I haven’t seen it yet but its discoverer, Leonid Elenin, remotely photographed the comet early this morning using a computer-operated telescope in New Mexico. The news is bad for visual observers – Comet Elenin is exceedingly faint, around 18th magnitude. If that’s all that remains of the comet, it will be too faint to spot visually in even large telescopes.
As the comet rapidly moves higher into a darker sky in the next few mornings, a tenuous dust cloud might still show in large amateur scopes, but that’s only a hope. From here on out, time-exposure photos taken through large telescopes may be the only option to keep track of the comet’s debris. In an e-mail communication this morning with Mr. Elenin, he pointed out that because the comet is so faint, more images will be needed to confirm that what’s shown in his photo are its remains.
Note: For today’s blog on Jupiter and choice sights, please scroll down.