What Is Comet Elenin?

On July 11, 2011, in Planet X, by James

I have added this article as many people have been asking me about exactly what Comet Elenin is.

By Kristen Claire Jones

Elenin or C/2010X1 discovered by the Russian astronomer Leonid Elenin on 10 December 2010 is a comet travelling in a long elliptical orbit around our sun. Very little is known about this comet because of its recent discovery, but it is causing a stir amongst astrophysicists who are working hard to try and nail down accurately its size (quite small they think) mass and orbit.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has an interactive program of Elenin’s orbit with the currently known information showing variable positions. We know it is scheduled this year to enter our solar system (in fact has already done so, passing Mars), make its perihelion turn around the sun, past earth, then back out into space again.

Space distance is measured in astronomical units (au) with 1 au being the distance between the earth and the sun. Elenin is currently estimated to pass within 21.7 au of earth after it makes its turn around the sun. But the exact position/path is unknown. There are many factors that could affect this with the slightest push/pull creating unexpected results. Gravitational forces from planets in the inner solar system as they align themselves during the comets incoming path could potentially act, causing that path (and the gap between itself and earth) to widen or shrink. But even this is up for debate.

An academic from Cornell University, Mensur Omerbashich, has presented a paper outlining his theory that there is a tangible link between cosmic alignments and seismic activity on earth, based on his theory of hyper resonance. He presents evidence that some earthquakes happen on planetary alignments or full moons. He agues that the comet Elenin is a case in point noting that it was on the exact opposite side of the sun to us during the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami. Keith Hunter expressed similar views about the connection between cosmic events and earthquakes at the recent Elenin video conference.

Astronomer Andy Lloyd also at the conference, makes the observation that if Omerbashich wants to give credence to his theory, he needs to pick up the trail of a future incoming comet, plot its course until an alignment is achieved with the earth and the sun then predict seismic disturbances here on earth, preferably ahead of time!

Omerbashich predicts that Elenin will continue intensifying strong seismic activity around the world through until August-October 2011.

Last night here in Auckland, New Zealand, we had a 2.9 earthquake, just a baby compared to Christchurch’s recent quakes and aftershocks but it’s certainly the first I’ve felt in this region which is an area not generally prone to the shakes and shudderings of other parts of the country. Such things along with all the earthquake activity around the world right now crystallises the mind into considering all potential possibilities and causes.

NASA’s David Morrison takes the view that we will not be aware of the gravitational pull from Elenin. Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near Earth Object program office at JPL states that “you’ve got a modest sized icy dirt ball that is getting no closer than 35 million kilometres… It will have an immeasurably miniscule influence on our planet.”

Australian, Ian Musgrave looks into this too in his dissection of Omerbashich’s paper about Elenin in his astroblog. He considers that Omerbashich has failed to factor in main belt asteroids and 46 other comets that reached perihelion in 2010 and asks why Elenin should behave any differently than these other objects in space. He states that “the most plausible astronomical source of earthquakes is the moon which causes the strongest lithospheric tides.” But even this he dismisses as a possibility at the end of his blog.

Something is creating a great deal of upheaval around the world. Whether it is caused by cosmic events, man-made effects or mother nature is hard to pin down.

For anyone interested in a much broader more esoteric approach to the topic of Elenin, Kerry Cassidy from Project Camelot chaired a roundtable video conference on 24 June about the comet which included contributions from Richard Hoagland, Andy Lloyd, Keith Hunter, Carl Johan Calleman and Joseph Farrell all with slightly varying takes on the significance (if any) of Elenin. This is a fascinating conference and reminds me that taking only an approach based on existing knowledge leaves half the picture in darkness and is much less fun!

For some reason this comet has captured people’s imagination.

Yeomans sums it up nicely this way.

“This comet may not put on a great show… But there is cause to marvel..This intrepid little traveller will offer astronomers a chance to study a relatively young comet that came here from beyond our solar systems planetary region. After a short while it will be headed back out again and we will not see or hear from Elenin for thousands of years. That’s pretty cool.”

Kristen Claire Jones

For more detailed research on earthquakes check out



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