March 3, 2011 9 Comments
Recently discovered Comet Elenin is causing a stir amongst the conspiracy blogs as another potential candidate for the mythical 2012 Nibiru Earth-destroying celestial body. (Which it isn’t, in case you were worried).
Our very own MysteriousNZ crew get in on the action by asking some pertinent questions. Crakka wonders…
Is it a coincidence that the name of that comet is an anagram for “The Nine”? Interesting…
You know, try as I might, I can’t make the letters of “ELENIN” into the words “THE NINE” (I was never any good at crosswords though — if there’s some trick to this I’m missing, feel free to leave a comment below). Maybe it’s just more likely that it was named after Leonid Elenin, the Russian astronomer who discovered it?
Adds Niksta (who, to his credit, doesn’t buy into the Elenin scaremongering):
What I think about on a regular basis is that massive huge monster comet McNaught. We hardly heard a peep out of NAStyA or anyone, and yet the fuzzing thing took up a sizable portion of the sky!! Prolly only just missed us.
There’s lots of comet McNaughts (Robert H. McNaught has discovered quite a few), but, from the photo provided and the mention of its size we’re presumably talking about this one (C/2006 P1), which did indeed put on a nice show when it swung by a few years back, and was, according to the scientists, one of the biggest comets so far discovered.
So, how close did it get? Says Wikipdedia:
The comet was visible in daylight about 5°- 10° southeast of the Sun from January 12 to 14, with a peak brightness of magnitude -5.5. Perigee (closest approach to the Earth) was January 15, 2007, at a distance of 0.82 AU.
So, further from Earth than the orbit of Mars (a lot further, in fact).
In the words of Lance Corporal Jack Jones: “Don’t Panic!“