Comet Elenin, also known as the “Doomsday” comet, will be taking a pass at Earth this Sunday, Space.com reports. But what’s going to pass by isn’t exactly deserving of the “Doomsday” title.
Several months back, conspiracy theorists and doomsayers were convinced that Comet Elenin would bring catastrophe to the planet in some form or another. As it turned out, it was Elenin that was in trouble, not us.
The comet started disintegrating on its approach to the sun after it was hit by a rather nasty solar storm in August. By the time it had passed close by the Sun last month, scientists believe that Elenin was reduced to nothing more than a stream of debris.
On Sunday, October 16, Elenin is expected to pass by the Earth some 22 million miles away – not very far in space terms, but not nearly close enough to cause any concern, especially given the apparently rough shape of Elenin.
Dan Yeomans of the Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA says that there was never really any reason to worry to begin with – even before taking a beating by the sun, Elenin was kind of a wimp.
“Elenin was a second-rate, wimpy little comet that never should have been noted for anything, really,” Yeomans told SPACE.com. “It was not even a bright one.”
Even though Elenin will be passing nearby, scientists don’t expect there to be much of a show when the comet passes by this Sunday, considering the rough shape it’s in.