Comet Elenin splits in two
Sep 07, 2011
It is being reported now by Leonid Elenin (the one who discovered the comet named after him) that Comet Elenin has broken up into at least two pieces. This appears to have started about August 20 when Michael Mattiazzo noticed "the comet's drop in brightness."
"As many readers already know, Comet Elenin has begun the irreversible process of breaking up...
"Now it is absolutely clear that the comet’s drop in brightness, first noted by Michael Mattiazzo on Aug. 20th, was not coincidental – the decay process had already begun, and over the course of the next several days the comet changed greatly. Its pseudo-nucleus became diffuse and extended, and later vanished completely. On images from Sept. 1st in the comet’s coma there was no condensation visible, and that meant the comet had already broken up into fairly small pieces, with a maximum size of not more than a hundred meters."
Other amateur astronomers looked at NASA pictures and saw that Elenin was broken up by a large explosion from an unidentified object nearby.
See also: Has Comet Elenin Split in Two or Distintegrated?
It will be interesting to watch and see how this may affect our view of the comet as it passes near the earth in October. Will there be debris to hit the earth in a "star shower"? Most important, perhaps, is WHO initiated that nearby explosion?
Dr. Stephen Jones