Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Predictions

Since Comet Elenin was discovered, NASA was adamant in the fact that the comet would not come close enough to strike or harm the Earth in any way. People responded by using a collection of hypothetical scenarios for disaster. For example, if Elenin was to hit an asteroid while passing through the Main Asteroid Belt, it could have been thrown off its predicted trajectory and pushed toward an imminent crash with Earth. People began to fear the comet’s massive coma.

By August, 2011, Elenin’s coma exceeded 200,000 km. (124,274 miles). It was predicted that on November 6, 2011, the Earth was going to pass through the comet’s debris tail. People began to make a connection between the comet and its alignment with the earth, sun, and moon. Some felt that the gravitational pull of Elenin caused a collection of earthquakes and geological events. The story reached a new level of popularity after the March 11 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami because a number of websites had published the date of March 15, 2011 as an alignment event. Comet Elenin was predicted to be closest to Earth on October 16, 2011 and the debris field arrived in early November.

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