Tuesday, 18 October 2011

It is a "deceased" comet...it is no more....

Citing the Python team, and their famous "parrot" sketch is one way to start a post about a now missing comet, but Comet C/2010 X1, aka "Comet Elenin" (aka the Comet of Doom according to a large and quite vocal group of people online) is gone. After being struck by a large outburst from our nearest and dearest star, also known as "The Sun" which has a habit of popping out these big old explosions known as Coronal Mass Ejections, the comet has all but vanished. I am sure that some of the massive sky survey telescopes may pick up some clouds of dust or fragments, but when me and our team decided to try and find it using the 2m wide (almost the size of the Hubble Space Telescope) Faulkes Telescope atop a mountain in Hawaii, using one of the most sensitive cameras on the planet, well....we simply couldn't see it.

The data we had from the IAU minor planet centre should have put it smack bang in the middle of where we were imaging, but, and this is with a lot of images "stacked" (composited on top of each other in essence) it was not there...

So, with apologies to all the people who thought the world was coming to an end courtesy of this comet (And to be fair to both sides, in 1908, our planet may have been struck by a comet fragment in Tunguska, which did flatline vast area of land)...it's not going to happen this time folks...not to say that in a few decades a large lump of rock known as Apophis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99942_Apophis) won't hit us (slim chance, but it does exist), but for now, we are safe.

The projects I work on with various professional and other amateur astronomers around the world is hunting for these things...so I like to think I am doing my little bit to help keep the planet safe


  1. Hold the front page!!! we may have something!

  2. http://spaceisace-nickastronomer.blogspot.com/2011/10/never-give-up.html