NASA squelches comet Elenin fears

NASA got tired of answering doomsday questions, so issued a statement and FAQs to deal with the nonsense.

Comet Elenin Poses No Threat to Earth

Trajectory of comet Elenin.

Often, comets are portrayed as harbingers of gloom and doom in movies and on television, but most pose no threat to Earth. Comet Elenin, the latest comet to visit our inner solar system, is no exception. Elenin will pass about 22 million miles (35 million kilometers) from Earth during its closest approach on Oct. 16, 2011.

Also known by its astronomical name C/2010 X1, the comet was first detected on Dec. 10, 2010 by Leonid Elenin, an observer in Lyubertsy, Russia, who made the discovery “remotely” using an observatory in New Mexico. At that time, Elenin was about 401 million miles (647 million kilometers) from Earth. Since its discovery, Comet Elenin has – as all comets do – closed the distance to Earth’s vicinity as it makes its way closer to perihelion, its closest point to the sun.

NASA scientists have taken time over the last several months to answer your questions. Compiled below are the some of the most popular questions, with answers from Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and David Morrison of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

Most Popular Questions About Comet Elenin

When will Comet Elenin come closest to the Earth and appear the brightest?

Comet Elenin should be at its brightest shortly before the time of its closest approach to Earth on Oct. 16, 2011. At its closest point, it will be 22 million miles (35 million kilometers) from us.

Will Comet Elenin come close to the Earth or between the Earth and the moon?

Comet Elenin will not come closer to Earth than 22 million miles (35 million kilometers). That’s more than 90 times the distance to the moon.

Can this comet influence us from where it is, or where it will be in the future? Can this celestial object cause shifting of the tides or even tectonic plates here on Earth?

There have been incorrect speculations on the Internet that alignments of comet Elenin with other celestial bodies could cause consequences for Earth and external forces could cause comet Elenin to come closer. “Any approximate alignments of comet Elenin with other celestial bodies are meaningless, and the comet will not encounter any dark bodies that could perturb its orbit, nor will it influence us in any way here on Earth,” said Don Yeomans, a scientist at NASA JPL.

“Comet Elenin will not only be far away, it is also on the small side for comets,” said Yeomans. “And comets are not the most densely-packed objects out there. They usually have the density of something akin to loosely packed icy dirt.

“So you’ve got a modest-sized icy dirtball that is getting no closer than 35 million kilometers [about 22 million miles),” said Yeomans. “It will have an immeasurably minuscule influence on our planet. By comparison, my subcompact automobile exerts a greater influence on the ocean’s tides than comet Elenin ever will.”

I’ve heard about three days of darkness because of Comet Elenin. Will Elenin block out the sun for three days?

“As seen from the Earth, comet Elenin will not cross the sun’s face,” says Yeomans.

But even if it could cross the sun, which it can’t, astrobiologist David Morrison notes that comet Elenin is about 2-3 miles (3-5 kilometers) wide, while the sun is roughly 865,000 miles (1,392,082 kilometers) across. How could such a small object block the sun, which is such a large object?

Let’s think about an eclipse of the sun, which happens when the moon appears between the Earth and the sun. The moon is about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) in diameter, and has the same apparent size as the sun when it is about 250,000 miles (400,000 kilometers) away — roughly 100 times its own diameter. For a comet with a diameter of about 2-3 miles (3-5 kilometers) to cover the sun it would have to be within 250 miles (400 kilometers), roughly the orbital altitude of the International Space Station. However, as stated above, this comet will come no closer to Earth than 22 million miles.

I’ve heard there is a “brown dwarf” theory about Comet Elenin. Would its mass be enough to pull Comet Honda’s trajectory a significant amount? Could this be used to determine the mass of Elenin?

Morrison says that there is no ‘brown dwarf theory’ of this comet. “A comet is nothing like a brown dwarf. You are correct that the way astronomers measure the mass of one object is by its gravitational effect on another, but comets are far too small to have a measureable influence on anything.”

If we had a black or brown dwarf in our outer solar system, I guess no one could see it, right?

“No, that’s not correct,” says Morrison. “If we had a brown dwarf star in the outer solar system, we could see it, detect its infrared energy and measure its perturbing effect on other objects. There is no brown dwarf in the solar system, otherwise we would have detected it. And there is no such thing as a black dwarf.”

Will Comet Elenin be visible to the naked eye when it’s closer to us? I missed Hale-Bopp’s passing, so I want to know if we’ll actually be able to see something in the sky when Elenin passes.

We don’t know yet if Comet Elenin will be visible to the naked eye. Morrison says, “At the rate it is going, seeing the comet at its best in early October will require binoculars and a very dark sky. Unfortunately, Elenin is no substitute for seeing comet Hale-Bopp, which was the brightest comet of the past several decades.”

“This comet may not put on a great show. Just as certainly, it will not cause any disruptions here on Earth. But, there is a cause to marvel,” said Yeomans. “This intrepid little traveler will offer astronomers a chance to study a relatively young comet that came here from well beyond our solar system’s 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.”

This comet has been called ‘wimpy’ by NASA scientists. Why?

“We’re talking about how a comet looks as it safely flies past us,” said Yeomans of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office. “Some cometary visitors arriving from beyond the planetary region – like Hale-Bopp in 1997 — have really lit up the night sky where you can see them easily with the naked eye as they safely transit the inner-solar system. But Elenin is trending toward the other end of the spectrum. You’ll probably need a good pair of binoculars, clear skies and a dark, secluded location to see it even on its brightest night.”

Why aren’t you talking more about Comet Elenin? If these things are small and nothing to worry about, why has there been no public info on Comet Elenin?

Comet Elenin hasn’t received much press precisely because it is small and faint. Several new comets are discovered each year, and you don’t normally hear about them either. The truth is that Elenin has received much more attention than it deserves due to a variety of Internet postings that are untrue. The information NASA has on Elenin is readily available on the Internet. (See If this comet were any danger to anyone, you would certainly know about it. For more information, visit NASA’s AsteroidWatch site at

I’ve heard NASA has observed Elenin many times more than other comets. Is this true, and is NASA playing this comet down?

NASA regularly detects, tracks and characterizes asteroids and comets passing relatively close to Earth using both ground- and space-based telescopes. The Near-Earth Object Observations Program, commonly called “Spaceguard,” discovers these objects, characterizes a subset of them and predicts their paths to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet. For more information, visit the NASA-JPL Near Earth objects site at .

However, neither NASA nor JPL is in the business of actively observing Elenin or any other comet. Most of the posted observations are made by amateur astronomers around the world. Since Elenin has had so much publicity, it naturally has attracted more observers.

I was looking at the orbital diagram of Comet Elenin on the JPL website, and I was wondering why the orbit shows some angles when zooming? If you pick any other comet, you can see that there are no angles or bends.

Many people are trying to plot the orbit of the comet with the routine on the JPL website, without realizing that this is just a simple visualization tool. While the tool has been recently improved to show smoother trajectories near the sun, it is not a scientific program to generate an accurate orbit. Yeomans explains that the orbit plotter on the Near-Earth Object website is not meant to accurately depict the true motion of objects over long time intervals, nor is it accurate during close planetary encounters. For more accurate long-term plotting, Yeomans suggests using the JPL Horizons system instead: .

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August 17, 2011 10:00 pm

Maybe they need some Hansen FAQ’s, seeing how he (NASA) is one of the foremost harbingers of doom. Forget comets! It’s Carbon [sic]!

August 17, 2011 10:27 pm

Elenin is not an issue however there is one space rock that may well be: The Dark Headed Meteor. This monster is one of the main curses of my life. Having seen the damned thing a few times I seem to be stuck with the responsibility of having to do something about it; a thankless task which is rewarded only with ridicule. If you bother to read the following, which reports on four sightings and includes my best guess at its orbit please have a good laugh at me. I really don’t want to have anything to do with it but I do keep trying….
The Dark Headed Meteor is so called not because its head is dark but because it isn’t fully incandescent as is usually the case even with large meteors. It has to my knowledge been seen four times over East Kent since 1985 and should have been seen over France and East Anglia at east for the simple reason that it always travels in a South to North direction. It is unique in that it is a very large body and represents in my view a very serious risk to life and property.
So far I have credible explanations for the mode of capture of this object, its orbit and the failure of the now developed Near Earth Object detection systems to discover it. The only outstanding fact which does not make any sense to me is its reappearance within two degrees of longitude over Western Europe. Of course it may well have been seen in other parts of the world but has not to my knowledge been reported. It is a difficult object to report in any event as I have found.
Personally I would prefer not to have any interest in this object, I do not want to be involved, I do not want to have seen what I and others have seen and above all I want to be proved wrong as you will discover.
I first saw the dark headed meteor in October or November in 1985. At the time I was walking from the University of Kent, where I was studying a physics-astrophysics degree, towards Whitstable along the main road. When I reached Honey Hill at around midnight I became aware of a ruddy-orange flickering light behind which intensified and illuminated the ground around me. I turned and looked upwards to see a large space rock travelling silently from South to North almost directly overhead. It was ovoid being slightly longer than it was wide and had a slow rotation of perhaps two degrees per second. The head was wreathed in ruddy orange flame or plasma although about 2/3 of the body was relatively dark. It exhibited surface features including a prominent ridge and low points which lead me to identify the object as probably an S-Type asteroid. It flew over the Northern Horizon about eight seconds after the initial sighting which was made when it was just behind me. Before it left my sight the entire body was illuminated because by then I was viewing the object though its thin plasma tail which fully illuminated the head. I stood and waited for two minutes for the white flash which would announce the end of the world, but thankfully the flash never came. It was and remains the most astonishing, awesome and magnificent event of my life.
At the time I reported it to Space Sciences at UKC but was happy to conclude that we had a narrow escape as the asteroid would have simply bounced (surfed) off the Earth’s atmosphere never to be seen again. I was able to estimate the asteroids size from the fact that it was travelling silently. Any such object would have produced a sonic boom at heights below at least 25 miles and would probably not be able to exhibit plasma above 100 miles in height. This gives me size estimates of between two and eight miles in diameter although the fact that the rotation was discernible points towards the lower end of the size scale. This sighting was confirmed by a marine engineer I met about five years ago. At the time of his sighting he was sailing from Boulogne to Dover and was mid-channel.
The second sighting occurred in the summer of either 2003 or 2004 in the early hours of the morning. I was awakened in my bed by a ruddy-orange flickering light which intensified against the curtains. This was followed after about five to ten seconds by a rolling thunderous continuous boom which was shaking the windows of my house at its peak. The noise then faded away after the light had gone. I’m ashamed to say I decided to stay in bed rather than go to the flickering curtains and witnessing again what I had seen all those years ago but at much closer quarters. This sighting was confirmed to me by telephone by a man called Stuart who was fishing in Sandwich Bay with a friend. He described the entire countryside as being lit up with the flickering ruddy-orange light, and the rolling thunderous noise. He said they were both absolutely terrified as an enormous space rock flew “out of France and over Thanet” in just a few seconds. Again the track is South to North.
This object like the first one must have been seen by very many people. I have found a marked reluctance among people to discuss this, perhaps for fear of ridicule. How many people report such sightings and to whom? What is particularly concerning about this event is the noise which is probably a continuous series of sonic booms generated in the turbulent regions of the air mass moving both in front and adjacent to the meteor and perhaps many miles or even tens of miles in front of it. The time delay suggests a minimum height over Thanet of a mile but it could have been up to three miles because of the moving air mass in advance of the body itself. What is astonishing about this sighting is not so much that Thanet was nearly at the epicentre of a continent destroying event but that the object responsible is so massive it is able to sweep through the lower troposphere for many hundreds of miles and then disappear off into space for long periods of time. Because of its trajectory it must have been seen over Suffolk and Norfolk. It was so low it would have been seen for perhaps three seconds although the flickering light would have been visible for perhaps fifteen seconds.
In the spring of 2007 (probably late May) I was standing in the back garden looking West about 8:45pm when I saw what at first seemed to be a football coming over the roof of the house next door. I soon recognised it as a meteor, again travelling from South to North, this time with an interesting double headed structure and with some ruddy orange flame to the front of the head. I studied the meteor intently for the perhaps four seconds it was in view and noted that the second part of the head was made up of particulate matter subsumed into vortices behind the main head which then streamed out into a long dark tail which ignited into incandescent white light some thirty degrees of azimuth behind the head. Not having a camera in my hand and at the ready I subsequently made a drawing which is a good likeness of the meteor.
This time the object was again silent and not travelling overhead but at an elevation of around 25 degrees. The presence of the long dark tail suggests that there was significant ablation of the surface this time around, perhaps because of a weakness in its structure and/or the current presentation of this weaker surface to the front of the meteor. Note that again the head is mainly dark. Also the meteor was travelling just above the edge of a layer of low cloud which stretched to the horizon and was probably covering London. The apparent size of the head was much smaller than when I first saw it in 1985, perhaps a sixth or less of the area, and almost certainly because it was much further away.
On the 9th of July 2010 at around 20:15 UTC the meteor was seen by my daughter and a few friends from Sandwich at an elevation of about eighty degrees when nearest to overhead and again travelling from South to North. The head was mostly dark as before but again with a significant amount of ruddy orange flame and a plasma tail.
So what is the Dark headed Meteor? I believe that it is a very large body, probably an asteroid or perhaps a comet core which is in what I term a “three body orbit”, co-orbital with the Earth but spending much time in a quasi-solar orbit proximate to the Lagrange 1 point but within the Earth’s gravitational potential well. If the time between sightings is indeed its orbital period i.e. if it has not been seen at other longitudes, then the period is far too long for a two body orbit as it would simply have fallen under the influence of the Sun’s gravity after the first time around.
So why hasn’t it been detected by our Near Earth Object detection network? This is a very pertinent question and one I have investigated. The first point to note is that “Near Earth Object” (NEO) is a misnomer as far as detection is concerned. Usually NEOs are detected when they are a long way from the Earth and are only deemed to be NEOs when it is expected that their orbits will at some future time bring them into proximity with the Earth. Indeed it is extremely difficult to use a telescope to detect an object even fifty miles away when it is travelling in excess of ten miles per second! Secondly when it is most likely to be detected as an NEO it is lying between the Sun and the Earth and can only be viewed in daylight which isn’t possible from telescopes within the Earth’s atmosphere. The WISE satellite was sent on a space-bound mission to detect NEOs close to the Sun last year. In space there is no scattering of light due to the atmosphere which therefore allows such objects to be detected. Unfortunately this particular NEO was flying over Western Europe in July last year so WISE was looking in the wrong direction! Finally what about defence radar? Surely they would have detected such a massive ballistic missile travelling over the UK? The problem with defence radar is it has a primary responsibility to detect Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles which always travel at sub-orbital speeds. Because there is a huge amount of space junk in orbit around our planet and because they don’t want to see this junk they actively filter out objects travelling in excess of something approaching eight miles per second. Defence radar is blind to the biggest and most dangerous ballistic missiles of all!
So what danger does the Dark Headed Meteor pose to our planet? The problem is the Dark Headed Meteor includes the Earth’s atmosphere in its complicated orbit. This means that on every pass it loses a little energy, slows slightly and eventually and inevitably it will come down. It is carrying the energy equivalent of something like a hundred million megatons of TNT equivalent and this energy will be released on impact. It is certainly capable of destroying a continent or worse and if we are unlucky enough to survive the radiation and blast waves generated on impact the ensuing 100,000 year ice age is not going to be pleasant.
Why is the Dark Headed Meteor dark headed? While smaller meteors are incandescent as a result of plasma generated by atmospheric friction, the atmospheric flow around very large meteors is akin to those airflows associated with avalanches and pyroclastic flows. The airflows around such phenomenon do not provide much resistance; the air instead moves largely if turbulently along with the moving bodies. Hence pyroclastic flows and avalanches do not have a terminal velocity and can reach speeds of many hundreds of miles an hour. When applied to very large meteors this explains the limited flame (plasma) production and why very large meteors are able to sustain orbits through the atmosphere for long distances without being slowed excessively.
Can anything be done to prevent the predicted impact? Certainly I believe this asteroid is carrying enough momentum to sustain a circularised orbit indefinitely. Whether it is possible to steer this mammoth object into such an orbit in the time available is debateable. In any event I certainly do not have a realistic timescale and realise that a fourth body such as the moon could perturb its orbit sufficiently to cause a premature impact. This effect may have been behind the very close approach in the early years of this century.
Is there anything you can do? Yes, but only if you can confirm sightings of this object in your part of the world. Absolutely nothing can be done or will be done until the existence of the Dark Headed Meteor is proven, if indeed it exists. So if any reader can confirm such sightings please let us know giving as much detail as possible. With enough confirmatory sightings it may be possible to goad the blind and slumbering authorities into some form of action.
Why did I say at the beginning of this article that I would prefer not to have any interest in this object and had no wish for any involvement? The problem I have with these sightings made by both myself and others is that they are statistically unlikely. It is very improbable that a massive asteroid has been seen in close orbit around our planet. This is why I really don’t want to be involved as most will consider the statistics a more reasonable description of reality than that provided by my eyesight; they will consider me insane. I hope they are right.

Darren Parker
August 17, 2011 11:06 pm
Eric Anderson
August 17, 2011 11:07 pm

Gotta feel for these two gentlemen having to field such a wide range of dumb questions (a couple of the questions were OK). Oh, well, that is part of the outreach and education, so it comes with the territory.
I well remember attending a lecture at NASA Ames a few years ago regarding near earth objects by astronaut Rusty Schweickart. He is part of an organization called the b612 foundation ( Can’t say I’ve lost a lot of sleep worrying about NEO’s since then, but it was an interesting and worthwhile lecture and I think there is merit in funding more extensive tracking of NEO’s. (Probably money better spent than on a lot of other things.)

stephen parker
August 17, 2011 11:12 pm

Well written ecogeek, in the style of a short story………

August 17, 2011 11:53 pm

eco-geek says:
August 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm
Hey, eco-geek, I suggest you have a glass of wine, and relax with a good sci-fi book instead.
May I suggest “The Mote in Gods Eye” by Larry Niven?

Jason Joice M.D.
August 17, 2011 11:56 pm

Ecogeek said “Elenin…”

August 18, 2011 12:14 am

Darren Parker says:
August 17, 2011 at 11:06 pm
“Apophis in 2020 is thenext big worry ”
From the link
“Friday the 13th, 2029 – Asteroid 2004 MN4 will come scarily close to Earth on April 13, 2029, but it will not hit.”
So.. if its gonna come “scarily close,” why is the European Space Agency planing on messing with it?
The name is derived from an Egyptian deity commonly represented as a snake. Usually it’s a bad idea to indiscriminately poke at snakes.

Adam Gallon
August 18, 2011 12:42 am

Ecogeek, try wearing a baco-foil helmet, the meteor will bounce off it, before plunging safely into the sun.

August 18, 2011 12:44 am

Well I’m not worried.
The Nazi flying saucers, based on the dark side of the moon, will intercept it.

August 18, 2011 1:37 am

eco-geek, cool story, bro!
I’ve seen the same thing, one night in the early 80s. Out walking I was startled by what sounded like a football whizzing by close to my head. I immediately ducked and looked up, and there it was, crossing the starry sky. But from east to west, sorry.

Chris Smith
August 18, 2011 2:05 am

Oh, and I was really worried about this one. Ever since the disappointment of the millennium bug, I thought this would finally be it, the one. Oh well, guess we can still look forward to the end of the Mayan calender and the return of Nibiru. [/sarc]
How do people find the time to worry about these things that are not happening? There is so much real stuff to worry about.

August 18, 2011 3:24 am

“why is the European Space Agency planing on messing with it?”
If you had half a chance to get money to blow up asteroids in outer space, would you pass it ?

August 18, 2011 4:01 am

They worry about fantastical stuff because worrying about the humdrum that actually can and will kill you is too frightening. Ice ages, global warming, Y2K, nuclear winter, are all artifacts of our paleolithic brains trying to find where the danger is in our quaint, technophilic life in the developed part of the world.

August 18, 2011 5:49 am

Well at least a few read it and the story of the sightings is very true. The possibility of a two body orbit and a large number of visitations is also a possibility but I figured that should this be the case the NEO boys would have seen it. In this case it would be furthest away at about 35 degrees South. Unfortunately the joint US/Australian facility in OZ set up to cover this region was destroyed by 277 kph winds just after it went operational in about 2000 and the Chilean 10 meter telescope built to replace it had not gone operational last time I looked in 2010.
As it seems to frequent the Univerity of East Anglia and is likely to produce significant if somewhat temporary Global Warming I had thought of naming it after the great Phil Jones. However upon reflection it seemed to me I might lose any credibility (?) with this name as it might imply the fabrication of data!
So it looks like the tin-foil hat for me and the last laugh in the not too distant future. “Eco-geek was right!” may well be the last words of just a few climate sceptics. Mine? “Told you so”

Tom in Florida
August 18, 2011 5:54 am

SSam says:
August 18, 2011 at 12:14 am
From the link
“Friday the 13th, 2029 – Asteroid 2004 MN4 will come scarily close to Earth on April 13, 2029, but it will not hit.”
“So.. if its gonna come “scarily close,” why is the European Space Agency planing on messing with it?”
Perhaps it is going to actually be a credible threat. Perhaps this knowledge would lead to widespread panic, disrupt financial futures market and distract people from worrying about AGW.
Perhaps governments are hiding the threat for these reasons.

Jeff Alberts
August 18, 2011 6:35 am

“So you’ve got a modest-sized icy dirtball…”

Aha! So this is an ad for Jersey Shore! I knew it!

Jeff Alberts
August 18, 2011 6:37 am

“Any approximate alignments of comet Elenin with other celestial bodies are meaningless, and the comet will not encounter any dark bodies that could perturb its orbit, nor will it influence us in any way here on Earth,”

If we’re talking about it, it already has influenced us here on Earth…

tom T
August 18, 2011 6:46 am

“By comparison, my subcompact automobile exerts a greater influence on the ocean’s tides than comet Elenin ever will.”
JUst had to connect this evil man and SUVs somehow.

August 18, 2011 7:03 am

Tom in Florida says:
“Perhaps governments are hiding the threat for these reasons.”
Maybe I’m naive, but I have a hard time believing that any one in an official capacity would have the arrogance to think that was a sound way to conduct business. That the general public is too damn stupid to be told the facts.
Then all I have to do is to look at the s-storm of the financial system, the shenanigans of vested interests, the tweaking of BLS data (*did you know that the size of the labor force reported buy BLS is different than reported in the CIA world Factbook?), and all of the other self serving ego maniacal tripe that we live with today.
Yeah, they would be that low.

August 18, 2011 7:10 am;orb=1
Oct 17th, this asteroid passes at about 1 Lunar Distance (LD). Probably won’t hit the earth, but I wonder where our moon will be? Can’t figure out how to get the JPL applet to show our moon.

August 18, 2011 7:11 am;orb=1
I think I meant to point to this one, closer and bigger. And while we will be passing “through” Elenin’s tail.

Bob Diaz
August 18, 2011 8:03 am

The facts are clear, but somehow I can’t help but think of this spoof.

Maybe this is how the news media is going to report it. 😉

August 18, 2011 9:31 am

eco-geek says:
August 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm
“Elenin is not an issue however there is one space rock that may well be: The Dark Headed Meteor. This monster is one of the main curses of my life…”
I wouldn’t spend too much time worrying about your object making a direct hit on Earth, as our planet has many defences against this eventuality, which is why such events are very rare.
First we have the planet Jupiter, which has two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in our Solar System combined, moving in an orbit further out from the sun than Earth. Jupiter acts as the solar-system’s vacuum cleaner, sweeping up many potentially dangerous objects before they get the chance to do serious harm.
As the mass gets closer to Earth, it encounters the magnetosphere, which is the point where the solar wind and charge field impact the charge field from the Earth. The encountered bremsstrahlung rapidly heats the object and causes thermal fracturing of the surface and opens up any fault lines present in the rock due to thermal and inertial shock. It also gives the object a strong repulsive electrical charge which is of the same polarity as the Earth’s electric field. This tends to slow the object and divert its path tangential to the direction of Earth’s gravitational acceleration.
Finally it starts to enter the Earth’s atmosphere proper which through frictional heating and turbulent shock causes further ablation to occur. The ever increasing density of air tends to act like the surface of a pond and this skims or bounces the intruder away from Earth and back into the cold depths of space, where thermal shock once again causes further ablation.
So Eco-Geek, look forward to seeing the wonder of Earth’s natural defence system in operation (if you get the chance again) – relax and enjoy your life – it’s the only life you’ve got… 😉

August 18, 2011 9:53 am

I always wondered how do they calculate the orbit of new comets?

Jim G
August 18, 2011 11:10 am

kwik says:
“August 17, 2011 at 11:53 pm
eco-geek says:
August 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm
Hey, eco-geek, I suggest you have a glass of wine, and relax with a good sci-fi book instead.
May I suggest “The Mote in Gods Eye” by Larry Niven?”
You obviously like good science fiction. Try “Tau Zero” by Paol Anderson, if you have not already read it.

August 18, 2011 12:13 pm

Er, Jupiter is not in the picture. It has come from the inner solar system where it has been in orbit for millions of years (probably) and if we can use a Van der Graph generator to repel its billions of tons so much the better.
Also (whomsoever) I read “Mote in God’s eye” years ago. I gave up sci-fi thereafter as in excess it turns the brains to mush. Unfortunately the Dark Headed Meteor makes mushy brains seem like an enviable state.
Its gonna gets us. Well you lot ‘cos I got my baco-foil on!
I’m surprised that if all this electrical stuff can stop an asteroid when it is unable to stop shooting stars and boggo incandescent meteors. What is the theory behind this? The small ones do but the big ones don’t (although it already has four times in 26 years min)?
I know it’ s really not worth the effort. I keep hoping there is someone out there on open loop,
Nah! That was your last chance. Enjoy….

August 18, 2011 1:39 pm

Jeff Alberts says:
August 18, 2011 at 6:37 am
It is true: Comets have historically scared populations to death. My grandfather told me of people jumping out of buildings when the Great May Comet of 1910 came by. Even then, with all the scientific explanations in daily print, it made no differece. The physical aside, there is a metaphysical aspect to these things, a panic button waiting to be pressed. No amount of reasoning will ever explain away such things. Those who have seen a bright comet in a dark sky (like Hale Bopp) should know why.

August 18, 2011 2:16 pm

eco-geek says:
August 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm
“I’m surprised that if all this electrical stuff can stop an asteroid when it is unable to stop shooting stars and boggo incandescent meteors. What is the theory behind this? The small ones do but the big ones don’t (although it already has four times in 26 years min)?”
Remember Eco-Geek, the E/M field works in the opposite way to gravitational field as regards centripetal forces. Gravity increases with the inverse square law, but the E/M field increases with the inverse quad, so a large highly charged mass near to Earth feel a greater repulsion from the charge field the closer it gets. From your observations the orbit of the body doesn’t seem to be decaying.
Smaller bits of material, like meteoroids, carry much less charge (which is a function of the mass-density). They also travel much quicker than more massive objects and are harder to deflect. However, the majority tend to vaporise in the upper atmosphere.
It is an extremely rare event for a large object to hit the Earth.

Mark Folkestad
August 18, 2011 3:14 pm

Eco-geek, you wouldn’t be pulling our legs, would you? I’m not impressed when you don’t know how to spell “Van de graaff”, as in the static electricity generator.

Mark Folkestad
August 18, 2011 3:14 pm

Oops. Van de Graaff.

G. Karst
August 18, 2011 3:55 pm

Imagine yourself sitting quietly, in your armchair. Enjoying a warm, cozy fire.
Suddenly, the phone rings, and it is your best friend, excitably describing how he has just been kidnapped by beautiful female aliens, who proceed to extract sperm in various fantastical ways, then entered a dimensional portal, and disappeared!
What would your response be???
Would you:
a) Immediately call a press conference, and notify the defense department?
b) Launch an immediate scientific program to investigate?
c) Quietly, calmly, suggest that he consult a medical professional immediately?
d) All of the above
Just asking and wondering: what YOU would say? GK

August 18, 2011 3:58 pm

This may be the funniest post and comments ever on WUWT.

Barry Day
August 18, 2011 6:18 pm

NASA is pulling the wool over your eyes ,AGAIN!!It’s what they are NOT telling you,They are telling you lies by omission.

“ELE” eleven 11 – “NIN” nine 9
ELE=Extinction Level Event,…..NIN= Nibiru Is Near
“dissipative phenomena”
Moon Orbit Wrong Cornell University

Newly discovered detailed report on the recent “anomalous eccentricity” of the moon
NASA knows.Harvard knows.Cornell knows.Stanford knows.
Now YOU have
a chance to maybe know.
This PhD in Quantumm Physics presents this paper on an apparent unexplainable anomaly that has been hushed up concerning the moon’s erratic orbit as of late. Here’s the abstract of said paper. Link follows.
On the anomalous secular increase of the eccentricity of the orbit
of the Moon
Lorenzo Iorio
Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Universit`a e della Ricerca (M.I.U.R.). Permanent address for
correspondence: Viale Unit`a di Italia 68, 70125, Bari (BA), Italy.
Received ; accepted– 2 –
A recent analysis of a Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) data record spanning
38.7 yr revealed an anomalous increase of the eccentricity e of the lunar orbit
amounting to ?emeas = (9 ± 3) × 10
The present-day models of the .
dissipative phenomena occurring in the interiors of both the Earth and the Moon
are not able to explain it. In this paper, we examine several dynamical e?ects, not
modeled in the data analysis, in the framework of long-range modi?ed models of
gravity and of the standard Newtonian/Einsteinian paradigm. It turns out that
none of them can accommodate ?emeas
Many of them do not even induce longterm changes in e; other models do, instead, yield such an e?ect, but the resulting .
magnitudes are in disagreement with ?emeas
In particular, the general relativistic .
gravitomagnetic acceleration of the Moon due to the Earth’s angular momentum
has the right order of magnitude, but the resulting Lense-Thirring secular e?ect
for the eccentricity vanishes. A potentially viable Newtonian candidate would be
a trans-Plutonian massive object (Planet X/Nemesis/Tyche) since it, actually,
would a?ect e with a non-vanishing long-term variation. On the other hand,
the values for the physical and orbital parameters of such a hypothetical body
required to obtain the right order of magnitude for ?e are completely unrealistic.
Moreover, they are in neat disagreement with both the most recent theoretical
scenarios envisaging the existence of a distant, planetary-sized body and with
the model-independent constraints on them dynamically inferred from planetary
motions. Thus, the issue of ?nding a satisfactorily explanation for the anomalous
behavior of the Moon’s eccentricity remains open
In a nutshell this report is the best put forth explanations for the apparent unexplainable shifts in where the moon is supposed to be and REALLY is as of late. Noted in the abstract is the terms trans-Plutonian massive object (Planet X/Nemesis/Tyche)
Even though no other plausible current understanding of science explanations can be given as to why the moon is all of the sudden behaving this way, they do admit other things in between the lines.
No One dares be the bearer of this news.
Lest they bear the consequences of breaking
rank with herd and get singled out.
This link to the full report pdf can for now be found, but is expected to be
wiped once found, so make a copy before it does disappear
Posted by spinladen at 12:24 PM
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Labels: anomaly, moon, nibiru, planet-xshift, report

Barry Day
August 18, 2011 6:24 pm

Extraterrestrial contact at Neumayer Station Antarctica
NIBIRU shadows over Antarctica landmass & Personnel witness BROWN Dwarf and

UPDATE!!! Neumayer Station Antarctica witness BROWN Dwarf strange shadows over

Neumayer Station Antarctica Web Cam

Jeff Alberts
August 18, 2011 6:24 pm

G. Karst says:
August 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm
Imagine yourself sitting quietly, in your armchair. Enjoying a warm, cozy fire.
Suddenly, the phone rings, and it is your best friend, excitably describing how he has just been kidnapped by beautiful female aliens, who proceed to extract sperm in various fantastical ways, then entered a dimensional portal, and disappeared!
What would your response be???
Would you:
a) Immediately call a press conference, and notify the defense department?
b) Launch an immediate scientific program to investigate?
c) Quietly, calmly, suggest that he consult a medical professional immediately?
d) All of the above

e) “Why didn’t you call me sooner???”

August 18, 2011 6:51 pm

So this one is a miss. But one of them will get us sooner or later. We’re doomed.

Barry Day
August 18, 2011 7:05 pm

eco-geek says:
August 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm
Elenin is not an issue however there is one space rock that may well be: The Dark Headed Meteor. This monster is one of the main curses of my life. Having seen the damned thing a few times
I believe you entirely.Could this explain “seen the damned thing a few times”

August 18, 2011 7:50 pm

Buy your meteorites here.

Barry Day
August 18, 2011 8:44 pm

“NASA got tired of answering doomsday questions, so issued a statement and FAQs to deal with the nonsense.”
Then”deal with the nonsense.”here NASA!
Nibiru planet X 2012 PROOF of Government conspiracy

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
Abraham Lincoln

Brian H
August 19, 2011 5:18 am

1-8 miles high? Visually the size of a football? Horizon to horizon in a few seconds?
I thang knot. The atmosphere is not that accommodating. Not even for one pass, much less 4 or so.
I won’t call you a liar, but am convinced of your mendacity.

August 19, 2011 5:27 am

Sorry, I meant Vin de Grape generator. I was using one last night.
Mmmnnn. I might just look into that when I get the Baco-foil off. I am a bit suspicious about what you say ‘cos I think that big rocks do get down to Earth from time to time. I’m wondering whether Ramsgate have a secret asteroid repellent based on these E/M fields Maybe we can use searchlights to repel these big rocks?

David S.
September 2, 2011 2:12 pm

Barry Day….excellent job doing your homework. thanks for the footage. The star’s name is Wormwood, and we’ll all know about it soon. Here’s a good video link…David http://www

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