At the end of June 2011, Comet Elenin will cross the orbit of the fourth planet of the Solar System – Mars. It must be noted that from April to June, the comet did not come closer to the Earth, but moved “parallel” with it. Right at the beginning of July, the comet will begin to very quickly move toward our planet. I again want to emphasize, the comet will pass 35 million kilometers from the Earth. It is an absolutely safe distance, just a little closer to the Earth than the second planet, Venus, comes.
At left you can see an image of the comet taken June 21th at our observatory. In the earthly sky the comet is quite close to the Sun, and soon it will be impossible to observe – it will be hidden the rays of the setting Sun. C/2010 X1 (Elenin) will not emerge from solar conjunction until the beginning of October, when it will be visible in binoculars and maybe even with the unaided eye.
During the time the comet is unobservable by earthbound observers, we can observe it with solar space telescopes. I already have fresh information about these observation programs. I will publish it soon. Stay tuned!