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Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1) (Read 5040 times)
kheider
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Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1)
03/25/11 at 23:25:13
 
NASA just released an orbital update for Comet Elenin.  Many websites are claiming that the comet is causing Earthquakes and/or might be Planet X.  Anyway, I see this as a good chance to try and teach them something.  Near perihelion the comet will have a slightly hyperbolic orbit.  But due to an interaction with Jupiter the eccentricity will drop below 1 before the comet leaves the planetary region.  Can we plot the eccentricity of the comet from 1950 to 2050?  Perhaps even a plot of the eccentricity versus the distance from Jupiter?
 
Using barycentric values, the original orbit was about 4 million years before entering the planetary region and will be only about 11,800 years after leaving the planetary region.
 
http://home.comcast.net/~kpheider/Elenin-barycenter.txt
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2010_X1
 
-- Kevin Heider
 
PS: Sorry I have been gone so long...
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frankuitaalst
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Re: Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1)
Reply #1 - 03/26/11 at 02:20:55
 
Thanks for sharing this update Kevin .  
Ran the sim forward and backwards in time with initial data centered on 01/01/2009 as this is the setting I normally use ( have to paste the comet in the data of 16 other celestial bodies which I keep at 01/01/2009) . I also included Saturn in the plot .  
Below is what happens . In Early august this year 2011 the comet may be influenced strongly by Jupiter .  
I see in the other data ( have to prepare  them for posting ) the comet comes in in a hyperbolic orbit and leaves in an orbit with ecc close but beneath 1 .  
 
Edit : the jump in the above plot seems to occur at the time of closest approach to Earth . Hereunder are the closest distances ( in mio km)  
Sun      Merc      Venus      Earth      Mars      Jup      Saturn
72.21      113.06      145.61      35.24      215.45      359.53      397.74
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EleninDistance.gif
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frankuitaalst
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Re: Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1)
Reply #2 - 03/26/11 at 03:26:35
 
The eccentricity of Elenin is strongly influenced by the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn .  
Both do their job in reducing the comets eccentricity .  
The two pictures show that at closest distance to both planets the eccentricity is reduced in such a way that the comet will be bound to the solar system .  
If one takes a closer look the ecc is growing as the comet approaches Saturn in late 2008 , then after the close approach the eccentricity goes under 1.00 .  After the close encounter with Jupiter the eccentricity is further reduced .  
I've added some arrows which indicate the flow of time .  
In all cases the eccentricity is refered to the sun
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Elenin_Ecc.gif
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frankuitaalst
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Re: Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1)
Reply #3 - 03/26/11 at 04:11:41
 
Detail of the Eccentricity around end 2011 , beginning next year , seems to indicate the comets eccentricity will go under 1.00 early 2012 , when the comet is on its way to his cloes encounter with Jupiter . This passage is indicated with the red line .
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Elenin_Detail.jpg
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frankuitaalst
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Re: Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1)
Reply #4 - 03/26/11 at 05:58:53
 
If we take the solar system Barycenter as a reference the pictures looks as this :  
The comet comes in at Sma of about 26000 Au and leaves the solar system at about 515 AU . Somewhere in between it recahes a hyperbolic orbit .  
It seems to become bound ( red line ) in mid august this year ,after the close approach to Earth on its way to Jupiter .
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« Last Edit: 03/26/11 at 07:33:10 by frankuitaalst »  

Elenin_BCenter_Solar_System.jpg
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frankuitaalst
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Re: Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1)
Reply #5 - 03/27/11 at 02:25:27
 
The plots hereunder show the eccentricity ( rel to Solar Bary center ) change as function of the distance to the gas giants .  
In case of Jupiter the comet approaches Jupiter (after the encounter with Earth ) in a slighly hyperbolic path . Shortly before reaching the minimal distance with Jupiter the comets eccentricity reduces
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Ecc_Elenin_BC_afo_distance_Jupiter.jpg
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kheider
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Re: Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1)
Reply #6 - 03/27/11 at 04:53:35
 
Quote from frankuitaalst on 03/26/11 at 03:26:35:
The eccentricity of Elenin is strongly influenced by the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn .
Both do their job in reducing the comets eccentricity .
The two pictures show that at closest distance to both planets the eccentricity is reduced in such a way that the comet will be bound to the solar system . In all cases the eccentricity is refered to the sun

 
Thank you frankuitaalst.  I have added the most straight forward plot to wiki:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elenin_Ecc2011-03-25.gif
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2010_X1
 
-- Kevin Heider
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