Comet Elenin Brightening A Hopeful Sign

Seen from this angle, Vesta resembles a walnut shell. The grazing angle of the sunlight highlights many fine textural details in the terrain. The smallest features visible are about 1.2 miles across. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Vesta’s looks positively groovy in this most recent photo taken by the orbiting Dawn spacecraft from 6,500 miles away. Dawn was traveling toward the nightside of the asteroid when the picture was taken, the reason why so much of the little world is in shadow. The large bump or mountain that you’ve seen in previous images is at center, while a portion of the towering rim of Vesta’s 285 mile diameter impact basin is seen at top at the 1 0’clock position.

Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1) on July 21 photographed through an 11-inch telescope. The bright condensation is the comet's nuclear region, an area of denser gas and dust. Within this but shrouded from view is the actual comet nucleus.The outer glow is the coma or tenuous 'atmosphere' made visible by sunlight reflecting off dust. Credit: Michael Mattiazzo

I’ve got good news about Comet Elenin. Southern hemisphere observers report it’s brightened up to a healthy magnitude 10. This puts it within easy range of 6-inch telescopes. Michael Mattiazzo of Victoria, Australia reports magnitude 10.5 on July 21 with a moderately condensed coma 3.5 minutes across (30 minutes equal one full moon diameter). He was using an 8-inch reflecting telescope and magnification of 45x. David Seargent, another Australian amateur astronomer and discover of Comet Seargent in 1978, reports Elenin’s brightness at magnitude 9.9 using a 25 x 100 binocular telescope. After lagging in brightness for several months, Elenin’s back in the game. I’m still hopeful it will rise to naked eye brightness in October.

Comet Elenin is shown for an observer in the southern U.S. (specifically Phoenix at latitude 33 degrees N) every five days tonight through August 22 about an hour and a half after sunset. Stars are plotted to 8th magnitude with the brighter ones labeled to help in navigating. Created with Chris Mariott's SkyMap software

Since the comet has perked up in brightness, that means observers in the southern U.S. will now have a good shot at seeing it in the next few weeks with the moon gone from the sky. Comet Elenin is currently in the constellation Leo. For a sky watcher in say, Phoenix, Arizona., it hovers about 10 degrees above the western horizon an hour and a half after sunset. Observers further south will have even better viewing opportunities with the comet higher up still.

If you’re new to the sky and don’t have a telescope, don’t bother looking for Elenin yet. It’s still too faint. But if you’re versed in the constellations, have a good view of the western horizon, a 6-inch or larger scope and know how to use a detailed star map, it’s worth the hunt. Should you find it, please share your observation with us.

82 Responses

  1. Eric

    Hello Astrobob I know comet honda is expected to visit on august 15, but do you have any info on it? Size, Distance, chance that it will hit us, etc…
    I would greatly appreciate it.. I hope this thing will not hit us..

    1. astrobob

      Hi Eric,
      Comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will not hit the Earth. It will be closest to us on August 15 at a healthy distance of 5.6 million miles. At that time, it will only be visible in the southern hemisphere. The comet moves rapidly northward after that and will appear in Leo in the morning sky in mid September. At brightest, it’s expected to be around 7th magnitude (visible in binoculars). Comet Elenin will be near near Honda in Leo on Oct. 8. Honda is a small comet with a diameter of 0.86+-0.37 km or about 1 mile in diameter.

      1. AstroJohn

        So what is all this hype and paranoia about comet Elinin and aligning with other big planets? Anticipared earthquakes around 25 Sept 2011? Why would the media not cover it and why are there so many posting videos about their affirmed predictions?

        1. astrobob

          The reason the media are not covering this is because it’s cooked-up nonsense, junk science, conspiracy theory and/or doomsday talk. The amount of it is simply staggering. It’s difficult to do a search for Comet Elenin on Google and find anything credible. Elenin is a typical comet like so many others that have visited the inner solar system over millenia. It will pass relatively close to Earth — 22 million miles — in October, which may boost the comet to naked eye brightness. It’s so small and far away, it will have no measurable effects on Earth.

          1. AstroJohn

            Thanks Bob, I hope you are correct in your analasys. It’s amazing how many YouTube videos there are about this and how righteous they all are. Tell me, what is the vested interest of these conspiracy theorists? How can they make any money on this or what other purposes would they have?

            I’m trying to sift out the junk from the facts and science from the lies, but it is amazingly difficult from the amount of misinformation and the twisted jesus freaks and their bible predictions. They are so convinced!

            You are the first one I’ve blogged with who have some logic and sane conviction and your input is appreciated.

            So in summary, please tell us;
            1) What is the purpose of all the conspiracy theory and/or doomsday talk? Are they making money on their phony 2012 websites?
            2) How do you explain the alignments and the dates of actual devestating earthquakes that actually took place, using NASA’s free JPL ?

          2. astrobob

            My guess is that fear and panic create opportunity whether it’s making money off gullible folks or the satisfaction of having people listen to you. I’ve written extensively in the Comments area about there being no connection between “alignments” of Comet Elenin/Nibiru, etc. and earthquakes. Please check there for my responses.

          3. AstroJohn

            Thanks Bob for your affirmations and I clearly see your standpoint from your earlier responses. Could you shed some light on this subject of NASA discovering the “10th” planet or Planet X back in the 80ies ?

            Seems like a lot of stories and hypothetical assumptions have evolved from this announcement as there is no follow up by NASA and it leaves it open for interpretation.

            Also would be great to hear from you what the “purpose” of the Jet Propulsion Lab is. With 2200 views and 1000nds of blogs and YouTube videos it is nothing but an invitation to mystery.

            Someone put together a geniously designed algorithm and integrated it into javascript for webview. But WHY?

            Don’t know what to think about it anymore and who to believe!

          4. astrobob

            John, please read this story for an answer to the supposed Planet X. It’s easier than me writing up my version. Check it out at

            You can easily find out what the Jet Propulsion Lab’s mission is by Googling it. They build and operate interplanetary spacecraft like current Cassini mission at Saturn and the Dawn mission to the asteroid Vesta. More here: and here:

          5. AstroJohn

            Thanks Bob for all your great links and information.

            However, what is your reasoning and logic behind all the recent and violent earthquakes and sunamis?

          6. astrobob

            John — Averaged over time, there are no more earthquakes now that there have been in past few decades. Their origin is in movements of the Earth’s crustal plates, not comet “alignments”.

  2. Sean M


    Any idea what the greatest magnitude Elenin will be? I’m dissapointed I missed the show McNaught put on and it would be nice for something similiar. I know the odds are unlikely due to Elenin’s size.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Sean, it’s predicted to brighten to about 6th magnitude at maximum in early October. Let’s hope it does better than that : )

  3. Mandy

    Hi Bob,
    Please could you tell me if you know who Otto Matic is? The chap who has worked out Elenin’s size, trajectory etc. Sounds like a possible joke name.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Mandy, I don’t know. I’ve seen that name used on the orbital diagrams for comets and asteroids for some time. Perhaps it’s a nickname for a computer.

  4. Allen gibson

    hi,,im having trouble distinguishing between the size of elenin,,nasa has changed its position on the size, twice that i know of,,ive heard 40 then 80,000 km across?

    1. astrobob

      Hi Allen, first off, it’s important to remember that those large sizes refer to the comet’s tenuous coma or atmosphere, not the comet itself, which is a small object buried inside the cloud of gas and dust it produces. I had not heard NASA changing size estimates but wouldn’t be surprised, since comas expand as a comet moves from beyond the asteroid belt into the inner solar system. Can you refer me to specific NASA data?

  5. Philip Padilla

    Hello Bob
    Do you know anything about a red-like planet with moon orbiting around on coordinates
    5H 53m 27s, -6: 10: 58 that was blocked by google sky?. There are pictures of it before it was supposedly blocked. Thanks

    1. astrobob

      Hi Philip, I know about the spot. It’s one of at least several where a chunk of data was lost when whoever created Google Sky stitched the frames together. It was not deliberately blocked — instead it’s an artifact of how the atlas was constructed. If you can get a hold of the original source, which appears to be the Palomar Sky Survey, you will find that the data is there. I’ve seen it. The piece of ‘missing sky’ appears much like the area around it.

        1. astrobob

          Philip, it’s hard to know if the person’s deliberately lying or simply misinformed and making assumptions. Either way, he’s wrong about a coverup and wrong about Nibiru, which is a completely made up object. Please see this video for a thorough explanation about the missing Google Sky data. I think you’ll find it very informative:

  6. thomas s

    hi bob, i have to plead ignorance but what is behind the story involving the red planet with a moon circling around it? is this a reference to some planet circling a star outside our system (which I guess that it is)? and what is the significance of the alleged cover up or whatever? thanks for any information that you could give: I am totally clueless on this point. thanks as usual.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Tom, sounds fishy to me especially if the word ‘cover up’ is involved. As you’re aware, there’s a vast amount of conspiracy talk on the Web regarding any number of astronomical topics. Sounds like more ‘Nibiru’ nonsense.

  7. Molly

    I’d like to know what your thoughts are, if any, on the Hopi referencing such a ‘blue star’ that may or may not be Comet Elenin.

    1. astrobob

      Molly, from what I’ve read, it’s more doomsday talk. Comet Elenin is an ordinary comet that will hopefully make a nice show in the October morning sky and then pass back into deep space, like so many other comets. It hasn’t and won’t effect the Earth in a measurable way.

  8. jessie leigh

    Bob I just read about how NASA is confused about comet elenin not being a comet?? It said something about how its a cluster. Just worries me when NASA says they are confused about this. If so what would this mean for us if it is a “cluster”?

    1. astrobob

      I haven’t heard of any such confusion from NASA. Can you cite your source? Amateur astronomers have been taking photos of it regularly. I just used one of these photos in my blog that was taken about a week ago. Comet Elenin looked like a typical comet in the image. There’s no ‘cluster’ associated with it. I know of three amateur astronomers who have observed it in the past few days and report it looking normal.

      1. jessie leigh

        ok i googled this after i watched a video on youtube and in the video he said NEW PICS from Elenin and he called it a cluster. He read about this in the frist link, and reported it on his channel. at first i was like, ok whatever i dont buy this. but then i googled it. i dont know. im over reacting. and i keep telling myself its people scarying people about this comet. but i believe you though!

        1. astrobob

          Hi Jessie,it’s hard to say those photos are even of the comet. Assuming they are, the extra blobs would be stars that recorded during the time exposure. The other tinier things are just pixels in the image. There is no ‘cluster’ – whatever that is – associated with Comet Elenin. I wish you had the ability to see it for yourself through a telescope. Observers in Brazil and Australia report it looking completely normal. While I can’t wait for all the hogwash and disinformation to blow over once Elenin fades away, I know the doomsday groups will seize upon something else in no time. It’s such a pity considering how wonderful a thing a comet is in and of itself.

  9. Mike

    Check out this Interview astrobob. I am sure you will enjoy it 🙂

    So this comet is in a hyperbolic orbit? Amazing….


    1. astrobob

      Mike, yes, the comet’s on a hyperbolic orbit, but this type of orbit often changes to parabolic after a ‘tour’ through the inner solar system.

  10. d


    Saying that the coma is 3.5 min across, in July 21st, Elenin then being at 1.62672538 AU, means that the coma size is close to 197 millions of km!?!

    Is this possible?
    and since I took in consideration diameter and not radius for the coma, I’m off… it would be around September 12th.

    Let me know if I’m missing something here.
    Please advise.

    1. astrobob

      Dear d, check your calculations again. Assuming a 3.5 minute coma diameter, that translates to a radius of approximately 90,000 miles at the 1.6 A.U. distance. Plenty of space between Earth and comet! Consider the planet Jupiter. It’s 88,000 miles across (40″ current apparent diameter) and currently three times farther from the sun than Elenin. If you brought Jupiter in to 1.6 A.U., it’s disk would be 120″ or 2 arc minutes in diameter. Elenin is one and a half times (we’ll round up to 2) that size or 88,000 miles multiplied by 2 = 176,000 miles across. Cut that in half to get a radius of 88,000 miles. Elenin’s coma will probably expand more but if it would have to break all records to come close to Earth. A LARGE coma is in the neighborhood of a couple million miles in diameter and Elenin will get no closer than 22 million. Tails on the other hand can grow much longer. Either way, tail and coma are both exceedingly rarefied and would not threaten Earth.

      1. d

        thanks for your answer already.
        Here’s the math I used.
        d = 2 Dtan(¢/2)
        d : diameter of the object
        D : distance earth/object
        ¢ : angular diameter in degrees

        ¢ is 3.5 arcminutes gives 0.058333333333450005 degrees
        lets put D at 1.6 AU convert in km
        then d = 2 x 239 356 800 tan(0.058333333333450005/2)
        d = 193743520,843203 km

        1. astrobob

          Thanks d. Something must not be right because this would imply a coma over 120 million miles in diameter or a third greater than Earth’s distance from the sun. Heck, it would fill the sky! Since it obviously doesn’t, something’s wrong in the figuring. Elenin’s coma is rather small and ordinary — both visually through the telescope and in photos — much like many other comets at its current distance from sun and Earth. Since math’s not my strong suit, perhaps another reader could take a look at d’s numbers and report back to us.

        2. astrobob

          ‘d’ e-mailed me this when he realized he had a problem with the calculator he was using. In the end, both our answers regarding Comet Elenin’s coma size are in the ballpark. His e-mail is below:
          >Hi Bob,
          >I actually found the problem. I was using a copy paste to report digits from my >converter to the calc and for some reason, when pasting the degrees to the calculator >it messes up. It would rewrite ¢ to ¢E16 in our proper case.
          >Doing it manually I have better results… was for a bad day.

          >So here it is :
          >D : 1,62672538 AU
          >¢ : 3,5′ or 0.05833333333345 degrees

          >so d = 2 x (243354863) x tan(0.05833333333345/2)
          >d = 123880 km.

          >Much better.

          >My bad really. The math and formula was ok. First time I used the computer calculator >for that kind of thing and I shouldn’t have.

          >I cannot edit the comments I’ve made. Better to correct them.
          >Thank you for your help in solving it.

          1. d

            Sorry Bob,

            I couldn’t get in before.

            As said a bad behavior from the calculator on my computer lead to a wrong result.

            My bad.


          2. Ian BIshop

            so 123,000 km = 76, 428 miles
            -From New York to London is 3,458 miles
            -From Los Angeles to London is 5,382 miles
            -Earth’s Circumference at the Equator: 24,901.55 miles (40,075.16 km)
            -Earth’s Circumference Between the North and South Poles: 24,859.82 miles (40,008 km)
            — Earth’s Diameter at the Equator: 7,926.28 miles (12,756.1 km)
            —-Earth’s Diameter at the Poles: 7,899.80 miles (12,713.5 km)

            even if comets are made up of gas and ice , that sure is big!

  11. riddick

    Hey bob when the comet does p[ass will it block out the sun!if so how long?
    Thx Bob and let me add your my idol

    1. astrobob

      Riddick, please scroll down a bit in the Comments section. I answered this question in detail a couple days ago. The short answer is: no, the comet will not pass in front of the sun from our perspective on Earth. Even if it did, no one would notice.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Jessie, I addressed this a couple days ago from another reader. Here is a copy of my reply:
      If you look at the iReport closely, you’ll see that it’s labeled “Not Vetted” by CNN. Anyone can submit an article to CNN’s online iReport. Here is what the “Not Vetted” label means according to CNN’s site: “The label “Not vetted by CNN” lets you know that this story hasn’t been both checked and cleared by a CNN editor.” In other words, someone posted an amazing amount of conspiratorial nonsense, which CNN has not cleared for use on air or on any of its other platforms. Remember too that this was written by a “citizen journalist”, not someone who works for CNN.

        1. astrobob

          It’s only another attempt to scare people with disinformation. You can safely ignore it as nonsense.

  12. Mandy

    Hi Bob,
    Thanks for your last answer. Now for the really stupd questions. Taking aside all the hype out there and bearing in mind that I am just an ignoramus, but my simple comon sense has put together the following from the verified facts. 1) The coma is now 200,000 km wide, the comet will pass in front of us, we will be in it’s tail. It apparently contains cyanide. As it has been postulated and now pretty much accepted that life on earth may have begun due to comets ingredients dumping on earth, is it possible we will have cyanide to contend with ?
    2) The scenario possibility posed by (some websites) makes a case for a biblical dissaster, the only worrying thing about his pretty sensible sounding hypothesis is that when I investigated who owned the site it led to a company set up as a platform for DARPA (who I then found is Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ) If they are promulgating this missinfo – why?
    3) It is great to have someone to discuss with rather than dismissing us plebs as ‘ conspiracy theorists’, (especially as some of those conspiracy theories are looking like conspiracy cover ups which really do need questioning) so thank you for your time and effort.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Mandy, thank you very much. Since the comet will not pass directly between us and the sun, we will likely not have a brush with the tail. If we did, we would encounter a minor amount of dust that might produce some additional meteors. The cyanogen, a poisonous compound, is found in many comets and concentrated more in the coma rather than the tail. We’ll be very far indeed from the coma. What little cyanogen is in the tail would be so minute as not to affect Earth in any way. We passed through Comet Halley’s tail, which had some amount of cyanogen, back in 1910 with no ill effects.
      I don’t know about the DARPA thing. The website looks like somebody who started off on the right foot, but then went on to imagining disasters.

  13. Ohio Frontiersmen

    Hi Bob,

    Someone gave me some coordinates and said you can see comet Elenin and Nibiru, both in the sky. The coordinates are:

    1. ELENIN – 11h21m15.36s + 03 deg 34 feet 26.6 i­nches
    2. NIBIRU – 09h47m57.30s+ 13 deg 16 feet 44 inc­hes

    If you get a chance, can you take a peek? Thanks!

    1. astrobob

      Hi Ohio, Comet Elenin was near those coordinates on July 28. Unfortunately I can’t see the comet from my location until October. It’s overwhelmed by twilight right now. As for the bogus, manufactured planet/star “Nibiru”, those coordinates are near the Leo-Cancer border and too near the sun for observation.

  14. Ohio Frontiersmen

    Thanks Bob. But I’m puzzled at your comment about the “bogus, manufactured planet/star “Nibiru”. As a scientist, shouldn’t you wait until you can demonstrate the coordinates as being fake as opposed to outright denial despite the fact you cannot see it? I like you Bob. I have read many posts on this site and feel as if I know you are a man of integrity (even though I do not know you personally). If I posted specific coordinates for you to research, don’t you feel at least a bit interested in observing the area BEFORE you swat me away as a “kook”?

    If you cannot see it, then fine. But why classify it as imaginary if you even admit you cannot make observations to the contrary?

    PS – Gosh, with all these crazy questions, you must be a busy man! LOL

    1. astrobob

      You’re welcome, Ohio and no offense intended. It’s not you and the coordinates, rather the assumed certainty of “Niburu”, which is a completely manufactured object. I’ve been reading about this purported planet or star for at least a year, and there’s not a shred of scientific evidence for its physical existence. The reason I preface “Niburu” with the adjectives I do is because I want to make sure that when it does come up in the Comments area, people understand my position. I don’t want to give credence to something for which there’s not a single observation. Until professional and amateur astronomers provide regular photographs, reports and publish research on “Niburu”, it’s just good old pseudoscience.
      As for that second set of coordinates (“Niburu”), they’re too close to the sun to see in a dark sky.

  15. Kevin

    Hi Astrobob –

    Great reporting! I was wondering if you could tell me when Elenin reaches Cancer and if it will fly through Orion. Any trajectory pics available? (On its way out – post October.7). And actually, where and when will it pass through Leo?

    So if possible, dates and star charts of this would be immensely helpful. Thank you good sir for your kind contributions.

    1. astrobob

      Hey Kevin – thanks! Comet Elenin will leave Virgo and enter Leo on October 2. I created a map that shows the comet’s path from late July to mid-October. See:

      The comet enters Cancer on October 15 and continues moving west until it ends up in Aries, where it stays for some months before very slowly moving back east again. In the year 2058 it reenters Cancer and remains there for at least several thousand years! It never crosses into Orion from our perspective here on Earth. The closest it comes is northern Taurus.

      1. Kevin

        Very exciting. Quick follow-up – Where is the location of Mars on Oct. 11? You have a picture of Oct. 7 (great pic!) showing both Honda and Elenin, but I am curious if you also have one for the 11th..

        Also, is there any free visual sky software you recommend?

        1. astrobob

          Mars is almost in the same spot in Cancer on the 11th as it was on the 7th, just a bit farther to the east. Comet Honda-M-P is also similarly placed (a bit east of the 7th), while Elenin has moved well to the west, located a few degrees due north of Regulus, Leo’s brightest star. There are a couple free star charting programs: Stellarium at and Cartes du Ciel at

    1. astrobob

      Hi Robert — Aw, come on, give me a harder one! Just kidding. There’s no doubt that this is the contrail of a very distant jet colored by the light of a low sun near sunrise or sunset. I’ve seen these many times. They appear surprisingly bright. You’ll almost always see the two, separate, closely-spaced “tails”because the engines are on either side of the aircraft with the body in between.

      1. Robert

        I looked contrails up on YouTube and within the minute found one almost completely matching the one in the link. Thank you! Man, I feel better. Lol… I gotta lay off on the conspiracies.

        1. astrobob

          Robert — Yeah, you have to be careful, conspiracies can be catching! Glad you verified it for yourself.

  16. stephanie

    hi I just wanted to clear everything up about the comet because a friend of mine got me soo paranoid its not funny! if something were gonna happen to earth would they even tell us? I mean is would cause mass hysteria and noone would want that!! and another thing if a comet were coming towards earth would nasa be able to stop it? or anything else in that matter? and why is everyone making such a big deal about Elenin and not comet honda if its nothing? please help me Im a very worried mother of 8 thank you!!!

    1. astrobob

      Hi Stephanie,
      People are making a big deal about Comet Elenin / Honda because they’re reading lots of junk science and doomsday nonsense on the Internet based on guesswork, rumor and general paranoia and then spreading it around. Nothing bad has happened or will happen on our planet from Comet Elenin. It will breeze by like so many other comets. Since it might be breaking up now, I only hope enough of it stays together so we’ll get a good view come October here in the northern hemisphere.

      1. stephanie

        thanks Astrobob for getting back to me Im starting to feel a little better since Im getting facts about the comet but just say a comet or something else did threaten our planet could Nasa stop it? do they have the instraments to do so? and is it common to have so many comets around earth at one time? thank you again

        1. astrobob

          It’s typical to have comets coming and going all year. In August alone, I’ve observed six comets through my telescope. Others with better instruments and observing conditions have seen 10 or so. I don’t think NASA could stop a comet from hitting the Earth unless they discovered it far enough in advance to allow time to work with other space agencies to build a device/rocket that could be sent to the comet to alter its orbit. Missions like this are being considered but none has ever been built. By the way, no comets are known to be on a collision course with Earth.

  17. stephanie

    Oh thank you soo much!! I just have been racking my brains about this whole comet thing!! I just get very upset when I see websites about the comet doing damage too earth… I also read a website about comet Honda suppose to hit us in Aug but that was wrong lol!! I live in upstate Ny would I be able to see it? and what day to look?

    1. astrobob

      Stephanie — You’ll be able to see it in a telescope in the sky just before dawn in the constellation Leo starting in about mid-September. I’ll be writing about it and providing a little map to find it closer to that date.

  18. stephanie

    Thanks alot for all ur help!! you mentioned in your reply if it stays together is it possible that it might disinergrate? and how is that possible? is that common for comets to do so?

    1. astrobob

      Yes, comets have occasionally been observed to break up. If the pieces are large and the comet is periodic, meaning it returns on a routine schedule, each fragment can become a comet of its own. Comet babies!

  19. LinkC

    Bob– You have the patience of a saint! As an avid amateur, I’ve been deluged with questions about this Elenin nonsense. Now I’ll just send them here!

    Be prepared, the latest wrinkle is it’s the second coming of Christ; thus not subject to the laws of science!

    Thanks for being the voice of reason in a sea of bullfunky…

    1. astrobob

      Hi LinkC,
      Thanks a lot!!! — I guess. LOL 😉
      Well, you know what it’s been like then. We have to do our best to be honest, accurate and understanding.

  20. mark

    Hi Bob. Just wanted to make a comment about Elenin. I’ve seen this nonsense about doom from outer space before, and even got taken in by it. Remember Toutatis? That was a classic, and taught me a BIG lesson. If Nasa SAYS an object will miss us by millions of miles, and we will suffer no ill effects whatsoever, then that is what WILL happen.

    These people spouting doom and gloom about Elenin need to take a long hard look at themselves, as I did after Toutatis.

    This isn’t having a go at the people taken in by the doom, it’s the ones promoting it that need to be VERY careful what they are saying. You only have to look at the worries of the mother of 8 above to realise the damage you are doing!

    Also, Nasa, and so called ‘respectable’ sites like Spaceweather, shouldn’t engage in these speculations by posting rebuttals, as they did recently, in my opinion, because that gives the doom merchants fuel for their fire.

    I’m hoping Elenin will brighten up a LOT to give us all a show in the autumn/winter night skies this next few weeks. That would be brilliant.

    Cracking site by the way Bob, and very reassuring.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Mark — I’d forgotten all about asteroid 4179 Toutatis. Yet another scare based on disinformation or to crank up book sales. The manufacture of threats based on exaggerations, etc. is so constant, it should sharpen our skeptical “inner ear”. We should expect any claim of catastrophe to be to backed up with hard evidence and experiment, not coincidence and conjecture.

  21. Stephen

    Astro bob.. how do you explain the March 11th alignment and subsequent largest recorded earthquake in japan history.. Or the fact that world leaders will be in recess worldwide on the next alignment date with Elenin which is September 27th. There is also a major FEMA drill in Denver next week along with many NASA top advisers being there not to mention Obama being there on the 27th as well.. Seems odd so many in power are in such funny places like Denver etc. You do realize Denver has major underground bunkers built. This info isn’t speculation. Some power players on the planet seem to be taking this quite seriously.

  22. John

    Well – here it comes; Sept 27-29

    Is this blog and thread dead or do we have a bunch of people tracking and predicting “the alignment” and watching for the next massive earthquake?

    I for sure hope that NOTHING happens and I really want to wish all the doomsday predictors are wrong. It’s hard to sift out the facts from the truth and science with all the false information and hyper idiocies that are uploaded.

    1. astrobob

      It’s not as hard as you think to sift the true from the false. The more outrageous the claim, the less likely it is to be true. I’ll also add this from Carl Sagan as to why these claims will alway persist: “You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe”.

  23. John

    September 26 – 27 – 29 came and left. As far I as know there were no “alignment incidents”. Funny how all the “predictors” shuts up and don’t respond when nothing happened which they were so convinced of. YouTube is just one mish mash of idiocies and hoaxes! Thanks Bob for instilling confidence in logical people.

    1. astrobob

      Hi John,
      You’re welcome! Yes, I noticed things quieted down considerably just after those dates. On the blog, too. Don’t worry, though, the next hoax — whatever it might be — is surely in the making.

  24. John

    I’m back!

    Well, Elinin seems to be a dead subject for the moment and as you “counter predicted” nothing happened. No earth quakes or disasters, despite they many “evidences” of earlier alignments.

    In browing the web and watching History channel on TV, I’m taking in the information through a filter and critical eye from now on.

    I just watched my favorite channel which has “most truth” or entertainment; The History Channel. There was an episode about The Apocalypse Islands. Very mysterious and convinsing, leaving me in suspense like I have to wait to the winter solstace 21 December 2012 and “see what happens”.

    I went to the web and searched around and found the clip about this episode. Lots of critical blogs and comments that this is all BS.

    Again – is this a professional hoax with the vested interest to make money on rumor and fear mongering?

    1. astrobob

      This is another hoax short on fact and big on imagination. Very slick production as well. The islands referred to are 3,300 miles away from Guatemala (center of the Mayan empire) off the coast of southern Chile. What the heck were the Mayans doing so far from home? There is no evidence for them in the South Pacific. Given the human penchant for seeing faces and figures in just about anything, the “monument” is almost certainly eroded volcanic rock. Looks like it to me anyway. Here are a few more relevant facts: the November 13, 2012 total solar eclipse will NOT be visible from the Apocolyse Islands (Juan Fernandez Islands), because they’re not in the path of totality. Anyone there will only see a partial eclipse. The path of totality crosses the South Pacific, islands near Australia and that country’s northeastern coast. As for the Venus transit, there’s no evidence Mayans predicted them. Not only that, but the transit will NOT be visible from there, because the sun will have just set. I find it unbelievable that the History Channel didn’t check out these facts out before airing their report. While we all like a good mystery, there’s nothing more than wishful thinking here. Uh-oh — here we go again 🙂

  25. John

    Thanks again Bob!

    I love that you blow holes in their made up idiocies with your facts and comments!

    I just don’t understand how the media and “information channels” have become so corrupt and twisted. They feed on greed and people’s craving for answers to their fancies and created mysteries. Just to get the rankings of viewers so they can make money on their advertising!!!

    One really have to look with a critical eye on any information being fed to us these days – specifically FOX, CNN, ABC and any other news channels that are government controlled.

    It’s totally amazing how off the rails this is!

    1. astrobob

      It’s also interesting to note that the guy making the claims – Jim Turner – is asking people for donations of $25 – 500 to support his “research”. No historical human presence was ever found on or near the volcanic spires (“monuments”). Scams are everywhere. It pays to have a critical eye especially on amazing claims like this one.

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