It's always nice to come across a subject on the Internet that evokes such difference in opinion. And Comet Elenin is one of those topics.
The debate over Comet Elenin is polarised between two opposing views, with an almost infinite number of variations in between.
On the one hand comes the official view that Comet Elenin is an obscure loosely packed dirty snowball of as much interest to the general public as a small broken snail shell beside a railway track is to the occupants of the speeding express train passing by.
At the other end is the opinion that Elenin is an artificial comet camouflaging a fleet of galactic battle cruisers full of hideous aliens equipped with straws and the aching desire to suck our brains from our skulls via our collective left nostrils.
Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1) was discovered on 10th December 2010 by astronomer Leonid Elenin working at the time remotely via the International Scientific Optical Network's robotic observatory near Mayhill, New Mexico.
It is still millions of miles away and will become visible to the naked eye in late August like a dim star with a tail.
Astronomers say that this small (by astronomic standards) object, which is about 3-4 km across, will pass the earth with its closest point being 21.7 million miles away on 16th October 2011. It is what is known as a long period comet, in that it takes some 11,600 years to orbit the sun.
The trouble is that there are many end time prophecies such as the Mayan calendar and the Bible Revelations that seem to fit in with the timing of this visitor from the deepest regions of space.
There is also the Comet's name, Elenin. Some claim it was given this name as short for such things as 'Extinction Level Event 9'.
Then there are the theories of alignment causing the Earth's poles to shift and earthquakes to rend our planet. Or Elenin's magnetic field will somehow throw the Earth out of orbit despite it having no magnetic field to speak of. There are also concerns about the comet tail 'engulfing' the earth, even though it's only one notch above an absolute vacuum.
Elenin has altered its speed as it approaches the Sun, which is entirely predictable according to astronomers. But the conspiracy theorists claim that it is being manoeuvred by forces unknown and that the true nature of the Comet is being hidden from us. It is either being controlled by aliens to mask their approach they say, or to be steered into our planet to kill the human race off (hence Extinction Level Event).
Some even claim that it is a brown dwarf star, or the hypothetical giant planet Tyche, or even the fictional planet Niburu.
All very entertaining, but I think I'll stick to the official version. This article here – armaghplanet.com/blog/10-facts-you-need-to-know-about-comet-elenin.html – should put Comet Elenin nicely in context.