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Remains of Comet Elenin maybe spotted

remains-of-comet-elenin-maybe-spotted

Comet Elenin, one of the most famous comets, disintegrated as it approached the Sun last month. Three days of darkness and Earth passing through it's tail never happened. Astronomers are having a hard time trying to spot the Elenin. Over the Italian astronomer Rolando Ligustri spotted the comet's remains. It's the elongated cloud in this Oct. 22nd photo of the star field where Elenin would have appeared if it were still intact:

 

Another team of astronomers–Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero and Nick Howes–spotted the cloud on the same night. At first they were skeptical.  The cloud was extremely faint and diffuse so they wondered if it might be scattered moonlight or some other transient artifact. But when the team looked again on Oct. 23, the cloud was still there. A two-night blink animation shows that the cloud is moving just as the original comet would have.

Some readers have noticed a fast-moving streak to the to the lower right of the debris cloud. That is an unrelated asteroid, 2000 OJ8 (magnitude 14), which happened to be in the field of view at the same time as the cloud of Elenin.

More information about this discovery and continued tracking of the "comet corpse" may be found at the Remanzacco Observatory Astronomy Blog.

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