Friday, September 2, 2011

Comet Elenin "Self Destructs"

Sorry to disappoint those who were expecting Mayhem and Destruction from puny Comet Elenin this fall. However, Sky and Telescope magazine has just reported "Comet Elenin Self Destructs." This is not exactly surprising, as the same thing has happened to many small comets before. As astronomy writer Kelly Beatty reports, "Within the past week the comet's brightness has declined by 50%, dropping a half magnitude between August 19th and 20th...  images show Comet Elenin's bright core becoming elongated and diffuse — the telltale signs that its icy nucleus has either broken in two or disintegrated altogether. One veteran comet-watcher who's not surprised is John Bortle. Four months ago, based on Elenin's performance to that point, he cautioned, 'The comet may be intrinsically a bit too faint to even survive perihelion passage.' "

According to some, Comet Elenin was a giant menacing object that was going to zap earth with lightning bolts

As noted in my Blog posting of April 17, "Another Doomsday Coming this Year in September," Comet Elenin was proclaimed by many to be a destructive force headed toward Earth, where it will (somehow) cause something Truly Awful to happen to earth. Those who would not believe the descriptions of Comet Elenin as a feeble, puny visitor to the inner solar system now must contend with the fact that the comet's icy core has simply melted as it got closer to the sun.

But I can guarantee you that the Conspiracy claims will not end there. Soon we'll be hearing how NASA blew up Comet Elenin. Or maybe friendly Space Aliens did it, to save earth. Or maybe the comet has faded to near-invisibility to better sneak up and surprise unsuspecting earthlings? But I think the claim that will win out is one that emphasises the comet's alleged dangerous and destructive nature. Like, "that comet was so radioactive that it blew itself up!". Or possibly,  "Its weapons of mass destruction accidentally triggered prematurely!"