Comet C/2010 X1 Elenin appears to be breaking up?
Astronomers monitoring Comet Elenin have noticed the comet has decreased in brightness the past week, and the coma is now elongating and diffusing. Some astronomers predict the comet will disintegrate and not survive perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun.
On August 19, a massive solar flare and coronal mass ejection hit the comet, video below. Shortly after the coronal mass ejection the comet flared up and you could see some beautiful details in the tail, with the tail was twisting about in the solar wind. But shortly after that Earth- bound amateurs reported a huge decrease in the intensity of the comet. We think it may presage a falling apart of the comet, which may have been the beginning of the end for the much ballyhooed lump of ice and dirt. universetoday
And amateur astronomer and veteran comet observer Michael Mattiazzo of Castlemaine, Australia, has been photographing the comet at every opportunity for several weeks. His images show that its nucleus has elongated and the comet is becoming fainter, rather than brighter as expected. members.westnet.com
A picture of a disintegrating Elenin shows up on various websites and youtube videos, but it is not Comet Elenin, it is a closeup photo of the breakup of Comet S4 LINEAR taken on August 6, 2000 by the European Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. Credit: ESO
However, Some comets will survive and some won’t. The fact that Comet Elenin decreased in brightness after the CME, possibly indicates that the comet will not survive. Another possibility is that merely the CME wiped away the coma – the bright cloud of particles around the comet – and the volatiles of the comet might take awhile to come back and recreate the coma, if it does survive. astroblogger
Remarkable: the discover of Comet Elenin – Leonid Elenin – has so far not (yet) reported that his Comet appears to be breaking up!! We would expect that he would be the first to report on his site