right next door at only 240,000 miles away. Every day of every month it tugs on the Earth. We do see effects – the tides are the most obvious – but nothing catastrophic.
          I understand the power of coincidence, but the facts on hand do not connect Elenin with the Chilean disaster.
          Best wishes,

          1. dan

            bob, if you think it’s a comet, please explain why we can’t see it. dying to know your expert opinion. thanks (p.s we can see Regulus.. you should know what that means)

          2. astrobob

            Dan, Comet Elenin is too faint to be seen except with a good-sized amateur telescope. The comet is magnitude 13 1/2, which requires dark skies, a detailed map and something in the neighborhood of an 8 to 16-inch telescope. I have been tracking it visually with a 15″ reflector since April. Others have as well. The comet shows up best in long time exposure photographs because of its faintness. Regulus is the brightest star in Leo the Lion and easily visible to the naked eye even from light polluted locations. Being a minor comet, Elenin will not cause earthquakes, shift the Earth’s axis or transform into a brown dwarf no matter how it lines up with us.

          3. Bob,
            What do you think about Mensur Omerbashich’s study at Cornell University that studies the alignments of the planets with earthquakes?

            Comet Elenin was included in this very scholarly research. It points to something other than gravitational forces causing these seismic events. Perhaps it has something to do with our magnetic field. Have you ever heard of James M. McCanney, M.S. Physics and his ideas of the theory of electric universe?

            This is a rational refutation of the mainstream concepts and beliefs. I sincerely hope the establishment and yourself are correct. I want this comet to be benign as much as anyone. I’m just amazed at all the speculation and debate about this little o space snowball.

          4. astrobob

            Hi Jeff, thanks for your question. Here are my honest opinions. McCanney’s website appears to be more about selling stuff than about science. It’s filled with ads for his books, radio shows and is written with a strange mix of self-congratulation and paranoia. My impression is that he’s way out on the fringe. The U.S. military manipulating storms with lasers to attack its citizens? As for Mensur – his writings are impossibly dense (unnecessarily so it seems to me) and tedious to wade through. I won’t tell you my reasons why I think his planetary lineup idea is completely wrong. Instead I’ll let Ian Musgrave explain it – his scientific background is deeper than mine and he explains why so clearly. Check out his critical review of Mensur’s alignment idea at this link:

      2. kathrine manwaring

        apparently history shows several events had occured during dinosaurs extinction,earthquakes,volcanoes and asteroids,why is it hard to believe all these occurances are possible yet again.we can tap in natural powers, resources and have effect what about on a bigger scale like planets aligning with the asteroid what kind of effect does that have…there’s no point ignoring the fact that earth has become more voilent to what it was 25 years ago

  2. Roctod Mood

    Hi AstroBob,

    The concern that I am seeing is not that the comet itself will strike the Earth, but that something will follow in it’s wake. If you look at the Stereo Behind H|1 shots, Elenin may be part of a cluster… Can you comment?

    Please see:

    March 31 StereoBehind


    April 3 StereoBehind



    1. astrobob

      Dear Roctod, I watched both videos and it’s just someone floating guesses about a feature in a photo that he’s not familiar with. By the way, the diagram he uses to show the planets’ position in relation to sun, Earth, etc. for March 31 is not accurate. And while the STEREO photo might be showing Mercury, that also could be Venus. The ‘cluster’ he speaks of looks like a bunch of background stars in the Milky Way. Nibiru doesn’t exist – it really is made up. No professional astronomer recognizes its existence. No one’s hiding information. The second video with the older man talking is pure fear mongering based on some stubborn belief that there must be a cosmic connection to all our earthquakes, etc. There are perfectly good natural explanations for these phenomena that don’t invoke invading brown dwarfs and end of the world scenarios. The earth’s going to be here a long time, even after we’re gone. It’s a wonderful planet, generally friendly to humans, but liable to do unpredictable things that make us humans wonder why. Not that science can answer everything, but it’s helped to make sense of so many things that otherwise were attributed to mysterious forces.

    1. astrobob

      Hi astroboy,
      Thanks for your question. NASA space probes like WISE have discovered comets, but most comets have been and continue to be discovered by amateur astronomers or professional astronomers at observatories doing surveys of the night sky with robotic telescopes. You can even study the latest SOHO observatory images right from your home computer and discover one. David Levy, William Bradfield and most notably Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp are just a few examples of amateurs who discovered comets in recent years using just their eyes and a telescope. Amateurs put in tons of hours to make their finds. It’s not surprising at all that Leonid Elenin found a comet, given his interest and equipment he was using, not to mention his keen eye and the ability to recognize the comet for what it was. Thankfully, NASA hasn’t cornered the ‘comet market’ yet, leaving plenty of room for others to make discoveries.

      1. Khurram Hasan

        Nasa may have the worlds best and the biggest telescopes and satellites to gather data and take pictures of planets, stars and comets. However, the telescopes DO NOT analyze the data and pictures to discover a new comet or a planet outside our solar system. If Nasa employed people to analyze all the data and pictures it gathers, it would needs thousands of people for analysis. That is where amateur astronomers come in. Nasa shares its data with other organisations and amateur astronomers who analyze it and discover new things.

        Its not about not having the ability to detect the comet….its about budget allocation by the government. It is as simple as that.

  3. astroboy

    Most interesting is why the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) a NASA infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope launched on 14 December 2009 and de-commissioned/turned off on 2-17-11.. (long after Leonid Elenin’s discovery Dec 10, 2010) did not see this comet, but a amateur astronomer did.

    1. astrobob

      The answer is because you need more than one telescope to scan every inch of sky 24/7. If WISE could see every single comet out there, it would have found many millions – that’s literally how many are there. WISE was an excellent but time-limited survey. During the time period WISE discovered its comets, amateurs and professionals continued to discover others missed by WISE from the ground. It’s also important to remember that comets were not the primary mission of WISE; its principle goal was mapping the sky in infrared. Much of that data has yet to be analyzed.

  4. Yikes

    What about these other comets Honda and Levy? Some say they are gonna cause even more problems? Why don’t nasa’s website talk about this stuff? Kinda feels like they are hiding something?

  5. HumaneNation

    What of the recent shut down of the Buzzroom @ This forum went offline after a nasa employee re-calculated the trajectory and placed the Astronomical units away from earth from .024 to .004. this would be the equivalent of approximately 37,000 miles away.

    Also with so little known about the effects of coma as in relation to the solar system i find it distressing you discount the effects such a unknown energy force would have on the planet as it approaches perihelion. The fact that the tail of the comet has been estimated at up to 900 000 km’s long mean at the very least we shall experience some upswing in meteoric activity.

    I in no way mean any disrespect but even you stated the trajectory of such bodies are heavily influenced by other forces so by stating the comet will definitely not hit the earth is in itself a bold statement. One that leads me to believe you are more prone to speculation the to fact.

    Please have a perfectly scientific answer for me, as i would love to believe you.

    1. astrobob

      I’m not aware of the Buzzroom issue, but Elenin’s orbit has been calculated, the information is available to anyone and Earth will suffer no ill effects. At closest, the comet will be 21,390,000 miles from our planet in mid-October. During the entire viewing period, Elenin’s tail points away from Earth. Again, even if it’s unusually long or exceptionally wide, there’s only a remote chance of seeing meteors. Other comets have passed much closer to Earth without incident … or meteors. Comet Lexell buzzed only 1.5 million miles from us in 1770. Nothing happened. More recently, Comet IRAS-Aracki-Alcock crossed the sky in 1983 only 3 million miles away. I got to see that one – a most impressive sight in the telescope. But there were no effects and no meteors. Those are two examples, and there are many more. According to the NASA Horizons website, which lists orbital elements and ephemerides, Elenin’s magnitude in October will be too dim to see with the naked eye. I hope it has an outburst and becomes brighter than predicted, but that’s anyone’s guess. Even if it did, the comet, its coma and tail would still not threaten Earth.

    2. Brittany

      Hi HumanNation. Just wanted to comment on your concern about how close Elenin may come and what could happen. Bob and I actually talked about this, I found that we actually had an object come within only 7,500 miles from earth at the begining of the year…. an asteroid the size of a school bus. Comets are described as basically nothing more than a dirty snowball, asteroids I have seen can be made up of different types of metals, iron, nickel and rock, much more of a massed object than a comet wouldn’t you say. I mean let me put it this way, stand in front of me and let me throw a dirty snowball at you, then let me throw a rocky, irony object at you. My point being, if a pretty good sized asteroid can come within only 7,500 miles of earth and cause no earthquake, no pole shift, no affect on us at all…. a comet coming within 100 times further than the distance of our moon would pose no problem. Plus reports are now that the comet is actually breaking up.

  6. HumaneNation

    Also the fact your site only posts under moderation is another element of your approach i dont care for.


    1. astrobob

      Comments are moderated for two reasons. One is because of spam, and WordPress blogs get lots of it. The other is because I need the ability to block vindictive comments toward others should that happen. Thankfully nearly all comments to date have been civil.

    1. Jethro

      and can’t take a picture of the luner lander on the moon. Sorry, a little off topic but couldn’t help myself. I for one simply believes for every action there is a reaction and that doesn’t stop with petting your dog or telling someone you love them. Those things definitely get a reaction. So whatever action any entity can cause within our solar system can and will cause a reaction that will effect everything around it no matter how minute. Although this has been happening a billion times a second throughout time we never know when the right combination could cause unexpected results. I’m not a scientist, not even very intelligent, just an old hillbilly that ran across this blog. I’ve been hearing doomsday talk all my life and although I have to admit the resent weather and earthquake activity seem creepy the chances are I’ll die before the earth does.

      1. astrobob

        Jethro, you’re right at least about one type of force affecting every object in the solar system. That would be gravity. No matter how far away, everything exerts a tiny (mostly immeasurable because it’s so small) effect on everything else.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Craig, of course it’s quite faint, but yes, a few very skilled amateur astronomers have seen it. More have photographed it. With a time exposure and a good telescope, you can take pictures of very remote comets and asteroids.

  7. Yikes

    Hey Astro Bob you never answered my question about comets Honda and Levy and thank you for answering my first question

  8. astroboy

    In addition to the above mentioned comets is…”Near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass within 0.85 lunar distances from the Earth on November 8, 2011.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Todd – there’s nothing for it to drag against in the near vacuum of space, so no, that wouldn’t happen. A comet’s orbit can change over time due to the jetting effect of material vaporizing off its nucleus. Larger orbital changes can happen when comets happen to pass near the largest planet Jupiter. Jupiter’s gravity can rework the orbit, changing its shape. That won’t be happening anytime soon with Elenin. Comet Elenin is one many comets that swing through inner system every year. At least for now, there’s nothing particularly unusual about it.

  9. don gillson

    Hello Bob.

    I am in the Twin Cities..I would love to have a open debate with you on this matter. My calculations of the size, velocity, and also the possibility of the other two comets (which you convently do not mention) causing major havok on the earth. Also, I would like to point out that the tail of this comet is over 900 000 km in size; along with, Levy and Honda appraoching from the south at a distance of .243 AU on Sept 11th 2011..I would love to challenge you to a scientific debate on this..

    Don Gillson

    1. astrobob

      Hi Don, you’re welcome to leave your comment. Even if Comet Elenin’s tail is 560,000 miles long (assuming that’s accurate. Where is your figure from?), when Earth, comet and sun line up briefly in late September, our planet is still millions of miles from the tail in horizontal distance. Not to mention the comet will be something like a million miles above our orbit in vertical distance. I fail to see how our planet is threatened. Unless a comet actually collides with Earth – which will not occur with Elenin, Honda or Levy or any other comet anytime soon – a close passage by a body 10, 20 or 30 miles across is not a threat. And 21 million miles, which is Elenin’s distance at closest, is not particularly close. Other comets have passed within several million miles with no consequence.

  10. Hello Bob,

    Thank you for your is one of my sources..

    “April 8th at our observatory we carried out planned observations of Comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin). An analysis of the results of the observations shows a rapid growth of the coma. Besides the internal compact gas envelope, the forming rarified external coma is also visible in the image. It’s diameter exceeds 1 minute of arc, or 80,000 km! It is possible that such a rapid growth of the coma is associated with the apparent superposition over it of the comet’s dust tail, which after opposition, still remains invisible to the Earthly observer.

    The brightness of the comet also has crossed the 16m boundary, and according to the calculations of Artem Novichonok, has reached 15.4m. Such an estimate is supported by the first visual observations of the comet by Jakub Koukal and Juan Jose Gonzalez on the 4th and 5th of April respectively. It is worth noting that another well-known visual comet observer, Alan Hale, 1995 co-discoverer of comet Hale-Bopp, was not able to find Comet Elenin on April 5th with his 41-cm reflector…

    In the image at left still another event is captured – the close approach of Comet Elenin to asteroid 4336 Jasniewicz. Here the closeness of the objects, which are only 11 arc minutes apart, is not an optical illusion but a real physical closeness of two celestial bodies. At the time the image was obtained, the distance between the comet and the 6-km asteroid was just 1,495,000 km (0.01 AU), which is only 3.9 times the average distance between the Earth and Moon (LD). Closest approach of the two objects was several hours earlier; they were only 1,120,000 km apart (0.008 AU).”

    Also, I would like to speak about the SIZE of ELENIN and also have you seen my video on youtube about this?

    I have several and would welcome your comments on this..\


    Tail length of comet Elenin exceeds 900 000 km
    March 12th, 2011 | Author: Leonid Elenin

    Gustavo Muler
    Many of the readers of this blog have already seen the latest images of comet C/2010 X1. On them, the tail of the comet extends all of 1 minute of arc. Is the comet’s tail actually small or is it simply an optical illusion? For my calculations I used Gustavo Muler’s picture which he obtained March 7. Unfortunately before opposition of the comet, we were not able to get an image with any large telescopes – the camera on the two-meter Faulkes Telescope North (FTN), went off-line.

    As such, we’ll return to the image we have. On approach to opposition, when the comet, Earth, and Sun are lined up (that is, the C-S-E angle is close to 180°), the comet’s tail is practically hidden from view for the Earthly observer, as the tails of the comet are pointed away from the Sun. At the time the image was taken, we saw the tail at an angle of 2.75°! Taking the length of the projection of the tail as one minute of arc, and solving the triangle, we see the actual length of the tail has already exceeded 900,000 km! Although, in fact, the tail has to be still bigger, as Gustavo used a 30-cm telescope, knowing that if he had photographed the comet with a two-meter telescope, we would have seen fainter fragments of the comet’s tail.

    If, on March 7, we had been able to see the comet’s tail in profile, its length on the image would have been in excess of 10 arc minutes. Right now, the comet is approaching opposition, and we have a good chance of getting images of the comet’s coma. Maybe we can also do that on large telescopes.

    1. astrobob

      Thanks Don. Your sources are nearly the same as mine. Again, a half-million-long tail is not unusual. As I’ve said, the key things to remember are that Elenin will not hit Earth, its tail will be far from us, and it’s too small to have any significant gravitational effects on our planet. The moon’s gravitational effect is far, far larger and we ‘play nice’ with it every month of every year.

  11. astroboy

    I heard that comet Elenin’s distance from earth has been recalculated and that it will be much closer than previous calculations. Also if this comet is a big as some say it will not have to impact earth to cause problems. It is my opinion that this comet and whatever it is dragging behind it will have adverse effects on the solar system and earth…only time will tell.

    1. astrobob

      Don, while we may share some of the same sources, no credible source I’m aware of has said that the comet itself – not the tail – is unusually large. It might be, but I’ve not seen reports to indicate this. Actually, I’ve heard the opposite, that the comet is likely on the small side. The fact that it’s still so faint makes me think it might be smaller than some.

  12. don gillson

    astro bob,

    I appreciate your thoughts on that; however, as I have been investigating and looking at different images. I have come to my own conclusions that this comet is larger than we think. The reason why I say this is because there seems to be nine micro comets making up its entire structure. I guess more research is needed and I am working on that evidence right now. I will share as soon as I have made conclusive evidence…

  13. marsh

    What about the known asteroids
    2009 TM8 .0040 AU (371,823 mi)
    2009 UC .0554 AU (5,149,751 mi)
    2010 GM65 .0699 AU (6,497,610 mi)
    1990 UA .0846 AU (7,864,061 mi)
    1998 SD9 .0899 AU (8,356,727 mi)
    2009 DO111 .0982 (8,663,481 mi)
    2010 VU98 .1 AU (9,295,581 mi)
    2005 CJ .103 AU (9,574,448 mi)
    2003 FH .112 AU (10,411,050 mi)
    2005 TQ45 .119 AU (11,061,741 mi)
    1993 VD .146 AU (13,571,548 mi)
    2009 HV2 .161 AU (14,965,884 mi)
    2005 YU55 .191 AU (17,754,559 mi)
    comet Elenin .232 AU (21,565,747 mi)
    2010 SO16 .338 AU (31,419,090 mi)
    comet LEVY .58 AU (53,914,368 mi)
    and the meteor belts:
    Orionids Oct 02 – Nov 11
    Leo Minorids Oct 19 – Oct 27
    Southern Taurids Sep 25 – Nov 27
    Northern Taurids Sep 25 – Nov 27
    that will all be in the vacinity of earth and Elenin around October 17. Could that have an effect on the magnetosphere, electrical grid, weather and solar activity during that time?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Marsh – Sounds like the end of the world, eh? I think we’ll be alright. We pass through those meteor streams you mentioned every year with no ill effects. It’s also not unusual to have a variety of small asteroids in the neighborhood. The solar system’s a busy place! There are currently at least five asteroids that will approach within 9 lunar distances (0.02 A.U.) of Earth from now till the beginning of May. More after that. It never ends. Again, the key thing to remember is that other than a few dust to sand-size particles from the meteor showers, nothing significant is forecast to collide with our planet in the foreseeable future. Of course that may change, but I’m talking about the information we have at hand right now.
      To answer your question then – there will no affect on solar activity, the power grid and the weather. Meteors may affect the magnetosphere in some obscure way with which I’m not familiar, but meteors and meteor showers happen all the time without significant effects on the overall magnetosphere. The ionization trails (streaks) meteors produce do make excellent reflectors of certain frequencies of radio waves. Ham operators can use them to bounce their signals long distances.

  14. Todd

    How do you know how fast it will swing around the sun if you don’t know how big it is,also with the out gasing the same question?

    1. astrobob

      Great questions, Todd. I don’t think you need to know how exactly how big something to calculate an orbit based upon its motion. Orbits for comets and asteroids are frequently determined long before their masses are known. The ancients had no clue how big Jupiter or Venus were despite being able to predict their motions rather nicely. Outgassing produces easily measurable but minor effects relative to a comet’s overall orbit and would not send it crashing into Earth. The effects over a great many orbits could eventually add up to considerable changes in a comet’s path.

  15. Ken

    I have heard that at it’s closest point to the earth it will appear in the sky as large as the full moon. Is this correct? If not how large will the comet appear to the naked eye?
    I am also curious if NASA has adjusted the orbit which now makes it passing even closer to earth. Thanks!

    1. astrobob

      Hi Ken, I haven’t heard how large it might get, but full moon size or 30 arc minutes for a coma diameter might be possible. That wouldn’t be unusual for a naked-eye-visibility comet. All depends how big and active Elenin will be. You can be almost certain that the tail will be at least that long. I haven’t heard about orbit changes, but wouldn’t be surprised — orbits typically get refined on newly discovered comets as more observations come in.

  16. Meso

    Great discussion board! My recent grad studies have led me to believe that determining the particular day (and time, if possible) the Earth is likely to enter the debris of this comet should be of utmost concern and not something to be taken lightly–this includes the Fall date as well as next year’s crossing on the opposite side of the sun. I wonder if Comet Lexell (1770), cited for its lack of effect, had a similar “flat” orbit with respect to the ecliptic? I trust ancient Mesoamerican sources which point to multiple era-changing events over the past 5,000+ years far more than infantile Western knowledge which has seemingly lost touch with the danger posed by comets and their tails.

    1. astrobob

      Hi James, thanks for writing. Those are claims and that’s all. There’s nothing factual to back up the claim that the comet is a star. There are no spectra indicating this is other than a cometary body. And though brown dwarfs are faint, they’re not that faint. A brown dwarf – if it existed – just beyond the orbit of Mars would make headlines worldwide. Scientists everywhere would train every telescope and spectrograph on Earth its way if that were true.

      1. astrobob

        Good point Tony. It would appear clearer in the Hubble, but not incredibly so. It’s a very small object still at a healthy distance. I’m not privy to the Hubble user schedule, but telescope time on the instrument is precious and allotted far in advance. It’s likely that the people using it right now are working on lots of other unrelated projects. Since Elenin appears to be an ordinary comet, I doubt the professional astronomers using Hubble would bother, but you never know. Maybe we’ll see some pictures when it gets closer and more interesting.

    1. MetalTeK

      Wow……how did you surmise a definitive conclusion based on this debate? I am a casual stargazer and while I respect Mr. King’s and other posters knowledge, the fact is they could all be wrong. Everything on this board is speculation and educated guess. No one knows with 100% certainty what will happen at this point in the game. So I think boasting a conclusion at this point, while the jury is still “out to lunch” is unscientific and a bit pretentious.

      1. astrobob

        Hi MetalTek – It’s true, no one can be 100% certain especially since we’re dealing with comets, which are changeable objects, but there are ranges of possibility that are realistic and rooted in accumulated science versus those based on guesswork, surmise and rumor. Based on Elenin’s size, brightness evolution, its regular orbit and predictions made by scientists like NASA’s Don Yeomans who are well-versed in cometary science, it doesn’t appear to an intrinsically extraordinary comet. What makes it stand out from the run-of-the-mill comets is that it will pass closer to Earth than many (though not exceptionally so) and could become bright enough to see in binoculars or, if we’re lucky, the naked eye. It could also break apart, become much brighter or much fainter or have it orbit altered in the coming months. What it won’t do is wreak havoc on Earth. It’s far too small and too far away even when closest to Earth (21 million miles) for that to occur. If it turns out I’m wrong, I’ll happily admit it, but my hunch is, it will pass by and quickly fade from memory and the news like so many other planetary alignments and falsely feared comets of the past.

  17. Richard Wade

    Hi Astro Bob, I have a question how is it this comet is traveling at planetory speed when all others in history have been moving much faster? Also have you seen the closeup photo of Elenin and the unusual arrangement of the points of light around this thing please explain?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Richard,
      Thanks for writing. A comet’s speed is determined by its distance from the sun. The closer it is, the faster it moves. This is similar to the planets – for instance, Jupiter, which is much farther from the sun than Mercury, moves at 29,000 mph versus 106,000 for Mercury. Though I don’t know its speed, Elenin would be traveling at a speed fitting its distance. It speeds up as it moves closer to the sun and then will slow down when it departs. The other feature you describe I’ve not seen though I’ve looked at a bunch of photos of the comet. It looks typically cometary – fuzzy with a short tail.

  18. Malcolm

    Hi Bob

    Thanks for all of the great info…My concern lies with Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková which I believe will pass far closer than Elenin in August. How certain can we be that the course of Honda hasnt changed? The trajectory on the JPL website makes it appear as though calculations need to be exact. There is much talk about Elenin but very little information available in regards to Honda which could potentially be a far more dangerous comet. Any info is much appreciated to put my tiny mind at ease!! Malc.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Malcolm, you’re right. 45P will pass 5.6 million miles from Earth in August this year, closer than Elenin’s 22 million. That’s close, but the moon, which is much larger and gravitationally much more significant is 23 times closer. Bottom line: not to worry. 45P is a typical small comet and its gravitational pull on Earth is insignificant. Lexell’s Comet passed even closer in 1770 at a distance of 1.4 million miles with no effect. Comet IRAS-Araki-Alcock passed 3 million miles from us in 1983, also with no effects.

  19. Malcolm

    Thanks for your quick reply Bob! And thank you for explaining it so clearly. It sounds as though it’ll be quite the year for telescopes.

    1. astrobob

      You’re welcome! I look forward to seeing both comets. 45P should be relatively bright, largish but diffuse while I’m crossing my fingers Elenin will show a nice tail. Time will tell.

  20. Renee

    woah I wish everyone would read this and not the fear mongoring type articles…BTW have they calculated the size of the comet yet

  21. Aditya

    What are you’re thoughts on this??!! and check dis out (click infrared mode)

    and see this “blackened outs object’s” position as compared to saturn (both lie in virgo)
    now see elenins position as compared to saturn;orb=1;cov=0;log=0;cad=0#orb

    IS THAT BLACKENED OUT OBJECT REALLY ELENIN!!?? if it is then elenin is not a comet, but something bigger, brown dwarfs are failed stars and can only be seen under infrared and that “blackened out ” object can only be seen under infrared…..What do you feel? is this elenin? or a brown dwarf?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Aditya, the occasional ‘black outs’ in the infrared sky are missing data areas rather than a brown dwarf, which in infrared, would be glowing brightly. Also if a brown dwarf were headed toward Earth, it would be impossible to keep it a secret. There are so many people – both amateur and professional astronomers – watching and surveying the sky in various wavelengths of light, that would be huge news. There is no scientific evidence at all for a brown dwarf headed for Earth, but there is considerable misinformation on various websites based on prophecy, speculation, misunderstanding and misinterpretation of data. Comet Elenin is still out beyond Mars’ orbit and in the constellation Leo not far from Regulus. When moonless skies return later this week, I hope to see it again through my scope and can’t wait until it’s bright enough for everyone with a pair of binoculars to see, too.

  22. Susan

    Hi Astrobob. Did you know that 189 days passed between the quakes on 2/27/10 and 9/4/10 and 3/11/11? Is that just an odd coincidence?
    Also, I am very interested in Elenin and its potential effects on earth but I wonder why people keep saying it was aligned with earth in some way on each of the above dates that caused the earthquakes listed above. If you look at the NASA trajectory it was close to earth on 3/11/11 but on the other two dates it was far out and not in any particular alignment.
    Thanks for your time.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Susan, I didn’t know that about the numbers but it’s a coincidence. The important thing to remember about Comet Elenin is that no matter how many lineups it has with Earth, in all of them it is many millions of miles from us. To the best of scientific knowledge, the comet is a small object like many comets that routinely pass through the inner solar system. Its gravitational effect on Earth is exceedingly small and not related to any earthquakes, which have well-known causes much closer to home — the movement of Earth’s crustal plates. The one thing that makes Elenin different from some comets is that it will pass relatively near the Earth this fall – some 22 million miles – and might become bright enough to see with the naked eye. I will update the blog with new observations, finder charts and photos as the comet gets closer. Let’s hope for a nice view!

  23. Aaron V

    Excellent write up AstroBob! Its about time I read an article that makes sense about this upcoming comet Elenin. So far I only heard of this comet for about a week and all the information iv heard is only negative doomsday “end of the world” catastrophic bad news. People are claiming this thing is the new Nibiru or planet-X….come on people it’s not even remotely in the same category as a huge planet or brown dwarf. Just cause it cross’s close to the earth just like any other comet, its all of a sudden a huge threat to earth. I can’t believe how people just make up stories about something cause they got nothing better to do. And where is this size of 2.5 Jupiter’s mass come from?? According to NASA, its just a wimpy comet that won’t even be visible to the naked eye. All in all I do believe something will happen by the near end of this year but it wont be nothing from this comet. Other then that Bob you explained it well in your previous posts and I agree with everything you said. I can’t wait to tell the people that believe in this when the day comes and nothing happens is “I told you so”.

  24. Devin

    If this comet is too small to have any effect on Earth and it is just coincidence that the dates it aligns with the earth and sun happen to have earthquakes, then what caused those massively unusual earthquakes that are normally caused by Earth-Sun-Jupiter alignments? The hype is that nothing else could have except this comet. Therefore, it must not be a comet, but due to its distance its mass must be great and in order to remain hidden it would have to be a brown dwarf star. If someone could explain the coincidence dates of alignment, nobody would believe in the theories around Elenin being anything other than a comet, until then or September 27th, people will doubt everything.

    1. astrobob

      Devin, there are no known earthquakes caused by Earth-Jupiter-sun alignments. Not one documented, scientifically-proven instance. Every year this alignment occurs with no effects. The next happens on Oct. 29 at opposition. We also line up with Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune at least once a year (Mars about every 2 years), again with no measurable effects on Earth. There are well known and understood reasons why we have earthquakes both big and small that have to do with plate tectonics happening right here on Earth. There is no need to look to the planets and especially to a small object like Comet Elenin to find cause for earthquakes.

      1. Devin

        . I do not think a pole shift could occure from an object that is +6AU away, but if it is a dwarf star, then at .3AU we would have major effects from Gravity and other forces. I would love to believe it is only a comet, but it is odd to me these few things. I also do not under stand the arguement that since (bworn draef star) it is 40 degrees above absolute 0 that it absorbes light energy and doesnt emit anything but a few protons. An object the size of Jupiter should be visible with the naked eye at this point. So, if it was a brown dwarf, would it really be hidden?

        1. astrobob

          Hi Devin, I looked at the video and it’s coincidence – not science – behind the “connection” between Jupiter and earthquakes. Consider that every year there are many earthquakes, one of which is likely to happen within the several week/month time frame of Jupiter’s opposition. If his argument were scientific or fact-based, he would have real evidence that Jupiter was involved and not plate tectonics, the actual cause of earthquakes. Just as an example – and this only took a minute to find – there were major 8.0 quakes on Aug. 15 in Peru and April 2 in the Solomon Islands in 2007. Jupiter was lined up on the other side of the sun (as shown in his diagrams) on Nov. 21, 2006 and again on Dec. 22, 2007. Huge quakes, no Jupiter. Despite its enormous size, Jupiter is so far away its gravitational influence on Earth is extremely small. The sun is far more massive and much closer yet we never hear it blamed for earthquakes. Jupiter can alter comet and asteroid orbits but it does not cause ruptures in Earth’s crust. One last thing – the image shown in the video is not Comet Elenin but is instead 81P/Wild. That fact alone right away tells me the individual is not checking his facts and sources.

  25. Raj

    Agreed that elenin is too far away from earth and it’s entry in to our solar system will not have any affect on us. But what about sun and its CME’s. Can you forsee any link between elenin and sun. Is sun likely to go voilent due to elenin’s entry in to our solar system?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Raj, thanks for writing. Elenin will be much too far from the sun even when closest on September 10-11 (distance of about 43 million miles) to potentially have any effects on CME’s.

  26. Pat Perry

    Bob, Wouldn’t there be noticable gravitational effects (more than just triggering earthquakes) if we really had a brown dwarf star in the solar system between Mars and Jupiter? Wouldn’t something that massive effect planetary and asteroid orbits?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Pat, I’m sure there would be gravitational effects if a brown dwarf star were between Mars and Jupiter. It would certainly stir up the asteroid belt, flinging some completely out of the solar system and sending others into the inner solar system. Depending on its orbit and how close it came to a planet, it could effect the planet’s orbit, too. A brown dwarf that close would also be easily detected in the infrared and visible spectrum by professional ground-based observatories and orbiting telescopes. And I’m almost certain you’d see it in regular scopes and maybe even the naked eye. Here’s why. While brown dwarfs don’t emit much visible light, they’re about as big in diameter as Jupiter (considerably more massive however) and would reflect sunlight from their exteriors just like a planet. Many main-belt asteroids, which are much, much smaller, are dark as coal and visible telescopically and sometimes even in binoculars – 10 Hygeia’s a good example. So what does it all mean? Some websites claim Comet Elenin is a brown dwarf, but the comet shows none of the characteristics of one. If it were, astronomers – professionals and amateurs alike – would be falling over each studying and photographing such a rare bird. It would also be all over the media and one of the most monumental astronomical events of all time. But it isn’t. Elenin is currently a faint, diffuse, small comet that no one outside a few crazy amateur astronomers are watching — at least for the moment. What makes it more special than some is that it will be somewhat near Earth in the fall and could brighten to naked eye visibility. I just saw it again last night in its predicted spot based on an orbit calculated months ago. Elenin is currently fainter than expected. Let’s hope it brightens up for a good show!

  27. MaaryQuiteContrary

    My father is convinced that the end of the world as we know it is going to happen as Elenin approaches Earth. He has been following a man posting youtube videos who goes by the name Terral03. I have no idea what his credentials are or his exact resourses for information but he is posting doomsday messages and warnings to the public. They have a survivor group who plan to go underground somewhere in Arkansas with all of their food, supplies and prized possessions and my father is going. I worry this might be a way to rob naive people of their belongings. I have tried to tell him that Im sure this is nonsense but he claims NASA and the media is covering it all up to prevent mass panic until the last few days before everyone dies, and the madrid fault splits America in two parts, extending from The Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. He is honestly convinced the media and government knows we are facing world wide destruction but they are keeping it quiet. Also the crazy people keep posting that Elenin is a brown dwarf and Russia has proof and they have told all of their people to stock pile food supplies and water to last 8 months. I’m frustrated. Everything I have found from the scientific community says Elenin is a simple comet, nothing to fear. The problem is that if you google Elenin the top sites which appear are all gloom and doomsday sites. Do you have links that you could post from reliable sources that theres nothing to fear? I doubt he would listen to me but when I speak to him I have to present my facts and my arguments. HELP!

    1. astrobob

      Hi Maary, I’m sorry to hear this. This end-of-the-world business is so sad. It’s shameful to see a small group of individuals prey upon people’s fears. I’ve written several updates on the comet and have commented with additional information on the topic in the Comments section over the past month or two. Just today, I offered a perspective on the ‘brown dwarf’ angle in response to a reader’s question. Your father’s welcome to ask a question as well. Try this site for more information:

  28. Brooke

    Hi, AstroBob, I feel so much better after reading your blogs here I really needed it I am a mother of three wonderful children and when I read these horrible predictions and then look at my children I get butterflies in my stomach and wonder how I would protect them through that doomsday prediction stuff. Reading what you have to say will make it much easier to look st them with confidence that they will grow up at least by this anyway they most likely will see another birthday they are young so I worry. Thanks so much you are my hero and I will keep watching your post. Just please promise if you see anything strange and bad you will post it as I also would like to finish my forensic anthropology degree

    1. astrobob

      Hi Brooke, not to worry. Elenin is a typical comet like the thousands already known. And there are no brown dwarfs heading our way either. Enjoy your family and your studies.

    2. Momsher3

      Hi Brooke, When I read your post, I was amazed. It could have been mine. I so appreciate Astrobob and his scientific, both feet on the ground, approach to this. I have lots of friends who are convinced this is the rapture and me hearing this stuff, with my very visual imagination, my stomach felt more like boulders and not butterflies. Astobob’s site is just wonderful and I will be sharing it on Facebook in a few minutes, which I’m sure will create it’s own firestorm with those who are ready to raptured up. Thanks so much Astrobob!

  29. kos

    check the dates
    2011 03 11 => last perfect alignment Elenin – Earth – sun
    2010 02 27 => just the previous perfect alignment Elenin – Earth – sun
    in check the dates
    2011 03 11 => Japan 9.0 earthquake (biggest in 2011)
    2010 02 27 => Chile 8.8 earthquake (biggest in 2010)

    Next perfect alignment Elenin – Earth – sun => Dec 2012 !!!

    Please comment !

    1. astrobob

      Kos, I’ve already addressed the earthquake-comet non-connection in an earlier comment to a reader a couple days ago and have repeatedly pointed out that Elenin is too small and too far away to affect Earth. Please scroll back for a look.

  30. Firekube

    ok astrobob, I’m having some issues with you answering the viewing public. I’ve noticed in several reply’s when an individual is asking for direct scientific evidence of what you say, and you forward them to a “debunking” website that we’ve all come across prior while doing research on this comet. You don’t know the diameter of this object and nor does NASA. and you don’t provide conclusive information with the websites you post. Most of the sites being advertised all say “where the proof, where’s the science”? But the thing is, where ARE the sites that debunk the information, but use obfuscated information like JPL’s database – which does NOT list a diameter of this object like I’ve already stated above. coincidences maybe, but its hard to say the such when you have NASA saying its all a big hoax and such, when the hoax has been known about since 2008- yet EVEN with NASA knowing of the hoax(as stated in a letter that they address on their website), and the such of ‘missing data’ on their space imagery, why the heck wouldn’t they just… go ahead and fix the missing data or correct the issues, so this hoax will stop? that would make alot more since to me! its frustrating that SETI was shutdown rescently, this very knowledgeable guy has conclusive but yet (coincidental) information regarding the alignments ALL while we have you and NASA asking “wheres the poof, where’s the science”?? <– does that make since?

    It would be of course a complete waste of time for our media to come out and say "hey, in october, shlt's gunna hit the fan" for the same warmongering/fear mongering that WOULD occur, cause as it stands civilization as a 'whole collective' are stupid and panicky and very irrational. So when I ask you sir, for conclusive evidence to back your claims, I want to information that is too real to dismiss, like try combining NASA sources and other astrological sites to provide me with a better picture than I already have in my head. On a further note, don't you sir, find it strange that NASA doesn't confirm the diameter of this object, yet several weeks later the individual that 'Found' the comet, CAN determine the diameter of this object? how does NASA NOT know but the amateur renting time on a new mexico telescope CAN?? I'm sorry sir, due to the EXTREMELY low lack of media attention this is getting compared to say Hale-Bopp, which was ALL OVER the media world wide? now what is the difference between a single comet coming around, verses the 3 (which hasn't happened in history recording) appearing all at once in our night sky? Hmm What about Greenland having sunrise 2 days early for the first time in recorded history? Or the amount of weather systems being graded on scales that's NEVER happened/recorded this high in the past? the recent volcanic activity/seismic activity increasing in a fold yet solved? now I know you are just an astronomer, but when evidence that isn't ALL being dismissed by a simple website containing mainly PAST hoaxes such as <– c'mon now… if I show you one single forum regarding aliens and UFO's in conjunction with ancient civilizations, what are you gunna think?

    Please don't beat around the bush, especially when you've read the severity in these posters comments. If you are going to provide resources to other sites, please post material that isn't purely debunking data. If I wanted to read debunking material I'll look up the NASA moon landing… or JFK's assassination, or possible Water gate, since we all know if the man never got caught, it would STILL BE A CONSPIRACY. I look forward to your reply.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Firekube, you’re right, I don’t know the diameter but I don’t think anyone knows it exactly yet. For a ballpark figure I depend on estimates either from NASA cometary scientists or educated guesses from a well-versed group of comet observers and astrophotographers with whom I’m in regular contact. I also observe these comets for myself with my own eyes through my telescope. I can only guess NASA isn’t bothering with Elenin because there’s nothing extraordinary about it. A couple dozen comets are visible every year and most are faint and only followed by amateurs. Unless a comet’s behaving very oddly or scientists are planning a space mission to it, I don’t see how something as minor and faint as Elenin would draw the attention of professionals. They have bigger fish to pursue – at least that’s been my experience over the years. Elenin would go nearly unnoticed if not for one thing – because of its relative closeness to Earth in fall, it might, just might get bright enough to become visible with the naked eye. In that case, perhaps professionals will train their telescopes on it for photos and compositional measurements. I just saw Comet Elenin last night and this much I can say — it’s exactly on the orbital track predicted for it months ago. If it was straying or behaving badly, I wouldn’t have been able to find it. In appearance it’s faint and diffuse like many of the 250+ comets I’ve had the pleasure to have known over the years. All I can say is to not make so much of coincidence and beware of conspiracy theories, pseudo-science and guesswork. Thanks to the Internet, there’s a lot of that going around.

  31. Louis

    Hi Bob- I have really enjoyed looking at your webpage and thank you for its interesting and educated content. My question has to do with the brown dwarf theory. When I see pictures of Elenin it looks like a comet would look- at least to my laymans eye. Suppose for the sake of argument Elenin was in fact a brown dwarf what would we expect to see of its physical characteristics on film? Would a brown dwarf look like a comet- tail and all?

  32. astrobob

    Thanks for writing Chris. Elenin does indeed look like a typical small comet with a faint tail. What would a brown dwarf look like? Great question. There is not a single one bright enough to be seen in a telescope – photographed yes, but not visible visually. Assuming we could bring one into the solar system for a close look, it would be approximately the size of Jupiter and might appear very dark red. If it were at say, Jupiter’s distance, it’s outer surface/atmosphere should reflect sunlight similar to a how planets do in addition to emitting its own light. As to what color this mix of emitted and reflected light would be, your guess is as good as mine.

  33. Louis

    Thank you for answering my last question so promptly- I appreciate it. One more quick question. When will Elenin come to perihelion U.S eastern time.

    Thank you for youe time.

    1. astrobob

      You’re welcome Louis. According to current orbital elements, Comet Elenin will reach perihelion on September 10.75047 UT which translates to 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight time on September 10.

  34. Dan

    I do have to say that I camp under the “conspiracy tent” when it comes to ELEnin. I have studied prophecy most of my life, including the Bible (of course), Mother Shipton, Hopi Indians, Lakota Indians, Summerians, Mayans, Edgar Cayce, Nostrodamous, the Kolbrin bible and even new age sources. Never in my life have I seen them ALL come together as perfectly as they do for this summer – starting with comet Honda and finishing with ELEnin.

    Everything is there, from Honda being the harbringer of doom (Hopi & Mother Shipton prophecies which fortells of destruction to follow soon) to passing through ELEnin’s tail of debris (which fulfills Revelation, Mother Shipton, the Kolbrin, and many more). ELEnin alignments have been linked to earthquakes which will be more frequent and increase in intensity (Christ’s predictions of the end days) and if it is a brown dwarf star (as the Summerians say it is), this would lead to the Earth-changing cataclysm Edgar Cayce detailed.

    Now, if you spent anytime at all following other “crazy conspiracies” you’ll also note that the government has been building FEMA camps (yes they exist! Post-ELEnin refugee problem?), underground bunkers (to hide in as predicted by the Bible), stockpiling freeze-dried food by the millions, and has disposable caskets stockpiled throughout the USA by the millions (google FEMA Coffins). In addition, the US government has been digging an enormous amount of graves at national cemetaries and recovering them for later use. And of course there’s the Svalbard Seed Bank

    Now for a coincidence that is somewhat funny– In the movie Deep Impact, there was a similiar scenario with a comet “ELE”. Additionally, the president in the movie (Morgan Freeman) was black. An untraditional casting roll considering at that time, all presidents were white.

    Call me paranoid. Call me a loon. But you cannot call me unprepared. The Mayan calendar ends October 28. 2011 not December 21, 2012. If I am correct and this is a brown dwarf, the majority of the population will be caught with their pants down when they see this thing in the sky. People will riot and prices will skyrocket. If I am wrong, everything I bought in preparation can be used by my family in the future – nothing is wasted.

    Better to be safe than sorry.

    1. astrobob

      Dan, thank you for your considered note. My question is: what will you do when the comet comes by and nothing happens? We all heard the news of the “rapture” a couple weeks ago, when so many people were absolutely certain the world would end. Of course it didn’t. The hubbub over Elenin has many parallels with this and hundreds of similar end-of-the-world scenarios that never materialized. Why not learn as much as you can about comets from people who specialize in them and write great books about them? The more you understand the physical nature of comets, the less there is to fear. (check out David Levy’s “Guide to Observing and Discovering Comets). With knowledge in hand, you can anticipate and enjoy the sight of Elenin all the more once it’s bright enough – we hope – to see in the fall.

      1. Dan

        My answer is — nothing. If it came by and nothing happened, I would breathe a sigh of relief and move on.

        I do not pretend to be an expert on comets and I’m not saying ELEnin is anything special, just that the coincidences are most interesting. Couple the prophetic coincidences with the governments actions and top it off with a comet named “Leonid” (which means meteor storm) “ELEnin” (Extintion Level Event) and I get a bit concerned.

        What really caught my eye was a video on YouTube where a lady predicted the March 11th earthquake (6 weeks in advance) based on ELEnin’s alignment with Earth and the sun that day. That got me into looking more closely at ELEnin and then comet Honda. And the more I looked into this, the more coincidences I have found relating back to ancient writings warning of a catastrophe from a “destroyer” star or planet.

        I just wish someone would take a nice clear picture of this thing so I could finally be convinced it’s not a brown dwarf star. Because the thought of something that massive coming through our system scares the heck outta me.

        1. astrobob

          Coincidental alignments between comets and other bodies like planets happen all the time. And every year most of the outer planets and both inner planets, including massive Jupiter, line up with the Earth and sun. Planets are far more massive, consequential bodies and nothing untoward has happened when a lineup occurs. Comets are much, much smaller and even more inconsequential. You’ve got to look at the physical principles involved (mass, gravity, etc.) and I think you’ll find nothing to fear. As for clear images of Elenin, there have been many taken – and I’ve run a few in my blog. They all show an ordinary fuzzy object with a brighter center and short tail. If Elenin truly was huge, we would have a picture showing more detail. It’s this very lack of detail that is yet another proof of how small it is. The pictures will improve as it gets closer, but the best images come from spacecraft missions, and there are none planned for Elenin.

          1. Dan

            Well thank you for the friendly exchange. I did spend some time browsing your site (which is really interesting) and I do have to say that you are most cordial and thoughtful in your posts. Some would brush off comments that go against what they perceive as the truth, but you listen and give a response that is unquestionably honest. Thank you for your knowledge and most of all, allowing people to post their concerns and findings – even if you do not agree with them. I wish you much success!

            PS – Just keep an eye on ELEnin and PLEASE post anything you find of interest on your blog!

          2. astrobob

            You’re most welcome, Dan. Thanks for your thoughtful presentation even if we don’t agree on all points. I will be sure to post anything interesting about Comet Elenin and look forward to the time when we’ll get a nice view.

          3. Luke

            Just a side note, the perspective that the Mayan calendar ending is a doomsday prophecy is largely a European perspective. The remnants of Mayan culture have no such concern and the idea of it being a doomsday is linked to one ambiguous line in some poetry.

            The Mayan calendar largely ended for the same reason our calendar will eventually end: people stopped calculating and making them. Should our civilization end right now and only pieces of it remain, someone will, thousands of years from now, possibly discover bits and pieces of our culture and note that our scientists only bothered to predict events out X number of years and lo and behold doomsday.

            The Mayan calendar is an amazing piece of work and scientific observation, but it is not a prophecy.

          4. Dan

            Good point and well taken.

            I agree it’s not a “prophecy” per se. It is however used as a prophetic timepiece by many students of the subject. Where traditional prophecy will detail specific events without a specific timeframe — the calendar predicts unspecific change at a specific time.

            Putting them together is what keeps people like me awake at night.

  35. Lon

    Hi astro bob. you talk a lot about what the comet is and you are so quick to say nibiru (or a brown dwarf) does not exist but how do u really know that? There are so many bodies in the galaxy and our own solar system that haven’t been discovered, so how can you possibly say it doesn’t exist? That’s like you saying the city of Troy never existed and it was all a myth, until it was discovered. We probably should have a brown dwarf star in our solar system since most other systems like ours is binary. But I’m not going to say it doesn’t exist. Hopefully comet elenin is as small as you say but again you also stated it’s so far away you don’t know the size or whats around it yet. So then why are you stating your opinions and saying they’re the facts? I don’t think you know, none of us do, and for you to state some of the things you have is as much disinformation as the rest of them.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Lon, I never said a brown dwarf doesn’t exist in our solar system, only that it is unlikely and/or has not yet been discovered. I have said that there is no scientific evidence that a brown dwarf is approaching the inner solar system as some people might believe. That is completely made-up pseudoscience. The estimate I’ve used for Elenin’s size comes from a professional comet researcher and is not my own. However, based on my own observations of the comet and its small size and faintness, I think he’s got it right.


    Y’all should start believing in our childrens future. GOD is 1 and GOD is great so 4 GOD’s sake have some faith, and stop looking 4 da end.

  37. Louis

    I am not sure if you have the answers to the questions I am going to ask but I have been impressed with your overall knowledge and figure why not try.

    1. Has there been another comet in our recorded history that has comparably mirrored Elenin in its projected path?

    2. What comet has come closest in its orbit to our planet?

    3. Has there ever been the coincidence of earthquakes on earth associated with any other comets as they aligned with earth or other bodies in space?

    4. Do comets follow newton’s laws of planetary orbits?

    Thank you form your time.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Louis, thanks for asking.
      1. Ever comet’s orbit is unique, but there have undoubtedly been comets with orbits similar to Elenin since it’s not a particularly unusual one. I apologize but it would take a great deal of time to compare Elenin’s orbital elements with those of all the known comets to give you a definitive answer.
      2. Lexell’s Comet in 1770. It passed only 1.37 million miles from Earth.
      3. No scientific proof for any connection but lots of hearsay.
      4. Yes but with a caveat. Comets are also susceptible to “non-gravitational” forces from outgassing that can create small changes in their orbits. Vapor and dust are shot out of a comet when it’s near the sun and create a recoil or “push back” effect on the comet’s nucleus.

  38. christopher

    It is refreshing to find a website that helps alleviate fears concerning Elenin. In your opinion, what is it that causes so many websites to lean toward the gloom and doom approach? Is it strictly a money thing or is it some kind of deep psychological inner need to cause fear in other people? Or, are these gloom and doom folks just ignorant and uninformed? Please help me understand.

    1. astrobob

      Christopher, I think it’s a combination of some kind of deep need (whatever it might be), and a lack or dismissal of information. Sometimes good information and science can clear the air – if the person is receptive. If not, it doesn’t matter how accurate and complete the science. It will be dismissed as conspiracy.

  39. Brooke

    Hi Bob, I have a question. I converses back and forth with leonid Elenin on his face book and he says you can not see his comet except maybe a faint tail on a telescope yet. I asked him how does he see it he said with a special C something camera maybe CVD I can not remember is that the type you use to see it and capture pictures?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Brook, I have a large enough telescope and dark skies, so I can see the comet with my own eyes. Not many people have seen Comet Elenin, because it’s so faint. That’s why most amateur astronomers, including Leonid Elenin, use CCD (digital) cameras attached to telescopes to photograph the comet. Time exposures with digital cameras capture the photos you’ve seen of Comet Elenin on my blog. I don’t take those pictures myself because I don’t have the equipment. Other expert comet observers/photographers take them and I use them by permission.

      1. Brooke

        That is very neat I never really had an interest in stars, comets, planets and the universe until I started reading about this comet I have learned a lot especially from you. If I want to start being an observer myself what equipment would I need to get started and where and what would I look for I am not very smart when it comes to the skies above what I can see. I would love to be able to learn more. I was wondering if you believe the band on Jupiter is not as unusual as people think it is and one woman on another blog had said Saturn is acting up, what ever that means. I was wondering your thoughts on this

        1. astrobob

          Brook, all you need to get started as an observer are your eyes. Binoculars are also very useful. There are lots of good books and resources on astronomy – check out your public library and all the online sites. I recommend Stellarium (, a planetarium-style star program that will help you learn the constellations and teach you where the moon and planets are. The disappearance and return of Jupiter’s cloud belt doesn’t happen very often but it’s unusual enough to be interesting. I enjoyed watching the changes through my telescope. Saturn is still experiencing a powerful storm in the zone north of its north equatorial belt. Those also happen every once in a while. This is big one and has gone on for months. Thanks for asking!

  40. willem

    When about and at what spots on the earth, one is able to see this Elenin without telescope, astrobob?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Willem, I’m glad you asked. Comet Elenin has fallen behind expectations in the past couple months as far as brightness. It’s still only visible to a trained eye using larger amateur telescopes. It should first become visible in binoculars to observers in the southern hemisphere in early September in the western sky in twilight. By mid-September the comet will be lined up too close to the sun to see until it re-appears in morning sky twilight for northern hemisphere viewers in early October. By mid-October, observers in both hemispheres will see it. At the moment, Comet Elenin’s predicted to reach only about 4th magnitude, bright enough for someone to see under a very dark sky, but not from a city.

  41. Andrew

    Thank you so much for this important information.

    Christopher is right saying that “so many websites lean toward the gloom and doom approach” .
    In my opinion, such a histerical bias cannot be explained by purely psychological reasons. Just look how the media all over the world started yelling about the Maya scripts, the Nibiru planet, the December 2012 Doomsday. Such campaigns are normally well organized and do not happen spontaneously.
    I am afraid, all this histeria may well be a cover operation for something really bad.

    If you don’ t mind, I’ll hang out this stuff on a couple of Russian sites.

  42. willem

    Tanks for answering my question astrobob. Here is some good material from serious people that form the counterpart of your website’s and blog content. Have you any comment to what they are stating (they seam to know what they talk about). By commenting on this you will shine some more light on this disturbing and scaring material which is keeping quite some people busy at these terrible and difficult times (word economy crashing, banksters stealing all there is left and people stay more and more poor, besides secret arms, like HAARP etc, probably operate and cause wetter manipulation and earth quakes)

    1. astrobob

      Hi Willem – While those terrible things may be happening in the world, Comet Elenin is not their cause as we’ve discussed here in the blog and comments section on many occasions.

  43. Shannon

    Elenin comes from elena, Helena.
    “Origin of the name Helen:
    Cognate of the Greek Helen‘, which is derived from the root ‘l‘ (light,torch, bright). The name is born in Greek legend by the beautiful wife of the king of Sparta. Her abduction by the
    Trojan prince Paris sparked off the Trojan War”

    Another source…
    “Elena Spanish the bright one.
    Helen Greek bright one, torchlight or helios “sun” Heleyne,
    Yelena Russian shining light, Elena,”
    Elena (russian sources)
    also of ; the greek found to mean “clear, chosen” or “bright, light, torch”. Another source back to
    ‘l‘ (light, torch, bright)

    Helios was the sun god, another name given to helios was ”Apollo” 
    The name Apollo is here understood to mean Apollon “Destroyer”—— (The destroyer star)
     The Destroyer is also mentioned in the Bible as “Wormwood” SPECIFICALLY a star. Rev. 8-10 I believe.

    The word leonid means, A shower of meteorites which fall from the area of sky around the constellation Leo in November
    The Leonids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiant in the constellation Leo: the meteors appear to radiate from that point in the sky.

    This is the meaning of his two names in english, his name in russian is xxxxxxxxxx(wont let me show russian characters) which translates directly to leonid yelenin, (not elenin) The name yelenin gives me nothing when I go searching, but elenin gives me quite a lot as you can see. if you search his name in russian and go to his facebook page and translate to english its (yelenin), but he has it written as elenin everywhere else, my question is why isn’t it called comet yelinen which is a direct translation of his name? Why use Elenin? Might I add that if you search his name through any search engine he turns out to be the only one of his kind, ”the one and only leonid elenin”? He discovers a comet which will bring a meteor shower that will be radiant in the constellation Leo, the comet he discovers will be here in november which will bring a spectacular meter shower.. 

    His first name means shining light or helios, helios is another name for apollo(destroyer) add that to the meaning of ELE and NIN… The chances of a mother giving birth to a baby, calling him leonid elenin , and 30 odd years later he discovers a comet arriving in leo in the month of november and to top it all off his comet has the same flight plan as this so called planet X( also known as the (destroyer star)

    The comet hale bopp was discovered by Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp. There were tv interviews of the men because of their great discovery, comet elenin is supposed to be as spectacular as hale bopp…problem is that there is nothing on Mr Elenin except a few articles on his discovery in russian english or even Chinese, no tv interview. just his website spaceorbs and his facebook comet elenin page(which he rarely comments on) there are 2 photos of him on the net(except for the new one i found) thats it!! This man fell from the sky in 2008 as there is nothing on him prior to that. 

    I never believed in planet X, nibiru etc but after dissecting this worm’s name I’m starting to have doubts.

    “Behind the comet, discovered in December last year, Chinese scientists say there is a phenomenon, something they called cluster, which means globular cluster.

    According to the report quoting the astronomer mission, the space body would be found in the comet’s tail and was analyzed after the mysterious signals that came off of an unknown “strange and obscure” formation.

    “And is it true when NASA began to make calculations and projections of comet’s orbit, they realized that something was wrong and the first thing they did was remove the website which provided information on this issue?”
    Not sure we are getting all the truth and facts.

    1. astrobob

      You can find dozens of connections with anything out there, but that doesn’t make it true. You’ve got to conduct experiments to show cause and effect. I’m only an occasional pancake eater, but let’s say that each time I sit down to eat pancakes, a big earthquake happens somewhere on Earth that day or that week. Did my pancake eating cause those earthquakes? Of course not. Given the known laws of physics, Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion and the estimated diameter of Comet Elenin, we’re not in for any trouble. None that is unless you think pancakes cause earthquakes:)
      Take care and do well.

  44. Shannon

    So then I’m right because you did not address any of my questions. NASA along with CNN and who ever else has been keeping information from the public.
    At this time it is a waiting game…

    1. astrobob

      Shannon, I’ve addressed these questions over the past two months here and in the blog, and have no secret information I’m holding back. I won’t address Elenin’s name, because frankly I find these arguments and associations misguided and spurious.

  45. Brad

    So what would happen if you add oh say a “Honda” in the .029 a.u. range to the elenin passby at approx the same time.

    1. astrobob

      Brad, to be blunt, nothing would happen. I’m just crossing my fingers that both comets put on a decent show. Lineups of solar system objects with Earth do not create earthquakes, tsunamis and the like. These are caused by forces within our own planet.

      1. Brad

        Well isn’t that like saying the moon has no affect on the tides, surely any object with a mass that passes close to other objects or between objects that have effects on earth would have some negative attributes. not to say the end is coming but somethings are going to happen. people in large are panicky, individules are intellagent.
        Just my opinion.

        1. astrobob

          You’re absolutely correct, Brad. The moon is massive (certainly compared to most comets), very close to Earth and in a regular orbit. Tides are a very real effect of the moon’s gravitational attraction. My point all along is that given Elenin’s estimated size, its much greater distance of 21 million miles (vs. 240,000 for the moon), any gravitational effects it has on our planet are positively miniscule. Other comets have come considerably closer with no overt effects. In a sense, gravity touches everything, but its effects are strongest when the object is large and close. Even a faint galaxy millions of light years away has a slight gravitational attraction on the Earth but we ignore it, because it’s immeasurable. The same can be said for Elenin and Honda.

  46. Pingback : Astro Bob says Elenin will not destroy the earth |

  47. Newton

    Bob, I understand astronomy like I understand my wife – which most of the time I don’t. I have a question for you:

    I see the mention of this comet Elenin “aligning” itself with earth. What do it mean by using the term “aligning?” How and what are they referring to being aligned?

    AstroBob, Thanks for your patience with the many recurring questions here on your blog and thank you for helping me understand – at least – astronomy better.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Newton, thanks for asking. The alignments being talked about are when two or more celestial bodies line up in a neat row in approximately the same flat plane. Every month at new moon and full moon the Earth, moon and the sun line up (they’re ‘aligned’) in a row for a short time. Once a year, each of the outer planets lines up with the Earth and sun at a time called ‘opposition’. Lineups among celestial bodies like planets, asteroids and comets are common and, except for the moon’s and sun’s effects on the tides and Earth’s crust, do not affect the our planet in a significant way.

      1. Newton

        Ok, great – I get the part of the “alignment” but where does the line start? I mean you can draw a line through any two points so where is the starting point in the case of Elenin and the those who claim it’s alignment is affecting our planet? Is it our sun?

        Thanks again AstroBob! Great blog site.

        1. astrobob

          Newton, my understanding is that it’s Elenin-Earth-sun and also sun-Elenin-Earth. You’re drawing a line connecting three bodies, not two.

  48. Anthony

    I just found out about this comet and got steered to your blog as one of the few on Google top results that are in the sane category.

    Reading the comments on the doom and gloom presented over the past few months I couldn’t help but laugh and add in that we cant forget conspiracy theorist are saying Russia knows this comet is being intelligently steered.

    People have grown accustomed to living in the fear age, its a generational phase that will be around for some time, likely its going to get worse then this before it gets better. 2012 will be the height of crazy, people will go nuts on new years eve, people will go nuts on new years day, some people will go back to work, some wont. People will claim it will be the next week for miscalculations, then it will be next year based on the wrong calender format. 2013 will pass just as easily as 2012 will. 2014 will pass and climate change, famine and war will continue on all this end of days garbage. who knows beyond that. Point being. It wont end for a very long time, there will always be something that a few people will feel the need to take upon themselves to straighten the masses out on, just as there will always be thousands of people going absolutely nuts for every one of those sane people trying to calm everyone down.

    Good read you gave me though, I enjoyed your blog, likely I enjoyed the comments more however.

    1. astrobob

      Dear Anthony, thank you for your comment and thank you for writing. Nice to hear from another cool head on Comet Elenin. Yes, the years will pass as they always have — full of surprises good and bad that have nothing to do with alignments.

  49. brandon anthony

    hi my name is brandon anthony um i found a video on youtube saying they found the brown dwarf star on june 7 i dont know if it true they say it been there in 2007 it was on jpl it on youtube now plus nasa gave out a video talking about be prepare be prepare for what i just hope that nothing happen i really do but from what going on now i dont know i just hope we can get thru this please explain

    1. astrobob

      Hi Brandon, thanks for writing and asking. The picture you’re seeing in the video is a digital artifact and not a brown dwarf star. There is no scientific evidence that a brown dwarf star is nearby. Comet Elenin is a small, very faint comet that will pass 21 million miles from Earth this fall. Though that’s relatively close for a comet, it’s still a long ways off. No worries.

  50. brandon anthony

    ok another question why is it i talk to some one in nasa about this subject they be quiet for a minute is nasa actually lying to us does nibriu actually exist and you never answer me why did they have a video to prepare are you actually a astrbologist no offense. sir i am really scare i care for my family and i want answer and what has been going on with the earth earthquakes,tornadoes,floods,volcano eruption,nuclear wiast in fukishima, what is going on sir be serious are you really an astrobologist or do you work for nasa like david morrison also who is mensur omeristhich whatever how you spell his name

    1. astrobob

      Brandon, I’m not paid by NASA. I write about things in the sky I think people might be interested in. I’ve written about Mensur in a recent comment to a similar question. Scroll back through the comments to see it. As for all that Nibiru stuff, there is no proof whatsoever that it’s real. In other words, misguided people are either making it up or misinterpreting data. No need to fear or worry.

  51. Twana

    Hi Bob,
    Thank you for the excellent detailed information. Now I just wish my doom and gloom preaching friends could get a grip and accept your common sense education.
    But as Anthony stated earlier this month, they will find another focus/explanation for their end of the world message.
    Keep up the great posts!

  52. brandon anthony

    so how would you explain all the events going on and do earth has a pole shift if so what damage will that cause look im sorry im asking alot of question but are you a real astromoner if so can i talk to you by email

    1. astrobob

      Brandon – there is no pole shift occurring on Earth. The magnetic poles do wander with time and once in a rare while they reverse. Nothing is happening now to indicate anything out of the ordinary. As for the other Earth events, remember that we live on a planet that’s alive with activity: life, earthquakes, tsunamis (which are consequence of earthquakes), lovely days followed by terrible storms and on and on. These events have explanations found right here on Earth. Some of the weather-related events are likely due to additional heat from climate change caused in part by us. Much of what makes Earth so lively (and interesting) are natural cycles that have been with us for millions of years. Will Earth get hit one day by an asteroid or comet? Probably. We saw it happen on Jupiter in the past couple decades, and the dinosaur extinction appears to have been caused by an asteroid impact. No one knows when that will happen, whether tomorrow or 500,000 years from now. I can tell you this. Based on the facts we know about Comet Elenin, it will not affect Earth. There is no evidence than any comet ever recorded in human history has caused an earthquake, etc. on Earth.

    1. astrobob

      No magnetic pole shifts in recorded human history, but the magnetic poles do meander about as I wrote earlier. The last pole shift was about 750,000 years ago, and it occurred very slowly, taking between 1000 and 10,000 years.

  53. brandon anthony

    ok now you are deleting questions too look i just need answers there are volcano eruptions earthquakes i know we get them but not this many plus the severe weather in the states something is causing this i dont know but something is really causing this and im irritate and are you sure nibriu does not exist

  54. brandon anthony

    ok last question how are you so confident that nibriu does not exist or elenin is a brown dwarf star how are you confident

    1. astrobob

      Brandon, I’ve seen Elenin a number of times through my telescope and it’s clearly a faint comet. I’ve observed some 275 comets over the past 30 years, so I’m familiar with their appearance. Also there have been a number of photos, some I’ve published in the blog, taken by a variety of comet observers/astrophotographers. In these pictures, Elenin also looks like a typical small comet with a short, faint tail. Finally, Elenin is following the orbit determined for it months ago. It’s not off track, otherwise amateur astronomers like myself wouldn’t be able to find or photograph it.
      As for the so-called Niburu, there is simply no proof. There are no current photos, brightness estimates, diameter estimates and observation reports from any of hundreds of reputable observatories — professional and amateur alike — around the world. People are not holding back or hiding it. It simply doesn’t exist. If it did, astronomers everywhere would be making observations and publishing papers. It would also be all over the media.

  55. DataSponge

    I just saw a video on nasa orbilal projection verifying dates.
    I also saw a video of daylight hours of japan eathquake were Elenin was as visible as a planet. It was time laps and went into evening.

    1. astrobob

      DataSponge – I’ve had to repeat myself many times on this, but comet alignments are not the cause of earthquakes. Please scroll back to previous comments made regarding this topic. While the quake was a horrific event, it was caused by plate tectonics, a well-documented cause of earthquakes around the world and throughout time. Lots of big earthquakes have happened recently and over historical time without any alignments as their cause.

  56. DataSponge

    You must not know this but there has been a paper submitted in the scientific cominity about Eleinin and the earthquakes and also the astronomer himself who named this so called comet also put up a whole list of dates on earthquakes in relation to where Elinin was and there is consensus that this is a topic that needs more study.

    There is consipracy on nasa part as to no recent images as it is close enough now regardless if you believe size is small or large.
    It is naive to think they still don’t know the size.

    1. astrobob

      Determining a comet’s true size is a very tricky thing, because the small, frozen nucleus is shrouded by a dense cloud of vaporizing ice and dust called the coma. The only way to get a true size is to send a spacecraft to right into the coma. Astronomers determine an approximate size by watching the comet’s behavior and brightness curve over time. According to NASA astronomer Donald Yeomans, Elenin is on the small side:
      I’m not surprised NASA isn’t targeting this comet for special coverage — as of yet, it’s just another faint comet, one of many that cross the sky each year.

    1. astrobob

      Some folks react to perceived danger – in this case unfounded – by building or buying bunkers I guess.

  57. Colombianita11


    Thank you very much for all the useful information, I’m glad you are responding to all the questions in detail and in a very smart and polite way even when people here try to attack or challenge you. I am so happy to read all your comments and answers. I was very misguided and scare, but thanks to you, I can relax now. It is terrible how people out there spread the fear around the world!! And do business taking advantage of people’s fears. Do you know anything of what is going to happen on Dec 21 2012?? it is just another alignment?

    Thank you for your time 🙂

    1. astrobob

      Dear Colombianita, thank you very much for your nice note. While there are always real concerns in the world, Comet Elenin, the non-existent Nibiru and especially predictions of the world coming to an end in 2012 aren’t worth worrying about. Dec. 21, 2012 is a cooked-up date, and falsely described as the “end of the Mayan calendar”. Some interpret this misinformation to mean the end of all of us. The Mayan calendar will continue on. The 2012 hype is another in a long series of “end of the world” scares. For more information, you can check out a blog I wrote about 2012 ( and also this excellent and informative link (

  58. brandon anthony

    ok i really thought they was building bunkers look at the russians are you sure you are not with nasa and a real astronmer

    1. astrobob

      Brandon, I’d love to work for NASA – I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid – but, no, I don’t work for NASA nor am I associated with the agency in any way. Remember, that folks at NASA aren’t the only ones looking at the sky. Just for fun, let’s say NASA was keeping a secret. If that were true, thousands of professional astronomers around the world who don’t work for NASA would still be studying the sky with their own telescopes and spacecraft (European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), European Space Agency and the China National Space Administration to name a few) and reporting on anything unusual. They’re not. Nor are the legions of amateur astronomers who routinely follow and photograph comets and other transient phenomena. The sky is free for anyone to look at and study.

  59. brandon anthony

    ok i dont think we can trust nasa because they are not telling us anything are they just keeping this a secret to not cause a mass panic or what because i seen the signs i see everything just look on the news now how do you know nasa telling the truth also do you work for nasa

    1. astrobob

      Not the volcanoes themselves – the idea that they were caused by a dubious organization (you mentioned nwo) or manipulated by such. Volcanoes happen when they happen. You can always find a coincidence with anything you’d like, but that doesn’t mean one CAUSES the other. Again, it’s like seeing a meteor at the same time I sneeze. Did my sneeze cause the meteor to happen? It sounds silly, right, but connecting a comet or planet alignment with an earthquake is just as nonsensical.

    1. astrobob

      Brandon, as you’re probably aware, anyone can link to anyone on the Web. I provide links to other individuals and organization in each of my blogs. That doesn’t mean those people are connected or beholden to me. We can all link freely. So while I’ve heard of Morrison, I’ve never had contact with him. You are making connections that are simply not true. At this point, I feel I’ve addressed your concerns about Elenin/volcano/climate conspiracies and alignments. You’re free to disagree and we can leave it at that. I think it’s time to move on to another topic.

  60. brandon anthony

    ok i heard the earth axis is wandering also that means the core will switch to polarity also in the winter when the earth get close to the sun the magnetic polarity of the bubbles of the sun will cause the north/south and they call it a magnetic snap is that true

  61. dave

    hi bob… i really enjoy your commentary. i have question ( unrelated to the end of the world… lol). what would you recommend 4 a good amature telescope? i am hoping i can get something good for around 5 or 6 hundred….. but i just dont know. i dont want to waste money on something that does ‘nt do the job. do you have any suggestion’s? is it even worth spending 5 or 6 hundred on a telescope? or would it cost me more to get one that is WORTH buying? i would appreciate your input. thanx

    1. astrobob

      Thank you Dave. I can recommend Orion’s 8-inch Dobsonian reflecting telescope. Check this link to see it:
      It’s $550 plus shipping, or you can buy the non-computerized version for $350. You’ll also need a basic star atlas and a red flashlight. That should get you started. Here’s the page showing additional Orion scopes both smaller and larger:

  62. brandon anthony

    ok thank you bob for the conversation but i heard comet elenin was found by the navy intel in 1979

    1. astrobob

      Brandon, this is false. The comet was discovered on December 10, 2011. Please, I simply don’t have time anymore to address every preposterous idea circulating around the Internet. That’s why I suggested we move on to other topics not having to do with Comet Elenin conspiracies and purported secret information. I will make you and all the readers of this blog a promise — the moment I get word from a credible source that anything in the sky might pose a danger, I’ll share all the information that comes my way. To date, no comet, asteroid, planet, star or moon in recorded human history has led to a disaster either for humanity or the planet. There have been a few close calls involving meteorites — in particular, the Tunguska fall in Russia in 1908, an aerial explosion of an asteroid or comet fragment that flattened many trees — but that’s all I’m aware of. That’s as far as recorded history. Going back in time, yes, you’ll find various worldwide extinctions, such as the dinosaurs, that were likely caused by the impact of small asteroids. And as I’ve written before, it could and probably will happen again sometime. When? No one knows. Thankfully, we’ve got a number of surveillance telescopes on the lookout for small, Earth-crossing asteroids. If one were headed our way, we might get some advance warning. Then we’d have to determine whether it could be deflected and how that might be accomplished.

  63. brandon anthony

    one last question how do you explain the two suns in china they look kind of real and in feb cnn announce a dwarf star in our solar system 4 times the mass of jupiter

    1. astrobob

      There is no evidence for a dwarf star in our solar system. The “two suns” was a meteorological phenomenon called a sun dog, when sunlight is refracted by ice crystals in cirrus clouds to create a brilliant patch of light near the sun.

  64. caralex

    Mr King, I’ve just discovered this website and have spent the last half hour reading through your detailed, patient explanations, and am admiring your self-control when dealing with the obviously misinformed individuals who have posted here.

    I have asked this question on other forums, and never got a satisfactory reply – so maybe you could give your opinion. What is the cause of this scaremongering over celestial non-events, such as Nibiru, Planet X, and now Comet Elenin? I’ve seen Youtubes and read blogs where people are freaking out over the moon looking ‘wrong’, or being ‘overhead’, as if that was something unusual! Is it the 2012 hype? Is it the dumbing down of education? Are kids not learning anything about the earth, the moon, their orbits and movements any more? Does nobody understand the phases of the moon any more, or what causes the seasons? Don’t they know that the earth’s axis is tilted at a known angle?

    I often find myself shaking my head in amazement at the gullibility and downright stupidity out there. How do you counter such wilful ignorance?

    1. astrobob

      Cara, thank you for writing. There will always be people who twist the facts. Sometimes it’s innocent ignorance, or simply passing along a false rumor, but I also think people dislike authority in general. They assume we’re always being lied to. Going after NASA or saying the Apollo moon landings were faked is a way for the little guy to get back at the big guy. This goes to the issue of trust. It’s OK to be skeptical about science or NASA or whatever, and sure, every organization has a few black marks, but that doesn’t mean that everything they do is part of a conspiracy to hide the truth. People also carry around a lot of anger and frustration and want to see some kind of final judgement to make things right, hence all of the “end of the world” predictions across the ages. I certainly wish that that frustration could be fashioned into more creative and positive endeavors. On the other hand, some folks yearn for an “end to the world” because of what their faith promises, and look for “signs” of its inevitability. Finally, I think it’s completely human to seek a personal connection with the universe by endowing it with purpose and intent. I’d be interested to hear what others think.
      How to counter it? I hope to show through my blog that our universe is wildly interesting just as it is. No need to cook up alignments and bogus Nibirus to keep things lively 🙂

  65. brandon anthony

    ok last and final question how do i know your not lying to me that nibiru is not up there i dont really know you i mean and the incident in china how do i know your not saying this stuff not to cause a panic

    1. astrobob

      Brandon, I’m not lying because I have no reason to. There is no credible evidence whatsoever for the existence of Nibiru. I share what I know, and I’ve seen and read nothing but fairy tales about this object. As for the two suns in China, if there really were another star in the sky as bright as the sun, it would be the biggest story of our time. I saw the video a while back and it was very obvious that the person was recording a meteorological phenomenon. He or she may never have seen a sundog/halo/iridescence before, was amazed and then leaped to conclusions. Remember, the more incredible the claim, the more evidence you need to back it up. I’ll leave you with the words of Carl Sagan: Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.

  66. brandon anthony

    ok this is the last and final question i saw a youtube video of planet tyche does that exist and will it hit earth

    1. astrobob

      Tyche is a hypothesized planet in the outer solar system. Thus far, there is no evidence for it.

  67. brandon anthony

    ok are you a christian people say that nibiru is in the bible look for all that going on with the weather i really dont know

  68. Allen Gibson

    How can you be sure of the size of it….and JUST TALK??? the planetary alignments were correlated by a bosnian scientist, not conspiracy theorists that just talk,,Why did the Russians say that it was guided by something because of it strange trajectory.?? then you say its normal? I dont know man,sounds like you read an article and went with it before doing research???

    1. astrobob

      Hi Allen, I’ve written extensively in the comments section about the gravitational insignificance of the alignments you speak of. As Donald Yeomans, Senior Research Scientist, supervisor for the Solar System Dynamics Group, and Manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office, has said — a compact automobile has more affect on the tides than Comet Elenin. Comets are small objects, much smaller than the largest asteroids. Their gravitational effects are miniscule. I’ve observed Comet Elenin with my own eyes through a 15″ telescope four or five times and can assure you it looks like a typical faint, diffuse comet. I’ve observed around 275 comets over the years; they’re one of my favorite things to follow.

  69. WyrdNEXUS

    Thank you Astrobob. It can be a great chore to meet paranoia, conspiracy-media, and fear-mongering with rational and reasonable responses supported with real evidence. You manage to do so without belittlement or condescension, but with facts and redirection toward wonderment at the beauty of the universe. Bravo. Its a tough job, but someone has to do it. Thank You.

    1. astrobob

      Again Brandon, I have seen this with my own eyes through the telescope. It is positively a comet and not a brown dwarf. I’m just hoping we finally clear out here so I can see it again before it’s lost in twilight.

  70. Andrew

    Thanks for all the great info! I was a believer in the ELE idea until I found this site.

    Just a quick question for Brandon. Do you work for the CIA? Asking you that is like asking astrobob if he works for NASA – not even plausible.

    I’m dumbfounded by people who, with their limited knowledge on a subject, will continually turn sour statements made by people who actually know what their talking about. It’s like this.

    Bob – “See that big ball of brightness in the sky? That’s the sun.
    Brandon – “No it’s not. You’re lying.”


    But anyway, thanks again for the great info. I really enjoyed the last couple hours I spent reading all these comments. Truly interesting stuff.

    1. astrobob

      I appreciate your support Andrew. I’m OK with trying to clear up the Elenin misinformation, but the amount of hyped up, conspiratorial and just plain false information found online on so many astronomical topics is mind-boggling. I’d need another lifetime (and the desire) to refute it all. There’s no end to it 😉

      1. Andrew

        Nor will there ever be, unfortunately. As long as there is internet and human beings, there will be wild and crazy conspiracy theories. Paranoia is just human nature, and the idea of mass hysteria is as old as the first religion. I doubt that we, as a people, will ever grow out of it.

  71. brandon anthony

    paranoia paranoia ok if that it nasa found a tenth planet in 2005 bigger than pluto if im lying go to the nasa website yourself type in planet nibiru click search and see it yourself

    1. astrobob

      Brandon, Dr. Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology (not NASA) discovered the dwarf planet Eris in 2005, not Nibiru, which is imaginary. At first it was thought to be slightly larger than Pluto, but recent observations indicate Eris is slightly smaller.

      1. brandon anthony

        eris i thought it was xena are you one hundred percent sure that nibiru does not exist and elenin wont destroy the earth

        1. astrobob

          Xena was the dwarf planet’s nickname early on. It’s officially called Eris now. I’m certain Comet Elenin won’t destroy the Earth and Nibiru does not exist. Bear in mind, it’s always a possibility, however remote, that Earth could be struck by an asteroid or comet in the next several billion years. No one can be 100% certain that an event like that won’t happen. However, Nibiru as a real object headed for Earth is phony baloney. I encourage you to read the excellent Wikipedia entry on it. It’s clear how completely made up this object truly is:

  72. brandon anthony

    ok everybody is telling me to go to wikipedia i do not think it a great source and if this comet elenin is a comet um why is it heating up the other planets

    1. astrobob

      Brandon, Comet Elenin is not heating up the planets. It’s a comet and comets don’t do such things unless they crash directly into a planet and create a crater and temporary hot spot.

  73. Arthur Fomalhaut

    Cut the shit. You work for NASA.

    Just kidding 🙂 This has been an extremely amusing reading.

    I wanted to say the following: we all appreciate you 3d conventional hard science data, honest. We listen to your kind and take into careful account anything coming from your instruments. We always did. Only you never listened to us, who know other things equally at least, probably vastly more interesting.

    In your world, only gravitation, mass, speed and things like that exists. You insist there is no *causality between alignments and earthquakes, simply because gravitation is not enough. You completely ignore that in this universe, or rather multiverse, so much more is going on than mere physical mechanics. There are now areas of scientific activity which are conflating with old occult knowledge and things close to religion. All is coming together. The issue with positions in heaven and earth events is not about causality, but analogical correspondece -a hermetic law-, synchronicity, a phenomenon in this cosmos traditionally explored (imperfectly) by astrology. I know is too much for your “scientific” head. Scientific here mean defender of conventional illusionary limited 3d reality. After all, Einstein couldnt get his head around how two far away particules could behave synchronically, eventually he gave in, and made open his support of astrology.

    I tell you that I am a peaceful person that never had a quarrel in his life, however one day someone jumped a line in a hospital, I went for him, insulted him to my heart content in front of everybody, and when he put up a defense I threatened him ” I will get you in the street”. Later I wondered “whats wrong with me?”. I checked planets positions, and I found Mars was making a perfectly accurate difficult angle with the position of it when I was born. Coincidence? second of degree? Go take a walk. Of course you will never check out this kind of thing, cause you are scared to lose your “secure” predictable meansurable world. Same way, there can be synchronicity with Elenin’s appearance, not causality; those two hits with brutal earthquakes, while not conclusive, are something. Personally, I dont feel so but I dont research this field; there are so many indications and fields in your riduculed apparently silly 2012-kind field, that no researcher can follow all. However, it is a remarkable phenomenon the coming together of some hundreds indications from multiples fields of knowledge. For me, much more interesting than observing a comet. Also, the true hallmark of intellectual achievement is the ability to integrate vastly different matters and approaches into ever more comprehensive views. The problem with your silly mechanicist world -apart from being deadly boring- is that leave out a host of unexplainable stuff and seem to be based in an inherently notion of *separation of things from the rest of the multiverse, instead of containing in them the seed of totality. If you and your kind persist in this spiritual malaise, you will simply will be “left behind”. Time has come for your kind to have a good startle.

    Because of all the synchronicities going on, there is no bigger one that between that that goes on *inside, in our hearts, and outside. And I know my heart, and humankind’s heart, through *direct experience, not telescope. And I know when the time has come, just as animals flee a coming earthquake.

    And yes, many of us in the planet, maybe not particular locations, are gonna die. I mean nastily and in abnormal numbers. That is beyond the shadow of a doubt. You can say there wont be financial collapse, or social, or suddenly good crops bless us and the currrently on the way famine is averted, or the theory of expansion of the earth is not right and no, it is perfectly normal the number of volcanos we are seing going off, or Elenin will pass by as I also rather would bet, or the solar storm that even Nasa acknowledges will never happen or will be mild, that the Sun cycle theory is wrong, or all the hundreds communications of people-not-from-here are fake (impossible, my field), and all the dozens of codification in cultural stuff are coincidental and joking, or that the funny observable behaviour of the powers that be is meaningless, or… the list goes on and on. BUT NO WAY ALL OF THEM FIZZLE. Absolutely no way.

    Even so, I want to say to some reader, equally there is absolutely no reason at all to be scared. Great things await us. If only you could know that there is absolutely no doubt we live eternally, retaining our being, there is overwhelming evidence, not the kind this 2+2 people like this astronomer want to look into. And I want to tell you all that I love you profoundly.

    If you astronomer censor this post I will be deeply saddened.

    1. astrobob

      Thanks Arthur for your e-mail. The problem with your prediction of “everything coming together” is that it’s been made before by many people over many generations. Yours is yet another “we can read the signs” and they mean such and such. This is strikingly similar to the recent “May Rapture” we heard from Harold Camping last month. Nothing came of that, but in some it inspired fear. That’s frankly irresponsible.

      When Elenin is a distant memory, another group will seize upon something else to forecast “the end” or another disaster. I’ve been around a while and seen this many times with planetary alignments, supposed spaceships hiding behind Coment Hale-Bopp, etc.

      And that’s the reason science is the proverbial “candle in the dark”. It doesn’t depend on hunches, gut feelings, mystical revelations and connecting names and numbers like dots to forecast or explain an event. Scientists test various hypotheses to determine which is the best explanation. If it doesn’t work, it’s set aside or refined. In the end we all share in the results since they’re reproducible. This is exactly the opposite of “reading the signs”. Your reading may be quite different from mine or from the next person’s. You think Elenin is invisibly connected to destruction. What if I told you that I think there are aliens flying around in dirigibles right now in Jupiter’s atmosphere and they mean to attack Earth? And deep in my gut I was absolutely sure of it. You’d think I went off the deep end. Here’s my point: every one of us can say anything we like based on our own “reading of signs”. In science, you have to back it up with more than feelings and connect-the-dots conspiracy-style ideas.

      Science is really nothing more than what subsistence hunters have been doing since the dawn of humanity: listening and watching closely to nature to see what it can teach us. The most amazing things in the universe don’t necessarily come from human imagination — they’re real things like Saturn’s rings and photosynthesis that no one could have imagined. Unlike pseudoscience, real science is hard work, requiring much study, observation and number crunching.

      I understand that science is not the be-all, end-all. There are spiritual needs people have that may not be addressed by a scientific view of the world. But when I see people twist science to make shortcuts from comets to volcanic eruptions or instill fear where there’s no need for it, I feel it’s important to present the facts as we know them. In my very small way, that’s what I try to do. I accept you may disagree, but there you have it.

  74. brandon anthony

    ok explain the temperarture on the news i found a story it call air fall from the sky for example is that it be 90 degrees and a few mins it drop to seventy two then go back up and also why is david morrison knowns as a lier

    1. astrobob

      I’m not familiar with the story, but if someone is saying the temperature change is somehow because of Comet Elenin, that is false. David Morrison is an accomplished scientist and I have no reason to think he’s lying. If anything, he’s trying to quell the false fears and misinformation surrounding Comet Elenin and the 2012 hoax.

  75. Douglas

    One thing that puzzles me is the information regarding Elenin alignments with the sun and earth on the exact days of the New Zealand, Chilean and Japanese huge earthquakes. One or two maybe coincidence but all three? How could a comet have this influence? Wouldn’t it have to be something far bigger or ??

    The earth’s seismicity can arise as a natural response
    of our planet to its alignments with other celestial objects.

    Professor Mensur Omerbashich

    Omerbashich demonstrates empirically that,

    “all strong (~M6+) earthquakes of 2010 occurred during the Earth’s long astronomical alignments within our solar system. He shows that the same holds true for all very strong (~M8+) earthquakes of the decade of 2000s.

    He asserts that the “comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin) has been adding to robustness in terms of very strong seismicity since 2007. Elenin will continue intensifying the Earth’s very strong seismicity until August-October, 2011.”

    It seems like every time Elenin lines up with Earth and another planet or the Sun we have an earthquake, the nearer Elenin gets the bigger the quake.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Douglas, I’ve written about this extensively in the comments section. You can always find an alignment between something on Earth and in the sky. That doesn’t mean the alignment is the cause of the event on Earth. Comet Elenin is far too inconsequential a body to exert any appreciable attraction on the Earth. It’s gravitational effect at those distances is similar to the gravity your car exerts on the planet – miniscule! This is true whether the comet is a million miles away or 200 million. Think for a moment about the other planets and the major moons in the solar system. They are far more massive than any comet we know of and some are much closer than Elenin, yet they’re gravitational effects on Earth are also inconsequential. And that’s true whether they’re lined with the sun or Earth or not. The Elenin-as-impending-doom crowd makes much of alignments, but they’re of little consequence gravitationally. They’re interesting from a geometrical point of view I guess but that’s about it. As for Mensur’s work, I don’t have the link handy, but it’s back in the comments. His work on this matter, while sounding highly scientific, is misguided and has serious flaws. If you don’t find it, let me know and I’ll dig it up.

      1. Douglas

        Thanks Bob, I apologize for the double dip on the same question. First visit to your site and missed the original note. I did read through the astroblog article pointing out the issues with Mensur. I found his work of interest as 30 years ago I worked in the Heli skiing business in Canada with some brilliant folks from Utah that pioneered the idea that full moon cycles added a substantial risk factor to avalanche hazards depending on snow conditions. They were ridiculed for years until enough people died with other companies forcing their owners to admit they might be missing something in their safety procedures. The three huge earthquakes on exact alignment dates with Elenin seemed to point to something else being in the equation, something much bigger. This along with obvious extreme weather, tornadoes, volcanos, very high quake activity, the largest CME on the sun ever seen, accelerated moving of magnetic north over the last decade, mass animal die offs… to a inquiring mind seems to point to something unusual going on beyond the normal ebb and flow in our galaxy. A perfectly preserved Mammoth found in Russia with a flower in his mouth at high altitude. The only possible explanation looking at all the factors of it’s death and preservation indicated that it had been grazing in a warm climate like the Mediterranean, somehow instantly being moved thousands of miles and up thousands of feet, suffocated and instantly frozen. The article about how the earths crust has shifted dramatically throughout earth’s history. While this kind of shift would be rough on WalMart sales it has happened before so why not again? What forces are at work to cause such an event? What forces are at work to cause the current heightened activity? If the Pioneer program and the following IRAS satellite found what they thought could be Planet X, that could disrupt the earth on X thousand year cycles would they tell everyone? All fascinating stuff to consider. Thanks for your great work!

        1. astrobob

          No problem Douglas. I appreciate your light touch, but think it’s important to remember that many others before you have compiled a list of unusual events and predicted that something drastic, including the world’s end, etc. would happen. And then it didn’t. You mention three alignments with Elenin causing major quakes. I know a website that lists about a dozen. Which is right? (Neither of course!)

          There is not a shred of physical evidence that Elenin is connected to any of these. Countless major quakes have occurred with no alignments of celestial bodies involved. Not that alignments cause quakes in the first place.

          Back in the late 1600s, the American Puritan minister Cotton Mather read the “signs” around him and was convinced the end of times was at hand. He strongly believed in the evils of witchcraft and worked to make sure “witches” were prosecuted and killed, since he considered them agents of the devil and a sign of the end or Final Judgement. Mather went on to predict the “end of times” on four different dates, the first in 1697. I know this is a strong example, but it’s a good one. Mather “connected the dots” in a very unscientific manner and drew conclusions that terrified the residents of Salem, Mass. Here’s one of several lists of apocalypses fervently predicted by their creators that never happened:

          While linking Elenin to earthquakes and the like doesn’t threaten people’s lives, it does cause some great anxiety and fear. That’s why I think it’s irresponsible to promote and encourage bogus claims of impact, brown dwarf collisions, and comet-induced earthquakes. Each of us plays a small part in applying a skeptical eye to such claims. After all, when you go to buy a used car, do you take the word of the seller as gold, or do you look over the car closely and have your mechanic give it a once over? Apply the same mindset to the strange claims floating around on the Internet regarding Elenin, Nibiru, etc. and I think you’ll discover you’re being sold a lemon.

          1. Douglas

            Thanks Bob for your thoughtful response. I am simply wanting to be alert, to be paying attention and prepared as best can be. History is full of examples where there were signs that something was coming economically and politically. Those that acted survived the Nazis, survived the various bank/Wall Street induced financial collapses etc. Looking at the history of lies from the Nuclear Power Industry with accidents I would have immediately left northern Japan if not the country completely after March 11 for instance. The signs were there that they would hide/underplay the seriousness. They did and millions of people, especially children and babies have been and continue to be exposed to debilitating radiation. I am not one to sit by and wait for the Gov to save me. That we should just trust the powers that be to have out best interests in mind would be to ignore history completely. So with that in mind I question the official stories with most anything. Your insights have helped sort through the fog around the web. I just hope like you that we can watch it all happen as an exciting astronomical event, and nothing more. Onward and many thanks.

          2. astrobob

            That’s a good way to approach it, Doug. Thanks for your e-mail. Like you, I hope for a good show. By the way, I’ll be doing a comet update sometime this weekend. Soon the window will close on Elenin’s visibility from the northern hemisphere until the fall.

    1. Levi

      If you don’t believe him then don’t waste time here guy. Go to some website you think you can believe in. Also Astrobob, I’ve seen like 10 websites that all have different orbital diagrams. So which one do you use?

      1. astrobob

        Hi Levi, I use the JPL Small-Body Database Browser ( You might be seeing a variety of diagrams, especially if they’re using the same source as mine, because you can adjust it to view orbits both above and below the solar system plane, spin it around and change dates.

  76. Levi

    Thank you. I was wondering if you could take pictures of the comet when you next see it and post them?

    1. astrobob

      Levi, I have a photo taken just this week that an expert astrophotographer will be sharing. The update will be ready to go for Sunday or Monday latest.

      1. Levi

        So I was having a discussion with a friend of mine and he thinks that if it is a brown dwarf that we could never see it because it wouldnt reflect light. I said that if there was something thats at least the size of Jupiter thats about to cross the orbit of Mars, no matter what it is, that people would be able to notice it. Would I be right in saying that?

        1. astrobob

          You are correct, Levi. Something as big as a brown dwarf at Jupiter’s distance would be easily visible to the naked eye. We’re talking a star that radiates its own light. It wouldn’t be like the sun of course, but at least as bright as Jupiter and likely brighter than the full moon. Even if it gave off no visible light at all (very unlikely), it would reflect sunlight and be easily visible.

  77. Camos

    Hi Astrobob, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read on your blog. It’s good to see another person that is trying to prove Elenin is not a Dwarf or Brown Star and Nibiru. It doesn’t exist! Jeez! I skipped so much of those post out of anger and annoyance that I don’t know if you covered if there is any threat with Comet Levy. It seems to come alarmingly close on 2 diagrams I’ve seen but, on one chart it comes closer than on the other. That is what I find alarming.

    I found a triple comet chart on the site below that they are farther from earth.

    There’s another chart but, it only shows Levy but, it in our satellite field.
    Forgot the link though.
    Which one has the right calculations?

    I also want to know your thoughts on the Shrinking Helioplex or Heliosphere and what’s its connection with our solar system possibly entering some radiation cloud or what and our accelerating Magnetic North Pole headed toward True Geographic North and what it could do if anything and if it could cause a 30 degree tilt in the Earth’s axis causing a Geomagnetic Pole Reversal when the two meet and what it could really do to life on Earth. I’ve been studying the whole 2012 phenomenon for about a decade, managed to sift through the junk science and these three seem to still be haunting me as to if they are true and found these three events and was still wondering if they were true and if they are really happening. I’m kinda worried and want your opinion.

    1. astrobob

      Thank you Camos. There are no threats from either Honda or Levy. At closest, Honda will be over 7 million miles from Earth. Compare that to 240,000 miles for the much larger, much more massive moon. Levy will be 20 million miles away at closest. Both are small bodies like Elenin; their gravitational pull on Earth is miniscule. The important thing to remember in using diagrams is not to take their outward appearance literally. They are not to scale. Always look for or compute the actual distances to find how truly far away things are from each other. The geomagnetic poles have been migrating for millions of years with no obvious effects on humankind except for our compasses. The Earth’s axial tip is stable – the planet’s doing fine. There is no evidence the heliosphere is shrinking or that we’re entering a radiation cloud.

    1. astrobob

      Sorry, I thought I had read that the shrinkage was part of a repeating cycle with the smaller size related to the recent solar minimum. Then again, maybe it WILL continue to shrink. If so, I stand corrected.

  78. figora

    Astrobob, you state the same shallow answer to every question. Not one is definite or specific. Also, you telling people there is no evidence, meaning it cant be true would basically make everything you say untrue, considering you dont state specifics just links. Im trying to learn, but i feel your indirect terrible answers are making people more ignorant, and giving them a sense of false security. Leading them to stop chasing real answer. People need to realize just because you type well and use good sentence fluency doesn’t mean your right.

    1. JennyJo


      I don’t understand how you can say Astrobob gives shallow answers and is not specific, since he explained at length and in detail why the conspiracy theories regarding Elenin and “brown dwarf” Nibiru are incorrect. Anyone who takes the trouble of reading Astrobob’s answers thoughtfully would have to come to this conclusion.

      1. figora

        He gives no more convincing information than the person he is trying to disprove, shallow is a relative term. Relative to what he could tell us, hes not being in depth of specific. He tries to pass off a 900,000 km tail as half a million, hoping nobody will notice?

        1. astrobob

          Figora – I always convert kilometers to miles. 900,000 km = 559,000 miles or a little more than half a million. Keep in mind that the tail length you’re using is only an estimate. It could be longer or shorter. Such is the nature of comets.

  79. Astronewbie

    Astrobob, I calculated the force of earth on Elenin at 10E3 newtons, what is the combined force on the 25th September when the Sun, Mercury and Venus is on the opposite side to Elenin than the earth. What do you think is the Roche limit for Elenin.

    1. astrobob

      Wonderful questions Astronewbie! I honestly don’t know exactly what the combined force would be, but since Elenin is a small body and Mercury and Venus are often on the opposite side of the sun together from Earth, it would be very small. It’s hard to talk about a Roche Limit for Comet Elenin because the term usually applies to moons in orbit about planets or planets in orbit around the sun. If Elenin orbited a planet, the Roche Limit would vary according to the planet’s size and density of the two objects. The Limit is about 2.5 times the planet or star’s radius. If we apply that formula to comets and the sun, you get a Roche Limit of about a million miles. Since comets are more friable and easy to break apart than asteroids, the real limit is closer to 1.5 million miles. If Elenin approached within 1.5 million miles of the sun, the sun’s gravitational or tidal force would break the comet apart. At closest approach, Elenin will much farther than this. The Roche Limit for comets approaching Earth is 21,500 miles. Elenin will be way beyond this limit as well. Asteroids and satellites have much more internal strength than comets and can pass near Earth (or orbit it in the case of satellites) without being disrupted.

  80. Louis

    Astrobob- if there were an award for astronomer who has shown the most patience in answering repeated questions from conspiracy theorists you would win hands down. I appreciate your candor and the professionalism you display on this website. I am however confused as to why you have not blocked user brandon anthony. This person obviously will never get it and is consumed with the idea that we are being lied to by everyone about almost everything in our solar system. It is distracting to your genuine supporters to see these posts, and frankly aggravating to see such ignorance.

    1. astrobob

      Thank you very much Louis for your comment. I have not blocked any users though I do block comments that include name-calling. Thankfully those are few and far between. As for Anthony/Brandon, I’ve explained to him on the side and in the Comments area that I won’t be addressing his Nibiru/Elenin conspiracy finds on the Web anymore since it sidetracks me — and readers like yourself — from the real stuff.

  81. Jasmine

    Thanks for keeping things sane Astrobob! I just read the whole article and all the comments. Phew! Your patience is just as amazing as the topic itself. I’d share a root beer with you if I could. 😀

  82. Eve Clarity

    Hi AstroBob,
    Thank you for all the information you have posted.
    You keep saying that nothing happened when Comet Lexell came close to Earth in 1770. Though Lexell was closest to Earth on July 1, 1770, on January 26, 1770 was the largest subduction zone quake in North America, estimated between 8.5 and 9.2 magnitude called the Cascadia quake. The proximity might not be as important as orientation to earth’s weak points, like the large hole in our magnetosphere called the South Atlantic Anomaly.

    1. astrobob

      You’re welcome Eve. If you seek causes for earthquakes and volcanoes you need look no farther than the Earth itself. Mars also once had active volcanoes and Venus may still.

  83. Consciousgod


    I believe you are dead wrong. Most astronomers were incorrectly taught that comets are balls of ice and dust. Nasa’s research indicates this is not true. Nasa’s flybys show that comets are black rocks with gouges in them caused by plasma discharge. Nasa’s infrared photos show Elenin’s electrical signature. Explain the IR signature that is 17 million miles wide. Elenin appears dark because Elenin’s EM field acts as a cloaking device similar to stealth technology.

    Elenin is a very dangerous comet because it is a long period comet whose tail will blast the Earth with photons. Comets are not balls of ice and dust like Nasa states. Nasa will not release this information because there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it except panic.

    Comets are electric space capacitors. Comets are electromagnetically connected to the sun and planets by EM ropes (JP, 2005). Extreme EM can cause earthquakes. EM energy acts as a lubricant to fault lines. The reason Elenin is causing quakes when others do not is because Elenin has been in deep space a long time gathering electrons and building an enormous electrical field to feed the sun by discharging its capacitance near perigee similar to most comets.

    The difference being that Elenin has pick up extremely more electrons as Elenin flies through space. The longer in space without discharging, the more electricity is stored in the comet. When the comet approaches the sun, it begins to glow because the electric circuit is energized by the sun’s proton wind. The sun provides the positive charge and the stored electrons provide the negative charge to complete an electric circuit. The comet nucleus behaves similar to the filament on a lightbulb when positive and negative wires are attached. The bulb glows.

    Comets do the same thing when the comet discharges its capacitance to the sun and generates a photon tail. The infrared signature for comet Elenin suggest the charge Elenin is carrying is so large that when the comet dumps its capacitance, the resulting photon flare up (comet tail) will engulf the Earth as the Earth passes through the tail. Passing though the tail will ionize all matter on the surface of the earth.

    When Elenin was 14 AUs away on June 14, 2007, Nasa photographed the comet when Nasa took the infrared image for google sky. The infrared image indicates Elenin’s infrared electrical signature is 17 million miles across with xray jets extending over 100 million miles from Elenin. Elenin will flare and dump its capacitance, and when it dumps its energy, the photon blast will be so great that it will instantly turn everything on the earth’s surface to light.

    The reasons other comets are not a threat is that most comets modern man has encountered are not long period comets and do not pass between the earth and the sun putting the earth in the tail. Also, comets with periods of a hundred years or so are able to dump their charge more frequently which keeps the IR signature very low compared to Elenin.

    Elenin is different. There is no other object in space that humans have identified that has an electric signature like Elenin. Not even a star.

    God is light and He is coming for us. You can prepare all you want but why? See you all on the other side.

    1. astrobob

      You’re entitled to your opinion, and certainly we differ, but I must be honest and tell you this is all false. I don’t have time to argue each point, so here are a couple observations. If comets were electrically charged, the half-dozen spacecraft missions to them would have detected it. They didn’t. Also, we are not expected to pass through Elenin’s tail. Comet tails don’t point at Earth necessarily; they simply point away from the sun. Elenin will not only be far away, but it passes north of the sun when it’s lined up with Earth. We will not be in line with it. Even if we were, the worst thing that could happen might be a few meteors. You’ll see that this is true once September and October have come and gone. Cotton candy is like solid rock compared to the tenuous nature of comet tails.

  84. Cheyenne

    Hey Astrobob! People have been saying this is a Neutron Star, but if it was a Neutron star wouldn’t it have a much larger mass than the sun and thus a larger gravitational pull?
    From what i have researched the comet is somewhere in between Jupiter and Mars, there is nothing wrong with them so i definitely side with you on this.

    1. astrobob

      You’re right, a neutron star would have more mass than the sun and be visible to sky watchers everywhere. A neutron star it’s certainly not. Whatever you might hear, Comet Elenin is comet, nothing more or less.

  85. Shaun

    There is a lot of hype out there of what WILL be, what WON’T be, what MIGHT be, etc. I think the topic of Elenin has been sufficiently punished. For all of you that believe there is a danger, that the end of the world is ‘upon us’…stop buying preparations…do you really think having a large food supply is going to help you if we are really facing the end of the world?? Instead, take a vacation with your family. Hell, even invite your best friends. Spend WAY MORE time with your family. Whether Elenin was going to ‘end us’ or not, wouldn’t you rather spend time with your family than worry about all of this and post question after question after question?? I should be spending this time right now with MY family. Instead I am here writing this…only because I am a close friend to someone who is believing all of the end of the world non-sense and, truth be told, had me believing it as well. Until I started doing my own reading. I’ll tell you this, though: because he had me believing it over the last couple months, I’ve taken a number of days off of work just to spend time with my kids. I’ve done more with my kids in the last three weeks than I’d done with them in the previous three months. It’s been a blessing in disguise and I don’t think I’ll stop either. I have so many things planned with them this summer I think I’m gonna be broke!!! HaHa!! I also have much planned for them in the future, next summer, the following, the following, etc…you get the picture. This Elenin nonsense does have its perks, I must say.
    Another suggestion…buy a telescope. A VERY nice 8″ telescope can be had for a thousand bucks or less. Put it on a credit card if you think the world is gonna end…what will it really matter if you’re billions of years late on the payment, right>? I purchased a nice computerized Celestron today for a little over $800. I used to have the very first commercially available, computerized C8 that Celestron produced. I got interested in other things for years and now Elenin has re-sparked that interest in me. I plan to start looking as soon as I can. Astrobob, could you please email me approximate dates when I might be able to see it?? I would greatly appreciate it. I am in Northern Virginia if that helps.
    As far as the cause of all the hype over this particular comet. My opinion would be this: over the last ten years, the use of the internet has grown exponentially, up 480%. There is just as much false information out there as there is good information. I think that if the internet was as broadly used in the times of Halley’s comet, with it passing MUCH closer to the earth than Elenin will, we would have had the same widespread panic and these same discussion sites bantering/bickering back and forth. I challenge ANYONE to disagree with me on that point!!
    So, everyone, do yourself a favor and go put your precious time and energy into things that really matter, things that you CAN make a difference in…and, if you can, figure out how to enjoy one of the MOST spectacular astronomical events that you’ll ever have the privilege of witnessing.

  86. Anthony McDonald

    Whats up with it’s orbit ? I have never seen a comet move in a line and then change to another line and what if this is a brown dwarf ?and also why is the world turning over all broadcasting to the U.S.A. on November 7 for 3 mins ?

    1. astrobob

      Anthony, the comet is moving in a very smooth hyperbolic orbit. The lines you speak of are probably artifacts of the software or the representation of the orbit. The orbit’s fine and other comets have come and gone on hyperbolic orbits like Elenin’s.

  87. John K


    I have to commend you for your admirable patience. I know I don’t have that and respect someone who does.

    Would not a little high school physics go a long way?

    Gravity is an inverse square force, so at perigee and assuming lunar mass the force differential would be about 10,000 times less (distance is ~100x the moons orbit).

    Elenin is nowhere near as massive as the moon. At 4-5km in size (our current best estimates) it’s many thousands of times less massive than the moon. So reduce the gravitational influence by the factor of mass.

    And people genuinely think that at a distance of multiple AUs (say 1000x the lunar orbit) that such a force caused earthquakes?


    1. astrobob

      Thanks John, and I appreciate the particulars you bring to the gravity equation regarding comets.

  88. Jason

    I’m hoping the predictions about the magnitude being about 4 are wrong, I really want this to flare up and become a really bright comet, i cut my comet teeth on Hyakutake and then the following year Hale Bopp and these really whet my appetite for comets, but all the ones i have seen since have been nothing more than faint fuzzy patches, although I enjoyed watching Holmes, that was naked eye but nothing compared to Hyakutake and Hale bopp, some of the photos i took i tried experimenting with putting the camera to the eyepiece of my scope (a 6in Newtonian) and trying to hold it still enough for a few second exposure, i did manage some pics which supprising are not as bad as i expected and its amazing to think at that time it was actually took the suns place as biggest object in our solar system! (no earthquakes or volcanoes then!) Another prediction that i hope si wrong is that we wont pass through the tail, although i trust these orbit predictions so we probably wont, but it would nice to have a new meteor shower to look forward to, maybe it would be even better than the Perseids or Geminids. And If all the doom and gloom followers are right and we get hit by it, at least I could get a specimen to add to my meteorite collection!

    1. astrobob

      Hi Jason, I’m with you in hoping it proves brighter, but even a 4th magnitude comet is a fine sight in binoculars or telescope. It’s out of view now for me – pout, pout – and I won’t get another look at it until a cool October morning.

  89. Jason

    From what i understand its going to be better placed for southern hemisphere observers, looks like i will have to wake up early and see it low down on the horizon, or will it be higher in the sky, I’m sure i read it was going to be lower in the horizon, guess its just a matter of wait and see!

    1. astrobob

      Jason, it will be well placed for the southern hemisphere now through early September. If you live north of about 45 degrees latitude, the comet is now too low in the west to see through a typical amateur telescope but can still be photographed through one — at least for a little while.

      1. astrobob

        Hi William, the reason the comet isn’t on the news and that professional astronomers are paying it little attention is because it poses no threat. All the doomsday stuff regarding Comet Elenin is cooked-up nonsense, created more out of fear and ignorance than based on sound scientific principles and observation.

  90. Jason

    But it will be visible from the northern hemisphere when it rounds the sun right? and will my 15×70 binos pick it out? if it does become visible from the northern hemisphere (I’m in the UK (50 degrees north) will it come high enough for good observation or is it always going to be low, which, as you know picking out faint fuzzies from low on the horizon is tricky! sorry for all the questions, i really want to see this comet! are there any other comets that could become at least binocular targets this year. I really need to get my scope collimated so i can start enjoying it again, I’m so gutted i never had a scope or camera back when Hale Bopp graced our skies, I wonder if i will be lucky enough to see another great comet like that in my lifetime, if i do I’m going to take 1000’s of photos!

  91. John K


    If you do a few more cocktail napkin calculations with respect to volume comparisons the moon’s diameter is > 400x elenin and the volume varies as the cube of the radius or 400^3 which is still 16 million.

    If we assume similar density the gravitational effects are now measured at less than 10^-12 compared to the moon and literally negligible.

    What I don’t have is the density comparison, but even if elenin is an iron-nickel (unlikely based on brightness observations) it won’t chop more than one order of magnitude from the numbers.

    So long as you have a passing knowledge of high school physics and math you can debunk these dooms day scenarios quite easily.

    This is being typed from the passenger seat of my car while on the road, but feel free to check the numbers.

    1. astrobob

      Very nice John. Thanks for the math back-up. Facts like these can help put to rest some of the far-fetched ideas about this comet.

  92. Brian

    Hey Bob. I have a question. What is the coincidence of the Chile earthquake and the Japan earthquake both happened when alignment with the sun, earth and comet Elenin? Could there be something behind the comet? another question is where are you viewing this comet from? I thought it could only be seen from the south pole. and if it is only seen from the south pole how did a Russian amateur see it with only an 8inch telescope back in December? In Russia? What about the New Zeeland alignment too?

    1. astrobob

      Brian, check further back in Comments for my numerous responses to your first question. As for Comet Elinen’s visibility, you might be confusing the “south pole” with the fact that the comet is currently best visible from the southern hemisphere. Prior to this month, I saw it five times from my observing site. Other amateurs and astrophotographers across the U.S., Europe and elsewhere saw and photographed it over the past few months. If someone told you it was only visible from the south pole, that is incorrect. Leonid Elenin discovered the comet “remotely” using a telescope in New Mexico via computer. Remote telescopes are becoming quite popular these days. I tried one myself and took a nice picture of the Andromeda Galaxy using a scope in New Mexico while sitting at my computer here at home. Take a look at:

  93. Brian

    One more question Bob. How much is NASA paying you to keep Nibiru hush and us fooled? LOL Just playing 😀

  94. Brent

    I just happened upon your postings today, and wanted to say how impressed I am by your infinite patience and respect to readers when answering their questions. I appreciate your sense of humor as well as your dedication to science. To convey information in this manner is an enviable skill. Thank you for your effort!

  95. d. worthington

    Mr. King,

    I’ve read only a few of the most recent posts. As a “physics guy” lol, I agree that this thing coming in is undoubtedly a comet – nothing more, and as such, its effects on the planet will be so small as to be unmeasurable, which is the same thing as non-existent (although as measurement techniques improve, things “begin to exist” that “never existed before,” so to speak). At the same time, your arguments against it affecting the earth are somewhat over-simplified. First of all, “size” is completely independent of mass. Supposing for a moment that the object is a neutron star, then its size/mass ratio would mean that its gravitational effects would be enormous – certainly enough to perturb every body in the solar system, but of course it would also be fantastically bright, particularly in the X-Ray spectrum. Likewise, were it a black hole, it would be completely undetectable except by its gravitational effects, which again would be enormous. My point is that something the apparent “size” of Comet C/2010 X1 could potentially be MUCH more massive than an “rocky-icy snowball.” In fact, a brown dwarf, with a temperature of around 1500 degrees C could fill that bill, although again, gravitational effects would be noticeable on other bodies well before now.

    Second, supposing again the object were massive enough to seriously affect the earth, then having earthquakes along fault lines would STILL be expected, as they are the weakest points in the plate techtonic system – so having earthquakes along fault lines is no argument WHATSOEVER either for or against (an) earthquake being triggered by celestial event(s) or strictly due to internal earth processes.

    But undoubtedly, you’re correct in your assertion that this is just a comet.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Donald, thanks for your comments on the comet. Size is indeed independent of mass with neutron stars being the perfect example. Since Elenin is clearly a comet, and comets to the best of our knowledge are small solar system bodies, my argument all along has been that Elenin – even if a large comet – would affect Earth in only the most miniscule way. When it comes to most if not all comets, apparent size does not matter when it comes to causing measurable effects on Earth. Once you hypothetically bring neutron stars and brown dwarfs into the solar system, everything changes. Now you’re talking about real gravitational effects that could affect planet, comet and asteroid orbits.
      You wrote that massive bodies like a neutron star could cause earthquakes along fault lines. While it seems logical on one level, I’m curious if there have been any scientific studies showing this to be so. Scientists are still up in the air as to whether the moon — so close and massive — can cause earthquakes. Some think ‘maybe’ and others think there’s no connection at all.

      1. d.worthington

        Interesting point – the moon, being so out-sized for typical moons of small, rocky planets (as best we know), and in such close proximity to the earth, certainly has the greatest effect on the gravitational tides of the earth. And yet, there does seem to be some accumulating evidence that the combination of the moon phase plus exceptionally high oceanic tides has some influence on the timing of earthquakes, particularly where the subduction zone runs underwater, as in the Pacific plate. But would that be the moon alone, or the moon plus the weight of the water, or are the two even separable?

        Either way, it’s beginning to seem to be gravity correlated, and so an approaching large gravitational mass could have such an effect as well. I might speculate however, that while the combination of the moon plus the tide would be (is) a localized effect – good for only one locale (at a time) that was “ready to go” anyway, the effect of a large clestial mass might be more general (being vectored in a direction “unfamiliar” to the earth, while the earth spins “underneath” it), and so, rather than just one or a series of “punctuated” earthquakes over days, weeks or months, it might engender earthquake swarms, or many earthquakes happening more or less constantly during a period of closest approach to the earth. Thus, it would still appear unlikely that a single earthquake, no matter how “coincidental” it might seem, would be the result of such an object.

        Thanks for the considered response. It’s sometimes very easy to overlook the obvious, and you’re helping everyone keep their perspective.

        1. astrobob

          Certainly a good topic for discussion, Donald. Hopefully there will be more research done in this area someday.

  96. Clinton

    Dear Astro Bob,

    First of all, I just wanted to say that I appreciate how easy mannered and calm you remain as these people bombard you with their ill informed quips and questioning about something they just do not understand. The thread is listed as “comet elenin will not destroy the earth”, yet people continue to ask questions unrelated to the thread at hand. They continuously antagonize you as well as other posters with negative comments regarding false propaganda that any five year old can google on the internet. The internet is just as informative as it is misleading, and that is what some individuals tend to forget. To make it worse, the people in your forum use incorrect spelling in a comment box that has an auto-correct feature as well as their usage of “cell phone” grammar such as lol, u, thx, etc.

    This thread is about comet elenin. Not niburu, planet X, ancient Mayan prophecies and end of the world folklore. Yet, it is hard to turn aside all of the talk surrounding 2012 so I can understand the general public’s concern. Do not forget that it is only speculation and not definitive! Astro Bob however, does not have the answers to the questions that some of you seek. He has answered all questions to the best of his knowledge pertaining to elenin. Which is after all what this thread is all about. I commend you (Astro Bob) for trying to educated these pointed out individuals who continue to scare others in the same manner that they themselves have been scared.

    I was reading all of the comments in this thread and came across a post where a woman that feared for the lives of her three children. Obviously she has read the passages and websites spreading fear and uneducated guesses about when this World will end. Do none of you find this as appalling as I do? You are only spreading the dark rumors and ignorance that got you frightened in the first place! There is no reason for a parent to worry for their kid’s safety simply because of documents on the internet and in the media.

    I do not know any of you and therefore I cannot judge you. Everything in this World comes down to education and opinions and some of you clearly let the latter control your motives.

    Now that I am done with my rant directed towards specific individuals that plagued this thread, I would like thank Astro Bob for his dedication to the people that are actually interested in astronomy!

    To the woman genuinely scared for her children as well as the other people who are worried over 2012:
    There are many things in this vast universe that we do not understand. Even this planet we live on is a mystery and it always presents a new question as to “how or why”. The beauty that is life surrounds us and is everywhere. The only thing you can do as a human being is to appreciate the things around you and the people you love.
    After all, there is some truth to 2012 and that is the fact that you will all die…eventually. We all will, just live your life and stop living in fear, the year will pass the same way previous years had. Enjoy it, you won’t be here forever.

    I wish you all the best. And should a catastrophic event actually happen on this Earth while we are alive…I hope that as humans, we put aside all our differences. I hope we can look past race, color, religion, and genetic appearances and just embrace each other for who we are. Because I for one, don’t want to be a chapter in a history book thousands of years from now that details a civilization so full of hatred and racism that we are only allotted four pages for the kids to skim over.

    Approach new ideas with an open mind and just because you read it on the internet does not make it a fact. Thank you. And thanks to Astro Bob for an interesting and informative website.
    Also, I am not a spiritual nut or someone trying to spread religion. I am just a 22-year old male from Pittsburgh, PA, that attends school off and on as a pre-medicine student whilst working full time.

  97. Valentino

    Hello there and thanks for your views on elenin you have some very valid points. Have you heard about the other two comets coming our way? Honda and Levy? Also on 9/26/11 the Sun, Elenin and Earth align, will we see any form of solar eclipse? Also what are your thoughts on Operation Eagle Horizon the FEMA excercise carried out recently?

    1. astrobob

      Thanks Valentino. Yes, Comets Levy and Comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will also be in Earth’s neighborhood – next January for the former and this August for the latter. I just wrote a bit up on them yesterday in Comments section yesterday. Scroll down if you’d like to check it out. Comet Elenin will not line up exactly with Earth and the sun in late September. Rather, the comet will pass about 2 degrees (four full moon diameters) north of the sun at closest. Even if there was an exact lineup, based on its approximate diameter, it would be far too small to cause an eclipse. Even if we were to increase Elenin’s estimated diameter fivefold to say, 20 miles, it would be a mere speck against the sun. Let’s say you took the moon, which has a diameter of 2,160 miles, and placed it 36.7 million miles from Earth. It would be measure just 0.2 arc minute across or about the size of a small sunspot – to see it, you’d need a telescope.

  98. Casual User

    Wouldn’t it be really easy to place a few links in this showing several pictures? Surely there have been a ton of them taken given the vast interest that NASA reported in terms of received emails asking questions about it. I’d have thought you could have expected a few hundred of them now circulating around the web, and easily archivable in one place to eliminate any more fear mongering. I’ve seen several references of pictures coming as well on this forum thread, last one being June 24th with Sunday/Monday expectation. Maybe I have missed them?

    1. astrobob

      CasualUser, this is an excellent idea! I will be happy to provide a couple links from regular comet photographers in my next blog on comets, which I’ve been preparing for the past couple days. I plan to post it this weekend. Be aware though that Elenin is thus far an unexceptional comet that few professionals would bother with. It’s mostly amateur astronomers who are photographing it and not many of them at that, because it’s faint and requires good equipment. That’s why you won’t find a large number of Elenin photos at present. Remember too that the comet is no longer visible at typical European and northern U.S. latitudes. Once October rolls around and the comet brightens and becomes visible again in a dark sky, the number of images available will increase dramatically.

  99. TeeSstanz

    Can you link me the size and weight of the comet? Can’t find it anywhere. And if your going to send me to NASA I would also like one other creditable source.


  100. Edge3323

    I have to commend you on your unwavering tolerence to repetitive questions and ones that have nothing to do with astronomy at all. People on this site need to realize that you are a man of science and not a psychic. It seems that a lot of these posts are directed towards getting a comforting answer. If something was to somehow affect the earth there is nothing we can do about it so might as well sit back and enjoy the show. With that being said, I would like to ask a question. You have been watching this comet for some time now. I have no doubt it is a comet. I have seen a steroscopic image though that indicates 5 other objects with or near it, and possibly a large dark object trailing behind. So in your observation, have you noticed anything like this? Interesting possibility. I would like to know your opinion.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Edge, thanks for your note. The supposed ‘dark objects’, etc. are pure guesswork and speculation. I’ve seen the youtube videos and am amazed at the conclusions people jump to based on dark pixels/poor resolution in their digital cameras. But to get back to your question: I’ve seen a fair number of Elenin photos and no dark objects are visible near the comet in any of the pictures. No other amateur comet hunters-astrophotographers on the several comet lists I’m a member of have reported anything either. Check out the links in today’s blog and see for yourself. You’ll notice that in each image, the background stars change because the comet is moving in its orbit. If something was accompanying the comet, it would move along with it from date to date. Clearly, nothing is.

      1. astrobob

        Pepper, the main reason Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was so famous and we heard so much about it was because it was predicted to hit the planet Jupiter – a prediction that was dead-on accurate. That’s a big deal! It was the first time a comet was predicted and then observed to strike another planet.

        Comet Hale-Bopp was unusual because it was bright and active even though VERY FAR from the Earth and sun at the time of discovery. If a comet is bright when seen at a great distance, chances are good that when near Earth, it will be unusually bright. Although comets can be unpredictable, Hale-Bopp did not disappoint. It became a beautiful spectacle in the evening sky in spring, visible to millions of people and deserving of all the attention it got.

        Now maybe that will happen with Elenin — we’ll just have to see — but the forecast, based upon its orbit and brightness curve, is quite different than that for Hale-Bopp. The other comets you mention will pass Earth at healthy distances. I addressed them just the other day in Comments. Scroll back to see the details.

        Just FYI — data on all observable comets is provided by NASA through JPL’s Horizons website. You’ll also find orbital elements to plot comet positions in star charting programs at the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center (

  101. JJ

    I’ve read most of the postings on this site and have to speak from my gut/intuition/and years and years of research on the matters around this issue. There are a few on here who I feel have hit the nail on the head and most just want to believe your “expert advice” and I certainly do not blame them. My intuition tells me there is an agenda at foot. There are comments and evasions that show me that you are carefully and steadily spinning a dissinformation campaign.

    1. astrobob

      JJ, just so we’re clear here. My purpose in writing the blog, which includes occasional updates on Comet Elenin, is to share the best scientific information and observations available on topics I hope are of interest. I’m not a mouthpiece, nor do I have an agenda. I’m a long-time amateur astronomer who loves the sky. Blogging is one way to share it. Keep looking up!

  102. Valentino

    Its also worth noting that also on that date (9-11-11) we are in alignment with Venus, Mercury and Elenin and passing behind its tail too.So all this whilst having an asteroid 2005 YU55 coming closer to our planet than Elenin will there be no effect on earth at all?

    1. astrobob

      Valentino, there will be no measurable effects on Earth. In any case, Venus and Mercury don’t line up with Earth on that date and the asteroid won’t get particularly close until November. Elenin does not line up between Earth and sun but passes ~2 degrees due north of the sun on Sept. 26. Even if everything did “align”, these lineups, which happen repeatedly over spans of many years, do not produce measurable effects on Earth.

      Planets, asteroids and comets lining up with Earth are common occurrences, since we’re all orbiting around the sun. Picture a footrace with the runners running at different speeds on a concentric racetrack. Sooner or later, they lap one another or several might line up all together for a brief period of time. There’s nothing unusual about “alignments”. Since they’re so common, you can always point to some solar system body (there are A LOT of them) that happened to be in line with the Earth when an event happened here on our planet. The pseudoscience starts when some people claim that the lineup actually CAUSED the event. Now that’s quite a leap! That’s like me telling you my happy mood caused the clouds to part and the sun to shine today. You might laugh, but the two employ similar magical thinking.

  103. alex

    did anyone else take the time to look up haleys comet in 1910. 15,000,000 miles away from earth (as oposed to 23,000,000) miles, and we did pass through its tail.. still nothing happend obviously.

  104. jessie leigh

    Bob, I’ve hear things about three days of darkness about Elenin. I know i shouldnt worry but people wont stop talking about how Elenin will block out the sun and it will be totally dark for three days! Please explain this to me?!

    1. astrobob

      Jessie, this is false and physically impossible. There’s no reason to believe anything like this will or could happen with Elenin.

      1. Alex

        correct me if im wrong but i read that halleys comet coma was 15 times the size of the sun, came 15million miles away from the earth, passed between the earth and the sun in 1910 and still did not block out sun as opposed to elenin around 100,000km coma at 23million miles away from earth… you can know what to expect just by researching the 1910 passing of haleys comet, in my opinion i only think this is getting so much attention because of how close it is to the 2012 date that people have already been ranting about for a couple of years now. mass panic is called mass panic becasue it is not caused by anything logical 🙂

  105. Alex

    Bob, do you know the distance of elenin from earth as of 07/12/2011 i cant find anything newer than end of april. and during its closest point to earth will it be visible from central florida. thanks 🙂

    1. astrobob

      Hi Alex, as of July 12, Comet Elenin is 1.7 A.U.s or 158.1 million miles from Earth. When it reappears in the morning sky in October, you’ll see it fine from Florida assuming it brightens as predicted. Current predictions put it around 6th magnitude … great for binoculars, tough for naked eye viewing.

  106. jeremy6

    What if the object is a moon circling a brown dwarf and everyone is right in their own way? Better yet what if it is a satellite knocked back towards earth by aliens?
    So I don’t panic, can you clear up these questions for me in a scientific manner?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Jeremy, please read through the Comments for how I’ve addressed these questions. To sum it up, it can’t be everything to everybody unless wishful thinking counts for science. There’s no scientific evidence that Comet Elenin is anything other than an ordinary comet. It’s following its predicted orbit and appears both visually and in photographs as a comet. A star or moon would appear entirely different and be so fantastic an event that every astronomer – not to mention every newspaper and TV station – would be covering it. As you can see, that is not happening, because thankfully, most media realize that the claims about the comet have no backing.

  107. Alex

    Hey bob this may seem off top or kind of dumb to you but i was wondering, what is the difference between a professional astronomer (Like the ones who work for nasa) and an amateur astronomer.. is it knowledge or job status

    1. astrobob

      Alex, not dumb at all! Professional astronomers usually have PhDs and work for institutions like universities, observatories, NASA and the like. They’re often involved in research. Amateurs do astronomy for the love of it and can be at any educational level. And of course, we’re not paid for our work. That doesn’t mean amateurs don’t contribute. There are all kinds of ways amateurs help professionals or spread the pleasures of astronomy with the public. I’m involved as a variable star observer in the AAVSO (American Assn. of Variable Star Observers). The data I and the other members of the AAVSO gather is ultimately used by professionals in their studies of these stars.

      1. astrobob

        Alex, this is probably an overexposed picture of either the sun or moon. The vertical bar is a digital artifact that often appears in overexposed pictures of brilliant objects. I’ve seen dozens of photos of the sun and moon like this since the early days of digital. For that matter, it might also be an overexposed streetlight.

  108. La

    hey bob i was reading on nibiru to find that its origins in babylonian astronomy, nibiru starts as a term of the highest point of the ecliptic, i.e. the point of summer solstice

    is it really possible that something can start out like that and transfer into the rumors of nibiru being a planet?

  109. Drummerboy

    Dear Astrobob.

    I will start by saying thank you. In the past few years I have noticed I get a real rush when I start reading topics on the “end of the world”. Sadly it is not the enjoyable rush, but more of a stomach drop, heart ponding, very upsetting feeling. It causes me to do more research and that just leads to very disturbing articles of people trying to prove why the end of the world is near. I never use to be this way ,but with the recent death of my father the thought of dying really terrifies me. I have spent all day reading the posts on this page, and I am amazed at the professionalism and pure down to earth responses you have made to people. It has been along time since I have been able to look at my surroundings and be completely amazed at this beautiful place we have the privilege to call home and to look at the sky to ponder at the amazement of the universe. I don’t know if I will ever get over the stomach dropping feel I get when I hear or read the “end of the world” is near ,but coming to this site and going to your blog site has made this is one day I feel at ease and calm rather then panicky. Thank you for your passion and being able to share that with us.

    PS. sorry if this is hard to read, I’m traveling and this is done on my phone.

    1. astrobob

      Dear Andrew, yours is such a nice letter, it really touched me. Thank you for writing and I’m sorry to hear about your father. My father also recently passed away and it still stings. As you probably already know, we all still carry on a dialog with the people we love who have gone on. “End of the world” talk has been around a long, long time. That’s why I never fear it. Granted, tragedies and disasters beyond our control have and will again eventually happen. What to do? Get to know and love the world and its creatures.

  110. alex

    Bob, first of all sorry if this is wrong forum site for this topic.. but do comets change drastically in courses? If not why would people freak about honda and levy which are short period comets that has passed by us many times before.. like i said sry if wrong topic but i love your knowledge

    1. astrobob

      Alex, if a comet happens to pass close to Jupiter, the solar system’s gravitational heavyweight, its orbit can be changed drastically. Sometimes the comet is ejected from the solar system; other times it’s sent into an orbit that brings it closer to Earth.

        1. astrobob

          Comets Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova and Levy was last affected by Jupiter in a small way in March 1983 when a relatively near encounter with the planet caused the comet’s closest distance to the sun (perihelion) to decrease slightly and its orbital period to increase from 5.28 to 5.30 years. It will next be affected by Jupiter in August 2030, when its perihelion will be increased slightly as well as its orbital period. I can’t get my hands yet on data for Comet Levy to see if it too was or will be affected by a nearby pass of Jupiter. In the near term certainly, these comets will be well behaved.

  111. TeeSstanz

    It seems you missed my first question.. maybe you already answered it. There’s to many for me to go through. Another question, could you please explain how something so small can end up on such a long orbit around our sun?

    Also I’ll repeat my first question. Can you please link me to the size and weight of the Comet(just to know if I can see it with my naked eye). If the link is to NASA please provide another creditable source.

    Thanks, Tyler

    1. astrobob

      Hi Tyler, small objects orbit just as comfortably around the sun as large. Consider all the asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, not to forget periodic comets like Hartley 2, which is just 1 mile in diameter. Each one is in its own orbit. There are also countless asteroids (and comets) beyond Neptune in the Kuiper Belt that have even longer, larger orbits. No one knows the exact size and weight of Comet Elenin. To be precise, we’d have to send a spacecraft there to measure it. Based on its appearance and light curve, it’s estimated to be several miles across. That estimate comes from NASA’s Donald Yeomans. As for seeing the comet, it won’t be visible in small telescopes until August soonest, and then only from the southern hemisphere. Most observers will probably first see it when it returns to the dawn sky in early October. At that time it will probably be visible in binoculars and possibly with the naked eye. For more info on what to expect, please check out my more recent blog on the comet at

  112. teesstanz

    Bob, thank you very much for the time to answer. I always have taken an interest in the sky. I guess it would make more sense that something small could go further out and come back opposed to something large. On the other side of this post, I don’t approve of the fear factory that pump out lots of nonsense. But I also don’t everything fine propaganda. I don’t know much about Mayan calenders, but I feel like ancients culture had a respect for the world and the universe that we’ve lost. You have to remember that the earth is living and breathing just like you and I.. and we’re on its back cutting off its arms and legs. I bet that if it comes to(where I think its realitive close to)us killing the earth, or the earth killing us we would be out of luck. I guess what im trying to say is don’t sell everything you own, but don’t think its fine to destroy the miracle we walk on and breath into our lungs.


  113. alex

    bob i was looking up that 2nd sun appearance and what i found was that was a giant solar flare on march 3rd that launched a fireball out of the side of the sun.. seeing how solar maximum is 2011-2012 . my question is, is it possible that the flare disrupted our magnetosphere causing the march earthquake in japan? idk what kind of effects solar storms could have on our weather short of power loss , thanks for answering 🙂

    1. astrobob

      Alex, While a large flare did occur on March 3, that’s not a photo of it. That photo is clearly the overexposed sun or moon. You can see a line a trees in the foreground at bottom. Solar maximum won’t occur until 2013 by the way. And no, the March 3 flare is not connected to the quake.

  114. Joyce

    I realize that this isn’t the correct forum to ask about this but I find
    you a voice of reason. Too many conspiracy and doomsday sites out there
    that create panic and fear.

    On August 16th from what my eyes show me 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova and earth
    appear to show as one. Does this comet make contact with earth or is it just
    one heck of a close shave so to say. If you look at this;orb=1
    diagram it does appear to impact. Am I looking at this wrongly or is it?

    Thanks for your comments and insights, Bob!

    1. astrobob

      No problem, Joyce. Thanks for asking. They sure do look close, but remember, the diagram attempts to squeeze enormous distances into a tiny square you can read on your computer. Everything looks close! In actuality, the closest Comet 45P will approach the Earth is 5.6 million miles on August 15. That’s 23 times the distance of the moon.

  115. Alex

    hey bob, i was wondering did other comets in the past like halleys or hale-bop bring on conspiracy theorists and doomsayers like elenin today? I googled it but couldn’t find any

    1. astrobob

      Alex, before people understood what comets were and how they followed orbits around the sun like the planets, they were generally seen as bad omens or signs of doom. Yes, there were doomsayers for Halley’s Comet in 1910, because the Earth was predicted to pass through its tail. People sold ‘Comet Pills’ and gas masks to ward against poisonous gases. We did pass through the tail and were none the worse for the wear. As for Hale-Bopp, yes, there was a religious group called Heaven’s Gate (Google it) that believed an alien spaceship was trailing the comet. Their leader convinced 38 members to kill themselves so their souls could board the craft. They and their leader committed suicide based on this pathological hope and the bodies were found some time later. In the case of Halley’s Comet, the amount of gas and dust from the tail was so minute, there was nothing to fear. As I’ve said before, comet tails have very little material in them, though they do glow nicely in sunlight. And of course there was no spaceship following Hale-Bopp. The deaths are a sad warning to all who might be sucked into the current round of doomsday talk surrounding Comet Elenin.

  116. Louis

    Dr. Bob (I have conferred an honorary title upon you) thank you again for being a strong voice of reason and a constant source of credible information on the web. Recently I have seen many stories on a solar storm warning and interstellar energy cloud that is being reported to have potential impact on our planet in dare I say it- 2012. I wonder if you have any opinion or information on this suggested event.

    As always- thank you for your time.

    1. astrobob

      Thanks for the honor! Louis, this interstellar cloud thing looks like a grain of truth that’s been exaggerated into a mountain of nonsense. It appears to be based on several sources:

      1. A December 2009 NASA story about how the two Voyager probes discovered an interstellar cloud beyond the sun’s sphere of influence that’s held together by a strong magnetic field. (see below for details. Full article here:

      2. A dated story (2006) when a few scientists predicted a higher than normal solar maximum. Based on what we learned during the recent protracted solar minimum, the forecast has been completely revised. Solar scientists now predict a “below average” maximum in May 2013 (see

      3. A recent NASA story about how large solar flares pose more hazards now than in pre-Industrial Revolution times. No surprise there, since flares can affect the sensitive electronics in the satellites we depend on for so much of our communications as well as global positioning. Powerful flares also can overload inadequately protected power grids, but that’s old news. (see full article here:

      Combine and distort the three, and you’ve got all the ingredients to run a well-oiled doomsday machine.

      As for the menacing cloud – sounds like a Star Trek episode – the only links on the Web that discuss this are doomsday sites and links to a Russian geology professor, Dr. Alexey Demetriev, who published a paper on a related topic in 1997. The work is fat on speculation and thin on scientific proof with lots of metaphysical thoughts about planet-wide evolution.

      The sun’s magnetic field, while not a solid suite of armor, does shield us from all kinds of galactic cosmic rays and interstellar clouds. It’s possible that this cloud might compress the sun’s protective magnetic bubble more than expected, in which case we might expect an increase in cosmic rays. That will likely affect astronauts on space missions rather than events on Earth. The NASA articles does make a passing reference to possible climate change. They were probably referring to studies that show a correlation (not yet proved) between cosmic rays and low-altitude cloud formation. Studies on this are ongoing. Somehow all this morphed into CATASTROPHIC climate change on the various doomsday sites.

      It seems the fear-mongerers set can hardly find enough objects to put Earth out of its misery: Comet Elenin, interstellar clouds, non-existent brown dwarf stars, shifting magnetic poles, super-sized solar flares, electrostatic charges in space — step right up and take your pick — only a dollar!

  117. Orkun

    Hello Dr. Bob,
    I am reading about 1 hour many of the question and your answers, before I found this blog i was scared of Elenin(I found out about it yesterday and researched the internet for 3 hours and found ot lots of theories). I really Thank you for letting me relax, but still I have some questions i hope you can answer.
    I saw lots of pictures and videos, and i saw a picture of the Orbit of Elenin and I just wanted to know, can they be 100% sure that the orbit is correct and Elenin wont be nearer to us then mentioned? I think it was about 0.213 AU.
    Also i saw a 3d Picture and there i saw that Elenin isnt crossing our Orbit directly, it rather is above our orbit, is that correct?
    The reason why I was affected by this Elenin thing is that i am just 18 years old and had so many aims ^.^. When i found it out yesterday i was just shocked a little.
    I really hope that you answer my questions and thank you already.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Orkun, when a comet is discovered, an early orbit is determined from the first observations. When more positional measurement come in, the orbit is refined. Elenin has been under observation now for many months, and its present orbit is a sure thing at least in the near term. Should Comet Elenin pass near Jupiter sometime in the future, it could have its orbit changed. Non-gravitational forces like outgassing and jetting can affect a comet’s orbit over the long term as well. For now, Elenin’s on track and not likely to deviate. As a measure of how accurate its orbit is, I was able to find the comet through my telescope on 4 or 5 occasions during May and June exactly where it was predicted to be. If it were to deviate for whatever reason, I would update my blog with that information.

  118. Orkun

    Ok Thanks a lot, so how i get it, the future you mean is in some thousand years, since i read that Elenins orbit takes some thousand years to rotate?
    And sorry for posting twice, how i said my laptop just crashed and i couldnt see my previous comment.

    1. astrobob

      No problem, Orkun. For some comets, Jupiter makes changes in their orbits every couple of decades. Since Elenin’s orbital period measures in the thousands of years, after it passes by Earth and departs for the outer solar system in October, any changes that might occur will take a long, long time for us to see.

  119. CelticDrog

    Good man, astrobob!

    Have read through the whole thread here (taken a wee bit of time, mind you) and I have to say you’re a man of some serious patience – I take my hat off to you!

    Have been very interested in our skies and space…ancient “legend and myth” for many years now – find it all fascinating and extremely intriguing. You’re doin’ great work here explaining to the “informed and uninformed” to the best of your knowledge what you believe is unfolding in our skies – not an easy job I’ll wager – especially since you aren’t being paid. I can see you have an awful lot of passion for this subject and have been involved in it for some years now. Many thanks for all your work here and teaching the “uninformed” – includes me here – a thing or two about these objects in space that hurtle themselves around our solar system and way, way beyond – defies our imagination at times – in a very concise and constructive manner for the layman. You and I know of course that our knowledge is limited to the times we live in and to the instruments we have at our disposal to observe these heavenly bodies…as the old adage goes: the more we know, the more we know we don’t know.

    Keep up the great work my friend! – and keep your eye on the skies!

    1. astrobob

      Thank you Celtic for your kind words and additional comments. As J.B.S. Haldane once said: “The universe is not only weirder than we think, it is weirder than we can think.”

  120. Rez

    Bob, Is there any way we can start looking at things in the “every thing is connected” mentality? You are responding to people spanning across the globe by way of a circuitry. Saying one end has nothing to do with another is incredibly ludicrous! Please look at the synchronicity over the last few hundred years with the passing of comets and geological activity, in particular the great comets of 1811 and 1883. To say there isn’t a connection is either disingenuous, elitist, arrogant, or simply a misinfo campaign.

    Krakatoa in 1883 and the passing of the great comet. The great comet of 1811-1812 and the New Madrid quakes that caused the Mississippi River to run backward. These are but a mere few of the many so called coincidences of geologic activity and the passing of comets as you have assured your readers. There is further evidence into meteorologic disaster associated with the passing of comets, this to I’m sure falls into the realm of soothsaying as well. Pay no mind to all the natural disasters occurring around the planet the have nothing to do with this comet not to mention the other one in proximity to us.

    I am not saying this is the end of all things, and that this comet is the harbinger of doom, but to sit here and come across that all is well and act as you have nothing to fear is completely absurd. To be quite frank it is DANGEROUS to those who might be in harms way! Ask the radiated island of japan!

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    1. astrobob

      Rez, as I’ve written on several occasions in the Comments section, there’s no scientific proof and no known physical mechanism that connect comets to earthquakes and volcanic explosions on Earth. Until there is rigorous science behind such fringe claims, I’m not going to “connect everything” because it feels right or because something in the vast spaces of the solar system happened in roughly the same time frame as something down here on Earth. I’m simply amazed that those who insist that comets instigate earthquakes ignore the basic fact that Earth is an active planet with tectonic plates in motion and numerous fault zones, where earthquakes are common. It’s part of what makes Earth Earth. There are also volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io, possibly Venus and geyser-like sprays of water vapor on Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Volcanoes are a natural feature found on a variety of worlds. Consider too the scientific fact that the gravitational influence of comets on Earth is exceedingly small — barely measurable. Do the calculations yourself and you’ll see.

      There’s critical thinking and there’s magical thinking. Science arrives at answers (or a best current explanation) and makes predictions about the world based on the former. The jet engine, telescope, artificial heart, TV, global positioning satellites and all the rest came about through creative thinking, careful and repeated testing and hard work, not out-of-pocket, unverified speculation. While what happened in Japan was tragic, its cause was earthly, and in the case of radioactivity, human.

      Regarding facts, you overlooked that the Great Comet of 1882 (not 1883) was long past Earth and invisible to astronomers when Krakatoa erupted in late August 1883. Likewise, the Great Comet of 1811 had already passed closest to Earth and sun earlier that year and was faint and far when last observed in August 1811, four months before the first of the New Madrid quakes. Where were all the tsunamis and earthquakes when Comet Halley appeared in 1910? Or the Great Comet of 1910, Comet Arend-Roland (1957), Comet Mrkos (1957), Ikeya-Seki (1965), Comet West (1976), Comet Bennett (1970), IRAS-Araki-Alcock (Not exceptionally bright but passing only 3 million miles from Earth in 1983 – the 3rd closest ever observed.), Hale-Bopp in 1997 and Comet McNaught in 2007, which became the brightest comet in 30 years? And these are just some of the standouts. Several hundred or more comets were visible with the naked eye and telescope in the past 100 years. Scientists and amateurs using data from the SOHO space observatory discovered an additional 2000 comets comets between 1995 and 2010. There are so many comets out there, you can find one for any event good or bad on the planet or moon of your choosing.

      When I write about Comet Elenin, it’s to share all the information I have to keep readers current on what the comet’s doing. You’re right in one regard — we don’t have explanations for everything. This is indeed a strange and interesting universe, and we’re only beginning to understand it, but it’s irresponsible to make untested claims that inspire fear in people who lack the knowledge to know better.

  121. Red Rooster

    Hi, Astrobob,

    Very well informed information presented here. Clearly you give room to the sceptics, and answer clearly.

    While some question whether Elenin is an ELE, certainly Fukushima is. With the large amounts of plutonium being released into the atmosphere and ocean, my research shows we’ll all be pretty much finished within two generations. There won’t be a third.

    So if we live past Elenin, everyone under 50 will die a slow death of radiation induced cancers. Kind of puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

    I wish you, your family, and all who read your site peace and love.

  122. ashely

    Dear Bob,
    I love your blog and check it daily it really is nice to see someone useing his gift of knowlege for good insted of spreading fear amongst those who do not know any better. I do have a question regarding Comet Elenin with the rescent discovery of Trojan asteroid named 2010 TK7 and it being pinpoited ahead of earths orbist at 80 Million Km however this distance can vary to as close as 34 Million Km. Now with comet Elenin to pass 34 Million Km ahead of earth is there a chance of collision here? Thanks again for all your information.

    1. astrobob

      Very nice of you to say, Ashley. Thank you. No chance of a collision between the new Trojan asteroid and Comet Elenin. When the comet’s closest on Oct. 16, it will be about 21 million miles from Earth. On that same day, 2010 TK7 will be 34.4 million miles away and located in a completely different part of the sky far from the comet. We’re good!

  123. Kelsie

    Hi Bob!

    I have read through the majority of this thread and I too would like to thank you for your patience and educated responses in full detail. you have given me so much peace of mind and for that I am thankful! my only question for you would be about the supposedd prophecies of 3 days of darkness from when’s the comet will pass between us and the sun what do you have to say about this? and I also would like to apologize for how confusing this maybe as I am typing on my phone.

    1. astrobob

      Thanks Kelsie. First off, Comet Elenin will not pass in front of the sun from Earth’s perspective. At closest, it will be about 2 degrees north of the sun and miss it completely. Even if it did, the comet would be much too small to see in just about any telescope. It’s possible that the space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory might be able to spot it. One of the great comets of the 19th century – I forget which at the moment – was observed right up to the sun’s disk. Then when it crossed over the sun’s face, it was completely invisible to the eye and telescopes of the time.

      1. Kelsie

        Makes perfect sense to me! Just wanted to make sure no part of this subject wasn’t covered… Again, thank you for being such a professional and having such a nice tone in your replies.

  124. matt

    and oh smart one what do you got to say about triton’s surface melting and forming a methane atmosphere, and lets not forget mars polar ice cap meting. something is really wrong out there and it is big trouble, so get to work and start saving lives.

    1. astrobob

      No need to be snippy, Matt. I think it’s totally cool that other moons and planets have climate cycles just like Earth does. For the record, the ice on both Triton and Mars does not ‘melt’ but rather sublimates or vaporizes, going directly from a solid to a gas. The reason for these changes is seasonal. Mars’ caps mostly disappear in the Martian summer and reform in the winter months when the temperature drops.

  125. Mr. AstroBob,
    I have to say it’s not often I read threads but well done Sir on your tact, professionalism and patience. Your responces are well written, educational and unlike most of the rubbish I read out there you have science and substance to back what you write.

    I’m sure if there is a space ship trailing Elenin, them there little green guys will be looking to recruit you…to infinity and beyond!!

    I will revisit often.
    Well done Sir!!

    1. astrobob

      Very nice of you, Stuart. Thanks! I would be happy to take a ride with any aliens offering a round trip ticket.

  126. Ashlee

    Thank you for not being crazy and giving intelligent responses with scientific proof behind them. It’s nice to see someone who’s only goal isn’t just to get your heart rate rising and a lead helmet on your head. Doesn’t anyone know that Planet X / Niburu was invented by the crazed mind of a woman from Wisconsin who claimed to have been abducted as a child and inserted with an implant warning her of impending doom? Her first prediction was in 2003. If we’ve all but crossed Mr. Camping off the list why are we still believing this woman?

    1. astrobob

      Thanks very much Ashlee. I’ve read that story, too. It’s one of many in the grand mythology of the manufacturing of Nibiru.

  127. Alex

    this has nothing to do about elenin but cant find it, how far away is comet honda on aug 3rd and on the 15th will it be visible w/ naked eye from FL? Ty

    1. astrobob

      Alex, Comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova was 17.2 million miles from Earth on August 3. I saw it just a few nights ago in a big scope and it was pretty faint. It won’t be visible from anywhere in Florida on the 15th. Only from much farther south and you’ll still need a telescope to see it. It isn’t visible with the unaided eye and probably won’t be even when it reappears in the morning sky in the northern hemisphere in October.

  128. Lea

    Thanks for being one of the many people that are helping clearing this whole Elenin thing up, we are now in August, when all the crazies thought the world would end and we are still here. Maybe these doomsday lovers should get a hobby. Myself, however, am excited to see this comet pass our skies. My dad is a retired NASA worker and he laughed when he saw everyone freaking out about this little comet. He said that if we freaked out about every single thing in space then we would have nothing better to do with out lives. Once again, thanks for this article I’m sure it helped a lot of people out!

      1. Lea

        Your welcome! I think it’s kind of sad about how many people are seriously worring about this comet. There was even a person that believed in doomsday from the comet so bad that he posted on CNN’s ireporter site that Elenin will destory the world so now a small hand full of people believes in this little comet even more then before but what everyone is not understanding is that the ireporter sight is used by everyone so I could write an article that says that the world wil end tomorrow. I wish this doomsday stuff will end after 2012 comes and goes but my dad told me it will never stop cause there are so many people that do not trust NASA.

        1. astrobob

          Lea, I find it funny that people think NASA is the be-all and end-all of astronomical knowledge. There are thousands of professional astronomers around the world working for other institutions that are just as creditable as NASA. Even if people distrusted NASA, they’d have to distrust the entire astronomical establishment to convert so many things into conspiracies. Crazy world, eh?

  129. Alex

    hey i read on Leonid website that elenin’s coma is exceeding 200,000 km. Though the nuclease stays the same, should it be bright enough to see with the naked eye it should be quite a show.

    1. astrobob

      Hey Alex, yes, that coma diameter sounds about right. When we finally do get to see the comet in October before dawn, the coma should look nice in binoculars and telescopes. Even though it’s a good-sized coma, you still have to factor in the comet’s distance. Currently that big bag of gas is only about 3 arc minutes across or 1/10 the size of the full moon and very diffuse.

  130. Well, I for one hope this is the end. With the recent dropping of programs and funding at NASA there is nothing to look forward to. Wait, I just got it, NASA didn’t fight for continuing the programs cause they knew it was gonna all end in Nov. Now I wonder how long till this idea shows up on some doomsday site?

    1. astrobob

      Hello Claude, while it’s disappointing that NASA had to cancel the shuttle program, there are still plenty of things to look forward to. For example, NASA launched a new probe to Jupiter just today, and a brand new Mars mission with a big science rover will launch later this year.

  131. Ufozmankato

    Dear Astrobob,

    A fellow Minnesotan here…..Do you trust Nasa to give us accurate information about Comet Elenin?

    1. astrobob

      Dear Ufoz, I do trust NASA to give accurate information about this comet and all the other ones, too. I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of Comet Elenin’s orbit if for no other reason that I used the posted NASA orbital elements to track and see the comet with my own eyes.

      1. astrobob

        Adam, thanks for the great links. The information and photograph from NASA are accurate. Indeed Comet Elenin would be in Orion from Stereo B’s perspective. The camera looking toward the comet would see it against the background stars of Orion. I checked this with the star charting program SkyMap. Let’s take a look at the Stereo A (Ahead) position. If you draw a line through the sun toward Elenin, the comet would appear in approximately the constellation Libra. You can check this for yourself by opening the date menu and changing the date to November 15. That puts the Earth approximately in the same place as Stereo A on Aug. 2. Now imagine that same sun-comet line and the direction you’ll be facing is toward Libra. If you have a star-charting/planetarium program (Stellarium program is free at you can put in the November 15 date and see that the sun appears in Libra just as the comet currently does from Stereo A’s perspective.
        Got all that? Now go back to the link you sent showing the positions of Stereo A and B on Aug. 2. In your imagination, put yourself aboard the Stereo B craft and look out toward Elenin. The line connecting you and the comet points back well away from Libra in the opposite direction toward Orion.

  132. Dave

    For those who accept both science and religion, recall the biblical comment:

    “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” Genesis 1:14

    The comets are for “signs” and “seasons”. What the scientist refers to as mere “coincidence” is the recognition that thsese celestial lights occur at times that “coincide” with
    major events on earth. That’s the definition of a “sign”. It’s not that the comet is “causing” these events. The comets don’t cause them, but coincide with them according to the
    divine plan. These “coincidences” simply don’t occur with sufficient frequency for scientists to have yet “constructed a model” to fit the observed pattern. They are relatively rare,
    but over the course of thousands of years people have noticed that the appearance of comets “coincide” with the outbreak of wars, human conflict, and turmoil on earth. In other words,
    a comet is the “sign” that the “season of turmoil” is likely at hand.

    1. astrobob

      The only problem with you logic Dave is that there are always “outbreaks of wars, human conflict, and turmoil on earth” whether in the U.S., Europe, Africa or any country of your choosing. Since turmoil is a constant, and since a dozen or more comets pass through the inner solar system each year, you can always find a comet to coincide with any event of your choosing. Once we start believing in “signs”, it’s a slippery slope back into the world of superstition.

  133. Cheyenne

    Is there any chance at all that comet Honda will affect Earth? I’m a youngster (only eighteen), and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m terrified of a comet having an adverse effect on our planet. I really hope nothing happens.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Cheyenne, you needn’t worry about Comet Honda (actually Comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova). The comet goes around the sun once every 5.3 years, and this is its 11th observed return. What makes this return more special than some is that at closest on August 15, it will be relatively close to Earth — about 5.6 million miles. That’s still a long ways out there, about 23 times the distance of the moon. The comet is less than a mile across and is far too tiny to affect Earth in any measurable way. I’ve seen it a few times in my telescope over the years. The comet looks like a hazy blur. I’ll be doing an update on it tomorrow. I hope this is helpful to you.

  134. Alex

    bob i find it interesting, now that we are approaching elenin and learning more about it im reading the doomsayers switch stories. I am now reading that they are not saying elenin is nibiru, now they are saying nibiru is 1 year behind elenin so even once this passes in Oct. there will STILL be these stupid internet rumors. How can man kind have come this far and still be so dumb? =/

    1. astrobob

      Alex, I expect that as the doomsayers “predictions” don’t come to pass, dates will be moved farther into the future or other excuses made to save face. I’ve seen this happen repeatedly over the years. The most recent was “judgement day” this past May 21. Of course, that never occurred; now I see it’s been moved up to October 21. 1000 years from now, people will still be predicting worldwide disaster. It must be part of the human psyche to hope and look for signs of doom.

  135. astronewbie

    Hi Bob, looking forward to more of Stero B clips. Do you know the reason for the delay in uploading to the web.

      1. Pitty, I was glad to identify the Orion constellation in the back ground. Could have used it as a tool to get the kids interested in the indentification of the constellations as it passes through. I am sure they just catching up from the weekend. Can the blog not show the latest on the top of the page.

        1. astrobob

          Cornelius, do you mean the latest Elenin photo from STEREO? I’ll try to update it frequently so long as the images are interesting or show change.

  136. Sean M

    Bob, Elenin sounds nice and all, but I have high hopes for C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS). Any new info on whether this will reach McNaught, Hayukataki or Halle Bopp levels? Though I remember Halle Bopp, being 16 I was too young to care about astonomy and had not developed my love for photography at the time, so I missed out. I pray it wasn’t a once in a lifetime event that I missed because I was too young.

    To everyone else who is worried about Elenin and all the doomsday hype, if you were too young to remember, google Heaven’s Gate. Every time a major celestial event happens there is always a group that uses it incorrectly as either a sign of impending doom or some other scenerio. Take the Mayan calender. Mayan ancestors have dismissed the end of the calender is balogny. When asked, they just say it starts over. That’s it. It means nothing else. Start reading magazines like Astronomy and Sky and Telescope, learn about the make up of the universe. Don’t spread around what a fringe element are saying, because while many who keep up with astronomy know that such rumors are just that, it scare those who know very little about astronomy.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Sean, no new info here on C/2011 L4, just that it might reach 2nd mag. or brighter around April 2013. We’ll have to sit back for a while and be patient. 😉

        1. astrobob

          Me too! It’s amazing how early some of these robotic surveys pick up comets nowadays. Gives us much to look forward to.

  137. Anne

    Thank you for posting sane, rational information. It would seem your vantage point in Duluth would be a good one. I went to college in Ashland to the east of you and miss that wide open northern sky.

  138. george

    Everyone who has a cell phone camera should take a picture of the sun.

    I took few pictures around 10 to 11am and around 6pm and found a

    red object near the sun. can anyone explain what this is.

  139. my3911

    Hi Bob!

    I’ve been researching ELEnin for a while now and have some alignment/seismic data below I’ve been gathering along with the sources. I know you addressed the coincidental earthquakes/alignments with ELEnin, the Sun and other planets. But if you look at my info below, you’ll see that the last alignment date with this comet is December 21st, 2012. Don’t you find this kind of unusual? I really appreciate your input on these “coincidences” and I also want to say I am so glad to finally find a web site where the op is genuine and polite. I’m just searching for the truth and as you know it’s very hard to find on the internet. If I didn’t live downtown in the third largest city in the US, I would have already bought my own telescope. Thank you.

    Below is 2 months of alignments and correlating seismic data I collected in weekly a format of 5.0 or greater earthquakes:
    Date Range Earthquakes 5.0> Alignment(s)

    4/25/2011-5/1/2011 34 None
    5/2/2011-5/9/2011 36 None
    5/10/2011-5/17/2011 58 Sun, Venus and ELENIN
    5/18/2011-5/25/2011 32 None
    5/26/2011-6/1/2011 29 None
    6/2/2011-6/8/2011 35 None
    6/9/2011-6/15/2011 36 None
    6/16/2011-6/22/2011 36 None
    6/23/2011-6/29/2011 36 None
    6/30/2011-7/6/2011 24 (7.8 on 7/6/11) Sun, Mercury,ELENIN
    Past alignments and “coincidental” earthquakes:

    Past Alignments Date Location Magnitude

    Elenin – Earth – Sun Feb 20 2008 Indonesia 7.4
    Elenin – Earth – Sun Feb 25 2008 Indonesia 7.2
    Elenin – Earth – Neptune May 12 2008 China 7.9
    Elenin – Earth – Sun Feb 18 2009 Kermadec Islands 7
    Elenin – Earth -Jupiter May 18 2009 Los Angeles, US 4.7
    Elenin – Mercury- Earth July 15 2009 New Zealand 7.8
    Elenin – Mercury – Earth Aug 09 2009 Japan 7.1
    Elenin – Sun – Earth Sept 09 2009 Sunola islands 8.1
    Elenin – Earth – Venus Feb 18 2010 China/RU/N.Korea 6.9
    Elenin – Earth-Sun Feb 25 2010 China 5.2
    Elenin – Earth-Sun Feb 26 2010 Japan 7
    Elenin – Earth- Sun Feb 27 2010 Chile 8.8 [Altered our Axis]
    Elenin – Earth- Sun Feb 27 2010 Argentina 6.3
    Elenin – Earth – Mercury Mar 04 2010 Taiwan 6.3
    Elenin – Earth – Mercury Mar 04 2010 Vanuatu 6.5
    Elenin – Earth – Mercury Mar 05 2010 Chile 6.6
    Elenin – Earth – Mercury Mar 05 2010 Indonesia 6.3
    Elenin – Earth – Mercury Mar 08 2010 Turkey 6.1
    Elenin – Earth – Neptune May 05 2010 Indonesia 6.6
    Elenin – Earth – Neptune May 06 2010 Chile 6.2
    Elenin – Earth – Neptune May 09 2010 Indonesia 7.2
    Elenin – Earth – Neptune May 14 2010 Algeria 5.2
    Elenin – Earth – Jupiter Jan 03 2011 Chile 7
    Elenin – Earth – Sun March 11 2011 Japan 9.0 [Altered our Axis]

    Future Alignments and Events Date Note

    Last Alignment (The Beginning of the Age of Aquarius)
    Sun, Earth & ELE December 21, 2012

    My Sources:;orb=1;cov=1;log=0;cad=1#cad

    1. astrobob

      Dear ??,

      I hope you’re able to at least look through a telescope some day from a dark sky site. It can be a mind-changing experience. I must say, it looks like you’ve done a lot of work here, but I have to differ with where you’re going.

      * Coincidence does not equal causation. We have two physical objects here. Coincidence may make us scratch our head and surmise a cause, but those who say Comet Elenin “causes” earthquakes provide no physical basis between earthquake production and a small comet millions of miles away. It’s certainly not gravity, since at Elenin’s distance, its effects are exceedingly weak. The other idea I’ve seen floating around is a sort of electrostatic force. This bit of pseudoscience has never been detected either remotely from observatories on Earth or in situ by the five visits we’ve made to comets with spacecraft.

      Whatever “force” Elenin has, I would ask whether it’s the only comet that has this power or if there are others. And if not, what exactly makes Elenin physically so different from other comets? I’ve also never seen an earthquake list for Comet Honda-M-P, which approached Earth much more closely. Earth and Honda line up routinely as our planet does with numerous other comets and asteroids. I know, I know. Someone out there probably has a list.

      A real theory would answer these questions. That brings me to the amazing thing so many purveyors of what I’ll call the “coincidence justification” (not that you’re necessarily advocating this) continually overlook — we KNOW the cause. It’s the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates. This is a well-proven scientific theory with decades of observation, experiment and evidence to back it up. You might already know a lot about earthquakes, but just in case, I encourage you to read this basic guide to learn more:

      * More to the point, you’ve carefully selected all the earthquakes of a certain magnitude that occurred during lineups of Elenin and various planets or the sun. You could have just as easily compiled a list using Comet Halley, Mars or the solar system object of your choice for all the earthquakes left off the list. Since Earth is rich in quakes and the sky equally rich in comets, asteroids and planets, you can compile list after list of “coincidences” between Jupiter-sun-Earth alignments, Vesta-Mercury-Earth alignments, Comet Lulin-Venus-Earth, Saturn-Comet Wild 2-Titan alignments and this or that earthquakes or other anomaly of choice. As your lists stands, it already includes obscurities like Elenin-Neptune-Earth alignments. Indeed, you’ll probably find multiple alignments for some of the purported Elenin-induced quakes using various other asteroids or comets. Where does it end? As I wrote earlier today in Comments, alignments are extremely common in a flat solar system like ours.

      Just a final point or two. While I haven’t replayed all of your earthquake dates and comet positions, I saw you noted a Mercury-Elenin-sun alignment on July 6, 2011 coincident with a 7.8 mag. earthquake on Earth. Since that alignment did not involve our planet, I don’t understand why you included it.

      Finally, the Dec. 21, 2012 alignment actually won’t be the last. Each time Earth goes around the sun, we’ll align with the comet twice a year at opposition and solar conjunction for thousands of years into the future. This is true for the past as well. Elenin, the sun and Earth repeatedly lined up when my great grandfather was a boy and for generations of humans long ago passed away. Are we to surmise this innocent comet has caused havoc on Earth throughout the scope of time? And what of all the other comets, especially those of short period that create a steady stream of repeat lineups? I believe if you consider the facts, you’ll see that causality through comet or other small-body “alignments” leads to absurdity.

      Thanks for your patience in reading my rather long-winded reply.

      1. my3911

        Thank you so much AstroBob!

        You’ve given me a different perspective on this topic and I truly appreciate the time and energy you put into your reply. What I would like to do now is look at other approaching comets and see if they coincide with increased seismic activity during alignments with our planet. I also didn’t think about the fact that we do align with Elenin every year, even though you can’t really see this on JPL’s orbital diagram. As far as large earthquake(s) occurring during alignment(s) that didn’t include our planet, my rational was devised using gravity portals and wells. I figured if something significant in size was in our “neighborhood”, our planet would experience gravitational effects since the planets and our Sun are all “connected”. When I was about 8 years old, I had pretty good telescope and actually used to spend night after night looking up at the stars and moon, but I eventually moved closer and closer to the city. I hope one day to be able to look up at the heavens with my own eyes again. Thank you very much and if you don’t mind, I would like to post your reply on another site that is buzzing about Elenin. I want others to read your reply so they can hopefully put this to rest and stop worrying about it. I’ll of course credit you and your site with your permission. For now though, I look forward to being a member on your site since you really seem to know what your talking about. I’ve always had a strong interest in astronomy and I think I finally found a web site and op that I can trust on this subject.


        1. astrobob

          Thanks Rob for your kind reply. Happy to hear you observed through your own telescope, too. Yes, you can post the comment elsewhere. Just credit as you suggested. Thanks again.

    2. Tom B.

      I’ve noticed that the world doesn’t end every time Earth and Venus are at syzygy (or alignment, if you will), which happens frequently, and represents an alignment of far larger gravitational fields involved.

      I’ve also noticed that many of these “alignments” don’t seem to be real. Example:

      Elenin – Earth – Sun March 11 2011 Japan 9.0 [Altered our Axis]

      Actually, on this day, the angular separation between Elenin and the Sun was 102° (note that an alignment would be in the ballpark of 0° for Sun > Elenin > Earth or 180° for Sun > Earth > Elenin). This event occurred about as far from an alignment as possible.

      Further, Elenin’s orbital inclination is sufficient to render a true alignment (where you REALLY can draw a straight line between the three objects) decidedly unlikely.

      1. astrobob

        Thanks for your analysis Tom. I suspected there was considerable latitude on some of those “alignments”. You’re correct not only about Venus, but Mercury, Mars and the rest of the planets.

      2. my3911

        Unfortunately, I’m what you would call an arm-chair astronomer. This is why I like this site. You guys really seem to know what you’re talking about. I admit, the long list of past alignments was second hand. I didn’t verify most of them, only a few. I did however, verify the future alignments, which are for some reason no longer posted here. And of course the first section was from data I extracted and compiled in Excel. I do understand orbital mechanics somewhat (probably not to your extent), but none the less, I appreciate your thorough analysis.

        Kind Regards

      3. my3911


        Since you brought up “syzygy” for describing an alignment between Venus and Earth. Would you mind pointing me to resource that has information on this method of describing alignments? I have seen this mentioned on other forums and am having a hard time finding it on the internet with the little time I have. Thanks in advance!

        1. Tom B.

          Syzygy is just a catch-all term for various phenomenon under which you can draw a roughly straight line between the Earth and two other objects. If you look up in the night sky and see Mercury and Venus right next to each other, that’s a type of syzygy called a conjunction. An opposition (when you have two objects on opposite sides of the Earth from each other, approx 180° of separation) is also a type. A lunar eclipse would be yet another type, as would a transit (e.g. when an object like Venus appears to cross the face of the Sun).

          NEAR AS I CAN TELL (I cannot emphasise enough that at this point I might well be wrong), this term is used rather than “alignment” as true alignments almost never happen due to the variety of orbital planes of objects orbiting the Sun. Even planets vary from each other’s orbital planes by a few degrees (Mercury being the most extreme, inclined from our orbit by over 7°, and Uranus being the closest to our plane at about .77°). And since an orbit sweeps out a truly astronomical (inadvertent pun!) amount of space the odds of both planets both being at the point where their planes cross at the same time are within easy reach of nil.

          I’m not really sure where I first encountered the term, but Wikipedia’s article on it seems correct… or at least in line with the few university-level astronomy classes I’ve taken in the past.

          1. my3911

            Thank you Tom!

            I was expecting just a link, but I do appreciate you taking the time to give me your own explanation. I’ll do more searching around for the other type of alignments. I guess I’m interested in what each letter in “syzygy” means. I never had the opportunity to take any advanced astronomy classes, but I guess it’s never too late to learn!

            Thanks again!

        2. caralex

          Syzygy is a Greek word, basically meaning ‘yoke together’. The modern Greek word for ‘spouse’, for example, is syzygos.

      4. JennyJo

        As far as I’ve been able to make out, these “alignments” are all based on NASA’s JPL orbit diagram, which is two dimensional and as such doesn’t represent Elenin’s actual orbit, does it? Apart from the fact that comets don’t cause earthquakes to begin with.

        1. astrobob

          Hi JennyJo — yes, many people are basing their alignments on the JPL orbit diagrams. These are very basic as you described, however you can see the 3rd dimension by using the ’tilt slider’ on the side to level them all out. That way you can see any inclinations relative to the plane of the solar system (ecliptic) better.

          1. JennyJo

            Sorry for being confusing, I meant to say there are no “perfect alignments” as is claimed by Omerbaschich , since the inclinations are all different. They seem perfect, but only on a two dimensional image seen from above. Also, there have been many of these “perfect alignments” with the big gas giants, but strangely enough these are not included. It just seems utterly baseless in so many ways.

    1. astrobob

      Willem, yes, they probably are a little bananas. This report goes back to February of this year when a couple of astrophysicists said they were almost certain a planet — which they even named Tyche — would be found within the data returned by NASA’s WISE spacecraft. While there’s always a chance another planet may lurk way out beyond Pluto, it’s wishful thinking at this point. To date no such discovery has been made.

  140. keith

    Hey Bob, Has anyone calculated the distance to the other side of Elenin’s Journey. I hear it has a 10,000 year cycle, which means it takes 5,000 years to get to the other object it goes around. I’m guessing its another Star of some sort. I’m not sure what its speed is, but I have read 23.9 km per second. How many seconds are in 5000 years and where would that put the other object?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Keith — even a comet with an orbital period of many hundreds of thousands of years still orbits the sun and not another star. The way orbits work, the comet swings near the sun on the inbound leg of its elliptical (oval) orbit. Being close to the sun, it moves very swiftly. As it leaves the sun’s vicinity on the outbound leg, its speed slows down with time. When it reaches the other end of its orbit, it’s moving slowest. It then “rounds the corner” so to speak and drops back in toward the inner solar system, gaining speed again as it goes.

        1. astrobob

          Keith – nothing at the other end. It falls back through gravity. The Earth’s orbit is also an ellipse but much closer to a circle compared to Comet Elenin’s orbit. We’re farthest from the sun in July and then fall back to closest position in January.

  141. Brandon R

    Astrobob, Have you ever noticed how people always claim that NASA is lying and “hiding things” from us . And what confuses me , NASA has never hidden things or lied to us before ! people are just stupid :p

  142. Dave

    NASA never lies. On occasion they may remove “errors” from data, so people don’t get confused. People often interpret this as an attempt to hide something. But, it’s not so. The human mind, is, however, suspicious by nature. We all see “patterns” in data, even then they are not meaningful connections there. Hence the term “coincidence”.

    It is a fact that all is coincidence. Whatever connections we find, our mind made them up.

    The puzzle is, what makes us see come coincidences as meaningful, so that we would then “construct a theory” to explain them, while other coincidences are tossed out as not worthy of theory fitting?

    Take the classic example, that the earth and moon dance around each other in a period of time that is the perfect cube 6x6x6 = 216. The number 6 being the “Perfect number” in Plato’s philosophy, and hence 216 being the perfect cube.

    The Great Pyramid is built on this same 216 cube…etc..but not many scientists pay attention to this today.

  143. roler147

    hi astro bob, i see so much scary stuff about this planet and stuff goiong to destroy a third of the earth like it says in the bible i am so scared i just want to believe it wont harm us but those other videos about how it will are very convincing. i just hope a few years from now even past 2012 we will all be okay even if there is somthing coming there is nothing we can do but get right with god .. i really do like reading your comments it makes me feel relieved in a way but still i am scared and i hope its for no reason and i can look back in a few years and and still be with my husband ans kids…. well god bless thank you for everything? 🙂

    1. astrobob

      Roler — I think we’ll be OK. When it’s our time, most of us will be leaving this Earth in very unspectacular ways.

        1. astrobob

          Jessie, I’m glad to be alive everyday and plan on being around in 2012, too. I’ve survived numerous human attempts to see the world end including the most recent one in May and the dastardly year 2000.

          1. jessie leigh

            ok, just they way you put it, you were like i “think” we will be your not sure about it.

            maybe its just me.

            thanks : )

          2. astrobob

            Jessie — Just a manner of speaking plus I can’t predict the future. As you’re aware, no one can say that “all will be fine” with 100% certainty. I’m not expecting cosmic to obliterate the Earth in any case.

  144. roler147

    astro bob , iv’e been doing reserch on the brown dwarf that is going to pass between us and the sun .im wondering what would be the effects on our planet?Also I did some research on the guy that found “comet Elenin” Leonid Elenin does not exsist!

    1. astrobob

      Roler — There is no evidence at all for a brown dwarf that will pass between us and the sun. If there were, professional and amateur astronomers around the world (not just NASA) would be very busy photographing it, measuring its qualities and publishing and reporting their results. No one is doing this for one very good reason: it doesn’t exist. Unless you’re very careful and skeptical of the many outrageous claims, there is so much garbage about Elenin and this “brown dwarf” on the Internet, it’s nearly impossible to separate fact from fantasy.

      Leonid Elenin is as real as I am. He posts regularly on a comet list I’m a member of. Here’s some info on him: Mr. Elenin is what would be generally classed as an amateur astronomer from Lubertsy City, Russia, near Moscow. He is a graduate of the Moscow Aviation Institute, works as a researcher at the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics (Russian Academy of Sciences), is married, and speaks both Russian and English. He volunteers with the International Astronomical Search Collaboration5, and runs a website at He has had a passion for astronomy since childhood, and studies minor Solar System objects and stars. He has discovered over 10 variable stars (and numerous asteroids), and as of 2010, a comet. You can look up the Keldysh Institute and read up on him as well as see a photograph.

  145. willem

    Ok astrobob we agree on its size, but you know what, it is not size that might matters. Elenin is a small commit, right! But what if it is of very dense matter? I believe this fact is called a neutron star or something similar, right? What is your take on that option (there are people observing that all that comes close to Elenin, acts rather weird because of its very strong gravity (this fact might explain the EQ that a really increasing very much lately).

    1. astrobob

      Willem — Comet Elenin looks like a comet, acts like a comet and orbits like a comet. There’s no question as to its nature. Comets are icy and dusty objects and prone to break into pieces unlike something that’s extremely dense. Neutron stars are not only exceedingly dense, but they typically contain about 1 1/2 times the sun’s mass. If a neutron star were to enter the solar system (and this has never been observed to happen), astronomers would be able to detect its enormous gravity and powerful magnetic field. It also would look like a tiny brilliant object completely unlike a comet. No, Comet Elenin is not a neutron star or any of the other crazy stuff we’ve heard it called. It’s a comet, and it appears and behaves like many other comets observed to date.

    1. astrobob

      The coordinates take you to the star Zeta in the constellation of Ophiuchus, which is currently visible in the southwestern sky at nightfall. It’s a third magnitude star in the southern part of the constellation located about 460 light years from Earth.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Squid — Comet Elenin will pass by Earth just the way Comet Honda did recently (though Honda was 5 times closer) with no measurable, noticeable effects on Earth.

  146. squid1

    Hi again AstroBob, there has been reports that “Nibiru” or something big like a Brown Dwarf is following Elenin and that its not Elenin that will affect us it is “Nibiru”. Does Nibiru even exist and is anything following Elenin? I am really worried that something bad might happen to the world after all this stuff has been posted on the internet and wondering if you can clear things up? Thanks

    1. astrobob

      There is no scientific evidence for the existence of the big, bad “Niburu”. It is a complete hoax that is unfortunately believed by many. Nothing is following Comet Elenin except rumors and bogus doomsday predictions.

      1. Dave

        Nothing following Elenin that can be seen in the visible spectrum? Or, nothing following Elenin that is emitting no light at all? How would we know of a dark body that neither emits light, nor reflects sunlight? i.e. how would we know of it, other than by gravitational effects on the planets it passes by? i.e. How does NASA know for sure, that there’s nothing else out there?

        1. astrobob

          Hi Dave,
          Nothing of this nature is visible in any photograph taken of Comet Elenin nor is the comet’s motion being affected by an unseen body. It’s behaving normally, and no “dark objects” have ever been seen in visible, infrared and even X-rays near any other comet present or past. If you’re going to postulate a “dark body” then you’ll need some amazing evidence for it being there. And since comets in the solar system number in the millions, you’ll also have to show why Elenin is special in this regard and not the dozen or so comets that come by every year.
          To my best knowledge, dark matter is the only material in the universe that neither emits nor absorbs light, however we can detect it through its gravitational effects. Remember though, that dark matter only becomes significant on grand scales on the order of galaxies, not as “dark bodies” that follow comets around a solar system.

          1. Dave

            Thanks astrobob, but I must ask this question. Why can’t dark matter coagulate into a planetary like body? Is there something special about darkmatter that keeps particles of the dark separated from each other? i.e. do they repel, or something? Is dark matter like a bunch of fermions that can’t get into the same state? Are there no dark matter bosons that can clump?

          2. astrobob

            Well, first, there isn’t much of it in the solar system. A recent study (2008) showed that the total amount of dark matter in the solar system equals about 1/9th the mass of the asteroid Ceres. It’s all over but spread thinly. So even if you could somehow pack all of it into one body, it would only equal a moderate-to-small sized asteroid. We don’t know much about dark matter and may not even know what it is, but I’ve read that it can only form very large, low-density clumps such as you see in galaxy clusters. High density spheres like stars and planets don’t work because dark matter can’t get rid of the extra heat that builds up during accretion and compression into a solid mass.

  147. Louis

    Bob, I consider you a voice of reason and an honest observer of evidence. With this in mind do you have an opinion as to the increase in UFO phenomena being reported and captured on video this year. AOL has a feature story on this fact in its news coverage today. Are astronomers saying anything about this? Additionally do you have any opinion on the strange atmospheric sounds that have been being reported and recorded worldwide. I myself am always skeptical of such reports but if you watch there is a clip from a recent baseball game that has the noise recorded on it and the commentators asking what the sound could be ( ) also YouTube search “APOCALYPTIC NOISES HEARD WORLDWIDE”. (I apologize for using the word apocalypse.)

    Thank you for your time in considering these matters.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Louis — Ah, UFOs. I’ve never seen one myself. While I truly believe there are other life forms in the universe, I don’t think UFOs as alien vessels are real, despite the millions of reports of people seeing them. The sheer number argues against their reality. I think they’re a misunderstanding of natural phenomena (Venus, Sirius, aurora, for example) and human activity (weather balloons, rocket launches, satellites, etc.) fanned by an overactive imagination.
      I can’t comment on the weird sounds (sounds like the wind) as it’s really not in my area of expertise, but my gut tells me it’s more speculation and wishful thinking.

      1. Louis

        I am constantly impressed with your ability to deal with potentially contentious subject matter in a way that is definitive yet delicate. It would be so easy to offend people while discussing many of the topics covered on this site and you always find a way (in my opinion) to put forth your views without being abrasive or condescending. Thank you once again for your professionalism in all matters submitted before you.

        1. astrobob

          Hi Louis, that’s very kind of you to say. When a question is sincere, I feel it’s deserving of the same in answer.

  148. Rory

    Hello Astrobob. Thank you. I found reading through this blog quite refreshing. You are more than a scientist. You are also genuinely warm and that’s cool. It’s uplifting reading your intelligent discourse based on science, which you obviously have a handle on. I thank you for your effort and remarkable patience to reply to all the enquiries, even the “Far out” ones thrown at you. I’ll bet you’re a fan of “Through the Wormhole” with Morgan Freeman. Absolutely fascinating stuff.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Rory,
      You’re very kind, thank you! I’ve heard of the Morgan Freeman series but don’t have cable, so haven’t seen an episode yet. You’re right, I’m sure I’d enjoy it.

  149. Roger Larouche

    Hi Astrobob What do you think about 2012 The TRUTH You’re NOT being TOLD The clock runs out Sep 25th 2011? and the video on you tube of Alexander he scare a lot of people with his elenin senario please take a look at the video

  150. Roger Larouche

    Hi Astrobob again this guy (Aleander Petrov) i do not know if he is a scientific but his video had convince many of my friend who are now going to move on the highest mountain in the US to avoid this end of the world can you please watch the complete video and tell me if the science reference that he his given are truth based and your answer will be send to all my friend for their own goods
    thank you in advance

    1. astrobob

      Hi Roger — Sorry to be so blunt, but all that stuff is nonsense. You can ignore it and live a happy life. I’ve been around long enough to have heard lots of “end of the world” predictions, none of which have come to pass. It’s somehow built in our genes to imagine the end coming whenever we see lots of change around us. Change is normal. Humans have struggled for so long to move from the dark world of superstition into one lit by knowledge. We don’t need to go back down that path. Be skeptical of outrageous claims and look for real testable (scientific) evidence backed up by careful observation.

  151. willem

    Hi Astrobob you might have to shut this site soon:
    NASA: Comet Elenin will disintegrate and not survive perihelion 11 09 2011
    this “news” is all over the net!

  152. squid1

    Hi AstroBob, What would happen if the comet will not survive Perihlion? It’s “supposedly” going to disentegrate on 9/11/11

    1. astrobob

      Squid – if Comet Elenin doesn’t survive perihelion it will become very faint. You’d need a large telescope to see it. The 9/11 date is incorrect. Splitting or disintegration of a comet’s nucleus is a process, and it appears to have begun about a week ago. People once again are looking for coincidences.

  153. Louis

    Due to a lag in your normal amazingly prompt response time I am going to assume something interesting is happening or has happened… Let us in on the secret as soon as you are able- thanks.

      1. Alex

        bob has been answering questions since april and am sure he has a life. being busy in real life and not having time to respond the same hour something is posted does not mean anything lol.

        1. Louis

          Alex, try not to be rude. I have written to bob many times and I just figured he was busy getting the latest accurate information on Elenin. I am always thankful for his time.

  154. Louis

    Bob, my question is simply what is the latest reliable news concering Elenin. Is a comet that is splitting or going through a disintegration ap to be unpredicatble as far as it’s orbit?

    Thank you for your time.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Louis — take a read of today’s blog ( for the latest news which addresses your very question. If the comet is breaking up, pieces of it either streaming down the tail of in a tight cluster in the center of the comet might eventually show in larger telescopes. These individual pieces will keep tracking along the same general orbit of the comet and will not veer off to threaten Earth, because they’re traveling together along the comet’s orbit in the same direction at very high speed.

  155. squid1

    So the Comet not surviving Perihelion means that it will break up to into pieces but the pieces will continue in its orbit with still no threat to earth?

    1. astrobob

      Squid — yes, the comet could break up, shed pieces down its tail and ultimately along its orbital track. In the far future, it’s possible that several mini-Elenins will return spaced near one along its orbit similar to comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann. This assumes the fragments will survive — they may completely dissipate. See here for more info and photos:

  156. stephanie

    astro bob thanks for answering my questions before I just need you to clearify something for me please! I just read on digital journal that comet elenin has exploded and its because nasa and russia sent something up tere to destroy it and on nov 9th obama is suppose to give a new emeregency broadcast system is this has any truth? and how we are gonna have a close call with a astroid!

    1. astrobob

      Stephanie — Not a speck of truth in it. Comet Elenin did not “explode” and NASA and Russia did not sent a nuclear missile to blow it up. Someone must be hyperventilating over the comet’s possible breakup, an event that’s been observed in a number of past comets. Also, there is no galactic lineup every 26,000 years and NASA has no reason to hide anything about a small, ordinary comet. Finally, coincidence does not imply cause and effect no matter what the junk science purveyors say. They are long on guesswork and very short on facts, sources and scientific research.

      One last tidbit: The “ancients” not only had no clue what comets were but lacked the conceptual framework and mathematics to calculate their orbits. They could never have predicted the future appearance or location of an asteroid (none was discovered until 1801) or comet. We’ve only learned to do this since the time of Isaac Newton and Edmund Halley.
      By the way, the “comet explosion” shown in the picture is actually a photograph of a bit of comet dust captured in aerogel during the Stardust mission to Comet Wild 2.
      That emergency thing is a new system that will send messages to mobile phones during big disasters, and it’s set to launch later this year. I guess I don’t see a problem here.

      1. stephanie

        thank you so much for explaining that too me! Im starting to feel better but I still keep reading things on the internet ad it just scares me all over again!!! I dont understand about the broadcasting system thing? what kind of disasters? I read that if the comet does make it past the sun it can change its path and hit earth is that true? how do you know what sites are good and which ones are not true? and if their is no truth in anything then where do they get this information from? and how did they know about the broadcasting thing? andhas anyone seen the comet since that article came out? I havent been able to find any up to date information on it at all except for what I read today and what has been posted on the nasa website?! thank you so much for your help are you still following elenin too?

        1. astrobob

          Stephanie — I have already addressed these issues with you and others and don’t wish to repeat myself. Please read back through Comments. I can say this: Any website that strings together coincidences or alignments to conclude Comet Elenin will hit the Earth or cause disaster is not based on science and is simply wrong. Avoid them no matter how much their spokespeople smile as they tell you you should fear for your life. There are no conspiracies surrounding Elenin. Scientists are not holding back data. Try to think critically in these matters. The Internet is rife with conspiracy theories — my opinion is they are a waste of your energy. While I’m fine with questions, I think you need to let this go and move on to other topics.

  157. stephanie

    Im sorry I kept repeating myself and ur right I do need to just get over it!! I just wanna know who is David Morrison then? and if he works for Nasa than why is he spreading all this stuff around too? whats that guys story? have u ever heard about him?

    1. astrobob

      Yes indeed I’ve heard of Dr. Morrison. He’s a scientist at NASA’s Astrobiology Institute and featured on a great youtube video calmly describing why “Niburu” doesn’t exist. He’s so good at it, the “Niburu” believers are going bananas trashing him up and down the Internet. Pity — he appears to be a very smart man. Here’s the video: and here’s a bit more about him:

  158. Brittany

    Hey Bob, I know we usually correspond through email, but for anyone who comes across your sight as I did a little while back, I want to help them find the answer as you have helped me. This question I ask is to put another widely spread YouTube circuit at rest. This whole thing about how Elenin will block out the sun for three days when lines up with our planet and the sun. I have tried to explain this to some, but because I am just a common person as some would call me, I figured maybe coming for you, it may help. We line up with planets bigger than what this comet is expected to be and no black out, why would people think now a comet would cause a black out for 3 days? Hailey passed directly between earth and sun and there was no black out then. So could you please explain to all of those who come across this why a comet that is right now being shown to basically be falling apart could cause darkness. Thanks Bob 🙂

    1. astrobob

      Hi Brittany, you’re doing pretty good for a “common person”. I’ve already explained how Comet Elenin cannot possibly block the sun, not even for a minute, in Comments on several occasions. Suffice to say, it’s very tiny and diffuse, plus it will be two degrees north of the sun and never cross directly in front of it. And while the coma is large, it’s too tenuous to block sunlight.

  159. dustin

    Im always down for a good conspiracy, but this nibaru/comet stuff is just nuts. seriously, “Extinction Level Event Notable Impact Nemesis” is the chosen code name? it goes to show what great lengths people will go to believe in something.

  160. Dr. Chong

    Mr. King : I am all the way from China. Just spent hours reading thru yr blog. Same as many readers who have appreciated the way how you treated the comments and questions that being placed upon. I wished all yr comments can be translated to Chinese so that lots of worried people from the East could have a second thought …..Thanks for your good job ,keep it up. Dr.Chong.

    1. astrobob

      Dear Dr. Chong,
      Thank you for your very kind praise. I love different languages, having studied German (and some French and Latin), but I wish I knew a little Mandarin, too. Best wishes!

  161. Jonathan

    Dear Astrobob, your site is great! I have to say, I’m am only a teenager, and haven’t slept in days, since discovering this Elenin stuff online… I haven’t eaten much either. Thank you for your intellectual and scientific approach to dealing with this madness. I’m still a little on edge about everything, with my family going to Japan for the next month, and me being practically alone through the supposed dangerous times or whatever. I don’t know much about the scientific community or astronomers community, but what is the overall perception of Elenin? Do the majority of astronomers think this Elenin thing is a hoax like you do? Why don’t more scientists, not affiliated with NASA, attempt to destroy the bad info and spread the word that Elenin is harmless? When will we see updated photos of the comet? Thank you so much!

    1. astrobob

      Hi Jonathan,
      I can’t speak for all astronomers, but no professional or amateur astronomer I’m aware of — and certainly no comet specialists — see Comet Elenin as any different from other comets. I’m sure they’re just frustrated as I am to see so much disinformation about the comet on the Web. I don’t know how many amateurs and professionals are actively trying to get the word out about the phony Niburu/Elenin threat . I can only guess that the professionals have better things to do like research. Many might feel it doesn’t make a difference, because no matter what they might say, people will call them co-conspirators with NASA or whatever. Believe me, I’ve been called that many times as well as received numerous insults (I don’t publish the mean or vile comments). Still, I keep banging my head against the wall just the same in hopes that at least a few people will turn a more skeptical eye toward those shouting about Elenin-induced quakes or brown dwarfs headed for Earth.

  162. Jon

    Thank you so much Astro Bob! Hopefully I will begin to sleep well, you’ve definitely helped put me at ease. It sucks being a kid, never knowing whats truth…

    1. astrobob

      I was a kid once – hah! – and it has its ups and downs. Enjoy your youth and just keep be skeptical about fantastic claims that don’t ring true.

  163. Chantal

    Hi Bob Great site, what is your opinion of the latest news that Elenin trajectory has altered. Hope you can put my mind at rest
    Many thanks

    1. astrobob

      Hi Chantal — Comet Elenin’s orbital path has not changed. It’s been moving along as predicted for many months. Perhaps you’re confusing this with the recent breakup of the comet’s nucleus which has caused the comet to fade.

          1. Chantal

            Thanks from me also Carol. I appreciate that Bob is really busy answering questions from people – but any factual evidence helps to calm an over active imagination

  164. Chantal

    Hi Bob thanks for the prompt reply – I have become an avid fan of yours whilst trying to alleviate fears of elenin and 2012 – (have part degree in science and psychology so go figure). But I found a site that i believe was by Francis Walsh who stated that we were eight hours away from a course change that would result in a collision (dont know what with – got too nervous to watch remainder of information) really sorry to be so pathetic but trying really hard to get perspective with whole thing. Thanks again

    1. astrobob

      Hi Chantal,
      Glad you’re a fan, thanks. Francis appears to be quite the wishful thinker. The comet’s on its predicted course – enjoy your day.

  165. stephanie

    hi Bob I havent writen in a while but I also read about this Fracis person what exactly is she trying to say? it seems like a bunch of nonsence to me!!!

  166. Chantal

    hi Bob
    I feel a bit stupid asking this after your last reply but hope that you will answer me, I appreciate that the comets trajectory is the same but why so much confusion on the web about date of perihelion. Would a change in this date make a marked difference in how close it passes to the earth.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Chantal,
      The perihelion date did not change. If it had, the orbit would be a slightly different one from the one the comet’s been on since its discovery. It hasn’t however. I assume this latest wrinkle is intended by its creators to keep the fires of controversy burning over this minor comet.

  167. Stephanie

    Hey there, Bob.
    Just got done reading the whole blog! Holy Toledo that was a lot! Thank you so much for your detailed explainations. I just wish other would have read previous posts before posting their speculations so I didn’t have to read the same thing over and over again, but I applaud your patience. I didn’t even know about Elenin until last night. I understand why the mainstream media hasn’t been reporting on it though, I mean look at people, they wouldn’t understand, many of these people still don’t understand, it would cause more panic than is already out there. I’m just wondering why people are targeting this comet specifically, to make a huge deal about. Just because of it’s unusual closeness?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Stephanie,
      I think Comet Elenin might have been focused on initially because it was predicted to pass relatively near the Earth. At the time, it was hoped that it would be bright enough to see with the naked eye. Since the apparent breakup in August, that’s only a remote possibility.

  168. LHall

    Bob, I read your explanation and alot of the posts and have done some checking and I must admit your site is a breath of fresh air. Wow, so much doom and gloom out there. The sky is falling, the sky is falling. Bottom line is people thrive on that sutff and I guess we’ll all see what happens as the months play out. I supect that nothing will happen and earthquakes and all that are just coincidence. Bottom line is the earth has been here long before us and will be here long after us. If something is gonna smack us from space there’s not much we can do about it. If its the end, its the end, thats about as simple as it gets. Don’t stock up on toilet paper and freeze dried foods, have a nice glace of wine or your favorite beverage and sit back and watch the show, that’s about all you can do.

  169. Brandon R

    i heard that there doing an emergency broadcast on Nov 9th!!!!! what’s that all about???and another question, what are the little bright sots next to the sun in nibru vids?

    1. astrobob

      I don’t follow the current emergency broadcast hype. As for those bright spots — those are bits of Elvis’ soul reflecting sunlight. Just kidding of course. No, they’re just lens flare, a very common occurrence when you point a camera directly at the sun.

  170. dave

    Bob, my brother who is in the military tells me obama will be going in the denver airport bunker on 9/27 because of something coming close to eaeth and not knoing what to expect. u heard anything about this?

    1. astrobob

      It’s more conspiracy theory nonsense being perpetuated by word of mouth. He’ll be giving a speech on the economy as far as I can tell. Nothing is hitting the Earth that would require a bunker, however the UARS satellite will be coming down in pieces sometime tomorrow the 23rd.

  171. Chubsu09

    Hi Bob

    Does your explanations also hold good that nothing is gonna happen on 21st Dec 2012 as everyone says that its gonna be the end of human life on earth 🙁

    1. astrobob

      How sad that it’s right before Christmas. We’ll have to plan to open our gifts early. No, the 2012 date and all the the lather over the Mayan calender, “Niburu”etc. is cooked up nonsense, conjecture and junk science by instant experts meant to inspire fear, increase youtube hits and sell books. All a scam. It’s the same with Comet Elenin, two suns in the sky, and the 101 other goofball ideas out there that make your eyes roll. As one wise reader of this blog said recently and I paraphrase: Educate yourself on the topics of comets, earthquakes and the solar system through reading. Many excellent books are available. And if you are able to, take a class in astronomy.

  172. schwambly

    Bob, I appreciate the plain language you used on this page to describe how Comet Elenin will behave as it passes through our neighborhood. I have pointed friends to this page to help them understand comets. I really want to say that I admire your patience in answering so many questions when so many people who do not seem to understand how things move through the universe. Nice going. Mk

  173. Alex

    bob, lets both u and I have an active imagination and PRETEND what dave said about obama going underground is true bc of something approaching, being today is the 24th, wouldn’t we feel the effects leading up to it. so the lack of disasters already disproves it?

  174. Cherry

    hey astrobob … i have a horrible fear about tomorrow .. what about the big earthquake? and why every time the comet lines up with our planet and the sun an earthquake happened? (excuse my English .. sorry)

    1. astrobob

      Don’t believe the doomsayers, instant experts, snake oil salesmen and junk science aficionados — earthquakes DON’T happen because of comets or comet-sun lineups. There is no credible scientific evidence connecting comets to Earth events — unless a comet actually slams into the Earth, which won’t be happening in the case of Elenin or any other comet we know about. Get a book on earthquakes or go online to a geology site and you’ll learn that quakes occur due to movements of Earth’s crustal plates. The science is well-established.

  175. Cherry

    hey astrobob .. i know (quakes occur due to movements of Earth’s crustal plates) but can’t comets affect Earth’s crustal plates and make earthquaks? I apologize to bother you

  176. Drumbeat

    Hey Astro Bob! Thanks for taking your time to answer all the questions you get. Was reading alot of them! Well, my mother had bought a telescope about 2 years ago and it sat in her garage, never used. She decided to give it to me. Its a Bushnell Voyager Sky Tour 78-9930. I’m getting the batteries for it and will try to look at the stars with my little daughter. Is it a decent telescope? Would I be able to see Elenin sometime in October with it maybe?


    1. astrobob

      Looks like a decent 3-inch reflector that will show great views of the moon, planets and brighter deep sky objects. The moon will return to the sky later this week, and Jupiter’s up high enough by 10 p.m. in the east for a good view. Probably too small to see Comet Elenin however.

      1. Drumbeat

        Thanks for the info AstroBob! How much magnification is needed to probably see a comet that far? I believe mine has up to 56, 88, 176. Is it true it’s better to see the moon’s surface when it is not a Full moon? I read that somewhere.

        1. astrobob

          Magnification isn’t the important thing for faint objects. It’s aperture or how large your lens or mirror is. I’m guessing you’ll need at least an 8-inch telescope to see it. You’re right about the moon — best phase is around first quarter.

  177. J.C.

    I think the conjunction with the sun just passed yesterday and nothing unusual happened here on earth, another blow for the fortune tellers and psychics that made a lot of noice for just a small piece of ice don’t you think astrobob?

    1. astrobob

      No, nothing happened. Even if something were to happen, say the biggest earthquake of all time, it would still have nothing to do with the comet. Coincidence does not equal causality.

    1. astrobob

      There was / is no mysterious object behind the Comet. Just some kind of rumor fanned into a conspiracy. The comet is all by its lonesome. In all the pictures taken of it, nothing is following or near its orbit.

  178. cosmic30

    Hi astrobob, I just have a quick question. I have heard that objects with a dense core (say comprised of metals that do not have a gaseous form that bounces light back) be looked at though a normal telescope? Or do you have to use something like an infra-red telescope? If so, could it be possible to miss if an object were behind elenin? I realize that if there were such an object as big as a dwarf star would create havok on other celestial bodies.

    1. astrobob

      A solid metal body would reflect light very nicely, even if the metal wasn’t shiny. Charcoal-black asteroids reflect light and are visible in small telescopes. A brown dwarf star would be the size of a planet like Jupiter and not be missed no matter if dense or dark as charcoal. Even if we imagine that it emits no light (impossible but we’ll pretend) it would readily reflect sunlight and be plainly visible with the naked eye at Comet Elenin’s distance. As for neutron stars, they’d betray themselves very quickly through powerful emitted radiation and their gravitational pull. Planet-sized stars like white dwarfs would be extremely bright. This rumor of things behind Elenin is the same as the supposed object(s) in the wake of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. In both cases, nothing was (is) there despite generous helpings of wishful thinking on youtube and other sites.

  179. Sam Bell

    Hey AstroBob: On when you find the supposed Elenin, with Infrared, …. I just type in moon, click go, then zoom out until I see the partially blacked out portion of something while using Infrared, it looks like something with many flaring red tails, and I remember seeing it before it was partially blacked out, and why is it now partially blacked out. A lot say that is comet Elenin. What is that thingy? Some other dude thinks that is Nibiru, and that the comet is a bit down below under it, very very tiny. What really creeps me out astrobob, is that when you put in moon, and zoom out, using infrared, you see what looks like a loop or trail of fire under the icon of the moon. Now where is that fire trail coming from and what is it? Got any ideas about it?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Sam,
      I tried to replicate your result but with .. mixed results. Keep in mind that Google Sky is not an original source, but a piecing together of infrared frames that include some areas with data missing (the black or blank areas). The original material will have that area covered, so no mystery there. There are numerous artifacts like rays from bright infrared sources which would explain the red tails you see. Keep in mind the moon symbol is where the moon is right now, while the infrared atlas (background) was taken some time ago, so the two are not connected. As for Comet Elenin, it’s a small comet that has broken apart due to heat from its close approach to the sun. We’ll be lucky to even see in in a week or so when it’s up in the morning sky. “Niburu” is completely made up by the way, but the Web is so full of nonsense about it, that the idea has a life of its own. There is no scientific proof, not one observation or photograph of such a body.

  180. cosmic30

    Thanks for the prompt reply astrobob. I really get tired of hearing people that I know telling me things like Saturn has been knocked off its axis, and that the sun’s historic amount of solar activity is caused by this object that know one on this world has any knowledge about. And, even if it were true, most of us would never live to see the aftermath. People need to just live their lives and stop being so paranoid.

  181. jeanette

    so now my only question is about passing through the tail /: i heard it contains elements that are harmful to humans and animals

    1. astrobob

      All the information I’ve seen over the months indicates we won’t pass through Comet Elenin’s tail. Even if we did, the harmful things in comets are spread extremely thinly and won’t affect Earth. We passed through Comet Halley’s tail in 1910 and nothing bad happened. Not to worry.

  182. willem

    Hi Astrobob I am back with another set of questions. Found this on the net:

    A real large object hitting the sun. Could it be Elenin, when still around, it should be close to the sun by now? The object looks really big, could be a planet (lol). The speed issue is important (there is a counter which counts hours and minutes at the bottom). Also weird is the large opposite explosion, really large….. I believe the video is a fraud! What are your observations and thoughts of this event, really appreciate your view on this, bob!

    1. astrobob

      It is definitely not Comet Elenin. Wrong orbit plus it was intact, unlike Elenin which has broken to bits. Please read yesterday’s blog (and scroll down to the day’s before) for details on what happened. It was a small comet that completely vaporized in the sun’s heat. Blog address:

    1. astrobob

      Hi Tom,
      No, this is not correct. Comet Elenin, even when it was in one piece, was much too small and far away to block the sun and cause an eclipse. Besides, it never passed in front of the sun but missed it by over 2 degrees. Had it crossed directly in front of the sun, it would not have even been visible in most telescopes.

          1. astrobob

            Yes, the AAVSO has excellent information. Here’s the link:
            My understanding is that Eta Carinae is much too far away for its radiation to have much if any effect on Earth. Even Betelgeuse, which is expected to become a supernova, will have little if any effect on our planet, and it’s just 500 light years or so distant.

  183. VXIII

    Well Astrobob, its October 21st, and Elenin has passed, now some websites are still striking fear into peoples hearts for November, your presentation made sense, I read a book once about 2012, it stated that 12/21/12 is just the cosmic clock starting over from what I imagine the time man started using the stars to keep time and a calendar, its been a few years since I read it, what are your studies leading you to believe?

    1. astrobob

      Hi VXIII,
      Yes, I think you’re right. People used the movements of the stars and sun to tell time and plan and predict important events. As for the dating systems themselves, neither the Earth nor the rest of the universe care a whit about any of them. That’s why the so-called Mayan “prophesies” based on one reference date carved into a stella are just well … silly.

  184. VXIII

    One more question, reading your site I hear that Betelguese is expected to go supernova, since it is 640 light years away doesnt that mean it already happened 640 years ago?

    1. astrobob

      Good question. No one knows if Betelgeuse has already gone supernova or if will happen in 20 years or 2 million years. When that moment arrives, then we’ll find out 640 years later.

  185. VXIII

    You are very good and patient with people who come here with questions and fears, meteors, comets and star alignmebts do not scare me as much as my fellow man does…

  186. Eletube

    11 / 3 alignment, Sun-Earth-Elenin. Japan earthquake results.
    it was then known as Sept. 26 earthquake hazard, because there was another alignment. Sun-Earth-Elenin.
    and on November 24 there will be an alignment but then again Sun-Earth-Elenin (a la 11 / 3 japan)
    only the distance to the Earth than three times as small. and I expect only an effect on the earth when The alignment = Sun-Earth-Elenin.
    Perhaps there are certain forces between the Sun and that thing. magnetic field or something. and maybe it only goes wrong when the earth is in between .. but well, this is again purely based on information found.

    1. astrobob

      You might be new to the discussion we’ve had here on this topic, but this has come up many times in the past months. Suffice to say that there is no scientific evidence connecting any comet – including Elenin, which has broken up and largely vaporized away – with earthquake hazards. All the breathless Web hype is guesswork, surmise, speculation and pseudoscience. Elenin is (was) a very small comet and one of many which line up every year with the sun and Earth. Lineups like these are very common and do not lead to Earth disturbances — comets are simply too small to affect our planet unless they crash right into us. None are expected to for the foreseeable future.

    1. astrobob

      Closest approach is at 5:28 p.m. Central time, so it’s closing in. It won’t be running into the moon or Earth anytime soon … thankfully.

    2. astrobob

      Yes, you can see it from Spain but it will be low in the western sky for you right now. You’ll need at least a 6-inch scope to see it since it only shines at 11th magnitude. Maps are on my blog and can also be found through links on the blog.

  187. Brelan


    Truly I wish I were there to shake your hand in person for all of the fantastic sources, evidence and information you have provided. I was beginning to become a bit scared of the comet Elenin. Then after that I became scared slightly of brown dwarf stars and etc. But thanks to the information you provided in this discussion (which I read completely), I am now at ease. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all of these questions and comment on all of the posts in this discussion.

    If I have any question at all though, I’m curious if there is any significance of the date 11/11/11 (today)???

    I am 18 years old and am what you would call nearly a fanatic of sorts of science. (Especially astronomy and physics.) ever since i was little I LOVED knowing how things work and what makes them function. over the years I’ve done a lot of research (particularly around age 14 to present day) about anything that concerned me or worried me to set my mind at ease. Thanks to your discussion though through my research on the comet, the supposed planet x, brown dwarfs, honda, and levy, my mind is now at ease. thank you very much. 🙂

    (my brain hurts a little. haha) ^.^

    1. astrobob

      Dear Brelan,
      Thank you so much for such a nice letter. It was a great way to start my day. I’m happy you’ve found the information and discussion helpful, and hope you follow your passion in astronomy and physics. Those fields will never run out of extraordinary things to discover and study. As for 11-11-11, that’s the topic of today’s blog, which still needs polishing before it’s published.

      1. Brelan

        Thank you Bob. I’ll be sure to check back in off and on as the day goes on. Please let me know if you find anything interesting. ^.^ All I seem to be finding is Illuminati hogwash and doomsday fear mongering as usual. haha.

        Best wishes,


  188. Anonymous

    Whenever I read articles about the destruction or doom of earth I become really sad. I felt very happy after reading your blog. You have done quite a lot of research. Thanks for sharing this.

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