Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Comet Elenin gone for good (though some still claim detections, even sightings)

With this negative report, setting tough upper limits on the brightness of whatever may be left of much-expected/hyped/feared comet C/2009 X1 (Elenin) on Oct. 9 and 10 the hunt seemed to be over - yet there are claims that the STEREO satellites can still see it (they probably did in the 2nd half of September; see also this and this tweet) and even of a visual sighting right when the big scopes saw exactly nothing. How could that be? A major mystery right now that puzzles even leading comet gurus ... anyway, this alleged detection of Elenin by Elenin himself (also reported e.g. here [earlier] and here) was probably just noise. Now the Moon is spoiling the view in the morning where the comet - or rather its theoretical positing - is quickly climbing higher; by about Oct. 23 deep observations will again be possible and should settle the issue for good.

In other comet news the plasma tail of comet H-M-P continued to amaze: big picture collection and shots of Oct. 11, Oct. 6 (wider), Oct. 5, Oct. 4, Oct. 3 (b/w), Oct. 2 and Oct. 1. • Comet Garradd on Oct. 10, Oct. 3 and Sep. 29 and the comets C/2011 P1 (McNaught) and C/2011 S2 (Kowalski). • The fate of the Great Kreutz Comet of 2011 - and some funny sungrazer/CME statistics (not proving much yet). • The outburst of Scheila modelled - and modelled again. • The Draconids outburst was covered by a huge live-blog with numerous links; a nice persistent train and meteor. • A meteorite hit a house near Paris in the summer (more, more, mehr), and the complex origin of 2008 TC3 and its meteorites.

In other small bodies news a NEO discovery by amateurs 'working for' ESA's Awareness, a call for observations for an upcoming NEO passage, observations of a past one - and more astrometry of Apophis (strangely missing from the JPL analysis of impact risk). • The moons of Minerva (more and more) and an extremely tilted KBO contact binary (more). • The star occultation's outcome was that the diameter of Eris is just like Pluto's (also covered here and here - after some some embargo problems that suddenly evaporated) - and the temperatures on Makemake.

In other news Jupiter on Aug. 18 til Oct. 4, Oct. 3, Oct. 2/3 (map) and Oct. 2 (more). • Solar eclipses causing wakes in the atmosphere. • The AAVSO is 100 (from there a 100a of SS Cyg video from this source) and private lightcurves of the SN in M 101. • A quadruple rainbow makes headlines here, here, here, here and here. • A story about Damian Peach, the solar system photographer. • Observing NanoSail D in hi-res. • A summary brochure of the Decadal Survey. • The world's largest clock dial in Mekka. • And the smallest full moon was obviously smaller than others (more and more) - don't let them tell you that the effect isn't clear to the naked eye!

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