David Robinson (7 Apr 2011)
"To Suzi, Elenin's Path"


Right now, it is just below the back feet of Leo at roughly 11h05m RA and 4deg 15min Dec  Its position will move about 30 min. westerly and 4 deg. northerly through mid may when its apparent movement will reverse and be close to the same position as it is now toward the end of July.  Based on current predictions of its magnitude and your location it may not become visible in small telescopes while it's still in the night sky on approach.  If the current estimates turn out to be correct, it may be the last of October or first of November before you can see it in the night sky.

You can generate tabular ephemeris data from the JPL site at this link:  http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi?find_body=1&body_group=sb&sstr=C/2010 X1

This chart also gives you the right ascension and declination on the specified dates:  http://www.curtrenz.com/comets02.html

This chart gives you the alt-az coordinates for Chicago at 9:00 PM  CDT on the specified dates:  http://www.curtrenz.com/comets04.html

Even if you can't see Elenin, there are two other comets that are coming closer and may be a better show, or even an alarmingly close encounter.  I don't understand why these two aren't getting more publicity:

August 18, 2011 (.077 AU from earth)  45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková 

January 07, 2012 (.045 AU from earth)  P/2006 T1 (Levy)  

Maybe someone who is more knowledgeable in astronomy than myself will comment on these comets because they are coming a lot closer to earth than Elenin.


David Robinson