Tuesday, October 11, 2011

C/2010 X1 (Elenin) post solar conjunction recovery attempt

Recently we tried to image C/2010 X1 (Elenin) after its solar conjunction. The observing conditions for this comet are currently quite difficult: very low in the morning sky at twilight, within the zodiacal "light pollution".

Anyway we decided to go with several robotic scopes, operating under excellent sky conditions (New Mexico and Mauna Kea). At first we aimed at the expected comet's position (MPC ephemerids) on 2011, Oct 09.5, through a 0.25-m f/3.4 reflector + CCD and, nearly simultaneously, through a 0.10-m f/5 APO refractor + CCD, from the Global Rent a Scope facility (near Mayhill, NM).

Stacking of a number of images, we observed no distinct evidence of the comet within about 30 arcmin of the expected position, with a limiting magnitude around 17, and to limiting magnitude about 15, within about 2 deg from the expected position. Below you can see the crop of the 0.25-m reflector stacked image set (click on the image for a bigger version):

On 2011, Oct. 10.6, we imaged the area where comet Elenin was supposed to be, through the 2.0-m f/10.0 Ritchey-Chretien + CCD of Faulkes Telescope North (Mauna Kea, Hawaii). Stacking several exposures, with limiting magnitude at around 20.5, doesn't show any trace of the comet within the 10'x10' field of view centered on the comet's ephemerids (while stacking these images along the proper motion of the field minor planets, we can easily distinguish the asteroid (43629), with its magnitude at 20.3 (click on the image for a bigger version):

by Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero and Nick Howes


sergio sanchez said...

Is it possible that Elenin, if exists, have a different location after perihelion?


Jakub Cerny said...

Thats not possibile, comet near perihelion have speed near 70 m/s thus you need very hughe power to change its direction. There is no such object near its orbit what can have done that.

Martijn Eijbersen said...

When this comet came near the sun it accelerated because of the sun's gravity, part of this energy was used to break the comet in peace’s, so part of the energy needed to sling shoot the comet around the sun was spent breaking the comet up.
This might explain why C/2010 X1 is not where it should be.

Anonymous said...

Not really, before perihelion were prediction that comet will not survive solar conjunction, and that was correct.

Jack said...

So, we shouldn't worry about Elenin? Regards

Team said...


No, you do not need to worry about Elenin! All the catastrophic rumors about comet Elenin do not make sense!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the pictures. I wish I could see where Elenin is supposed to be. It appears there is nothing at all but It would have been nice to see a marker of where it should have been. Thanks for your hard work.

Team said...


Thanks for your kind words!!

In the first image the location where comet Elenin is supposed to be is marked by the red square at the centre with this designation "CK10X010"