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If one looks carefully, three small satellites of the Sun can be made out in this zoomed-in and magnified movie from the HI-2 telescope on STEREO Ahead. Most easily seen is the short-period Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova on the left side of the movie. It's moving very slowly, and might have been mistaken for a camera defect if it didn't suddenly produce a beautiful and very active comet tail in response to the solar wind going by.
Just below Comet 45P is the asteroid Vesta, visibly moving against the star background.
The third object is our old-friend Comet Elenin, moving from right to left through the vertical center. Comet Elenin has dropped dramatically in brightness since late August and is no longer visible in many telescopes, including the HI-2 telescope on STEREO Behind. It is still faintly visible in HI-2 on STEREO Ahead.
Originally posted by ziggyproductions05
Does this mean Elenin is stil there? Has it been confirmed? Ive been hearing so much back and forth info on the topic i dont know what to believe...
where is that external quote from?edit on 10/13/11 by ziggyproductions05 because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by Chadwickus
reply to post by ignant
I don't believe NASA officially said anything about Elenin's demise.
Rest assured though, it is an ex comet.
There's no tail and hasn't been seen from earth since the 6th, when it was supposed to be visible.
There's nothing to worry about. Two images, one captured Aug. 19 and the other Sept. 6 during Elenin's journey toward the sun, show that it has dimmed. Comets tend to disintegrate as they approach the sun because of the amount of ice they contain. As pieces separate from the comet, they create dust trails in its wake, that, when crossed with Earth's orbit, create the meteor showers we love to watch.
Elenin's first journey into our inner solar system has not been gentle. The comet was hit by a coronal mass ejection (solar flare) Aug. 20, accelerating its disintegration shortly before its closest approach to the sun Sept. 10. Assuming the comet stays intact, it will continue on back into space after it approaches Earth on Oct. 16. Its orbital period is long and eccentric (anywhere from 12,000 to 600,000 years), and its modest size and rate of disintegration means it likely won't survive long enough to make a return trip. In fact, the jury is still out on whether Elenin is a periodic comet at all.