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Comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin), a.k.a. Comet Elenin to the media and everyone who doesn't know how to read the IAU's designations, was a comet discovered in the end of 2010 that reached its first known perihelion (closest point to the Sun in its orbit) in September 2011, disintegrating shortly afterwards. It's notable mostly for being the first comet discovered by a Russian in the last 20 years. Oh, and the fact that an assortment of cranks, conspiracy theorists and/or End Times/Rapture believers latched onto it for a variety of reasons. Due to the latter, it can be used as a case study in how doomsday conspiracy theories originate, develop and spread.
(The designation means that this is the first (X1) not-short-periodic comet (C) discovered in the first half of December 2010 (2010 X1) and the last name of the discoverer is Elenin.)
As the circumstances are slightly unusual and part of the conspiracy claims concern Leonid Elenin's observatory itself,[note 2] some boooring background details are necessary. The observatory's name is "ISON-NM", as it is a part of the International Scientific Optical Network[note 3] — an international network of observers that performs collaborative tasks such as looking for space debris, NEOs (near-Earth objects) and gamma-ray bursts. The observatory consists of a single telescope in a shed on the grounds of the New Mexico Skies astronomy hosting company. The telescope itself is a Centurion-18. It has an 18-inch mirror and it's fitted with an FLI ML09000-65 astronomical imaging camera in the primary focus.[note 4] Its field of view is 1.65 х 1.65 degrees of arc. The observatory saw "first light" on 21 May 2010, started test exploitation by 6 June, received a Minor Planet Center number (H15) on 7 June and discovered its first asteroid between 5 and 21 July. More information, including pictures and a description of the setup can be found on the Russian site of the ISON/PulKON project.
It seems that the wild speculation snowball was sent rolling by a series of posts on Laura Knight-Jadczyk's blog in January 2011. In her first post about the comet, LKJ cited James McCanney's "electric comet" "theory" and predicted that the comet will affect the Earth, as Hale-Bopp purportedly did in the 1990s. (McCanney was one of the... individuals featured on Phil Plait's original Bad Astronomy website and the page about him is still online.) A couple of YouTube videos followed, spreading like a wildfire through the conspiracy forums (such as ATS and GLP), and the rest is history. The comet continues to generate forum and blog posts and YouTube videos to this day (late July 2011).
Different permutations of the following claims have been tossed around:
- Comet Elenin will impact the Earth/shower it with deadly debris from its tail - this is relatively tame, garden variety apocalypse mongering - such claims surround every comet that comes to the attention of some nut.
- Comet Elenin's appearance is a portent of doom (oh, come on, are we still in the bloody Middle Ages?)
- Comet Elenin's alignment with the Earth causes disasters, e.g. the February 2010 Chile earthquake and later, the March 2011 Japan earthquake (see #Alleged alignments below)
- Comet Elenin is being followed by alien spacecraft (Heaven's Gate redux?)
- Comet Elenin is a cover for the existence of Planet X/Nibiru, no such comet exists
- Comet Elenin is "the physical form of old Lucifer"
- Comet Elenin is an "electric comet" and this will somehow negatively affect Earth
- Comet Elenin will eclipse the Sun and cause "three days of darkness" around 27 September.
- The escape hatch: the noise about Comet Elenin is a "psyop"/disinformation campaign covering something else/preparing the "sheeple" for a some event/trying to discredit the people who make apocalyptic predictions.
Claims that Leonid Elenin doesn't exist or that he is a NASA/someone else's shill are also thrown in.
Fallout from all the conspiracy-mongering started appearing in unexpected places, such as the comment threads of the discoverer's blog, NASA's Ask an Astrobiologist educational outreach website, and Discovery News.
Among the most batshit insane are the hilarious "reports" of "Sorcha Faal". In March, the first one claimed that the comet is under intelligent control. In June, another "report" repeated the fake claim that Chinese scientists have seen UFOs trailing the comet and included a deceptively cropped image. The "reports" have been republished in several places, including the European Union Times, but Sorcha Faal is generally considered to be a crap source even by the conspiracy crowd.
OMG, the name!
A lot of the noise seems to have been prompted by the comet's name (or more exactly, the discoverer's name). Attempts to uncover some hidden meaning have produced hilarious exercises in verbal pareidolia:
- Someone noticed that "Elenin" contains "ELE" ("extinction level event"), the term used for the (results of the) comet impact in the movie Deep Impact.[note 5] Several other coincidences sent the conspiratorial
thinkingimagination into overdrive: in the movie, the comet is discovered by a teenager named Leo Biederman, which is similar to Leonid Elenin,[note 6] and the president of the United States is black.
- Someone else expanded it to "ELE NINe". Good try, but it's a pity that there are only five major mass extinctions and a dozen or so lesser ones.
- Filed under "the Universe revolves around the US" (but still uses European-style dates) is "ELEven NINe", sometimes paired with the claim that the comet will reach its perihelion or closest approach to Earth on 11 September 2011. The current scientific projection for the perihelion is 10 September 2011 (and no, even in a US timezone it's not the 11th) and for the closest approach is 16 October.
- "E Lenin". Come on, guys, the Cold War is over! And Lenin was "V.I.", not "E."
- "EXTINTION LEVEL EVENT NIBIRU IS NEAR"
- "EXTINTION LEVEL EVENT NIBIRU IN NOVEMBER"
- "EXTINTION LEVEL EVENT NON-AVOIDABLE IMPACT IN NOVEMBER"
- "Extinction Level Event Niburu Inbound Now"
His first name also attracted attention - a lot of
idiots ignorant people connected it with the name of the Leonids meteor shower, probably because this is the first result that pops up in Google if you search for "Leonid".
In case you need reassurance, Leonid Elenin is a perfectly normal Russian name:
- "Leonid" is a perfectly legit Russian name. Wikipedia has a list of notable Leonids.
- "Elenin" is a perfectly legit Russian family name, constructed from "-in" suffix and the female name "(Y)Elena" or the less common male name "(Y)Elen". (Russian family names are typically based on a male name, but the suffix "-in" and the name of the mother was used when the name of the father was not known.)
For a non-existent guy, Leonid Elenin blogs quite prolifically at the ISON-NM observatory website (initially in
broken acceptable English, but later he got a volunteer to translate his posts). He also can be found posting in fluent Russian on several astronomy forums, such as astronomy.ru and astrogalaxy.ru.
As noted below, the Minor Planet Center circular about the discovery of the comet lists seven other collaborating observers. Are they fictional too?
After the wave of bullshit reached Russia and fellow Russians started to bother Elenin, he decided to put more effort in refuting it - first, with a interview for the RIA Novosty news agency, and then, a television interview for the NTV channel.
It's a COMET, get over it!
To register a comet, the Minor Planet Center requires confirmation by multiple observations by several observers. The first Minor Planet Electronic Circular for Comet Elenin lists 8 different observatories/observers. Since then, the comet has been photographed by an increasing number of other amateurs - see the pictures section below.
A lot of the hysteria in the beginning was fuelled by the fact that the discovery was not covered by the mainstream media, at least in the USA. A lot of noise was made about the fact that a Google News search for "Comet Elenin" (in English) didn't return any results. This is true - up until June and later, the large US news media ignored the comet. The problem with the claim is that the comet was covered by the specialized mainstream media, such as Sky and Telescope magazine Observing Blog, which published a post about it in December 2010, two weeks after discovery. The comet was also covered by big mainstream media in Russia, with an interview with Leonid Elenin published in Gazeta.ru on 20 December 2010 (see media coverage below), and in Europe.
Buzz about the Buzzroom
“”One feature of this site is to grab videos posted on YouTube - automatically - and post them on a nasa.gov webpage and add a comment feature. … At one point I found a video that had been on nasa.gov for weeks that depicted a bloody lynching and featured a non-stop stream of profanity.
A fun moment was the appearance of Comet Elenin conspiracy videos on the NASA Buzzroom - a poorly thought-out NASA "social network aggregator" that collected Twitter messages, Flickr images and YouTube videos. It was supposed to aggregate content about NASA and/or space exploration, but the software also picked a lot of junk, including music videos and videos about crop circles. Which wouldn't be much of a problem if the site didn't lack a disclaimer that the content was not endorsed by NASA. Indeed, in the very beginning, it even lacked a description of what it did exactly. As a result, some people decided that if it is on a NASA .gov domain, this is some kind of "leak", admission or endorsement. (Despite the fact that the videos were clearly marked with the YouTube watermark and text saying "Uploaded to YouTube on ...") To be fair, the website was so minimalistic that is was not immediately obvious what was its purpose. Unless, of course, one had a minimal amount of web-savvy.
The fun ended when the space journalist Keith Cowing found out about the off-topic videos and wrote several angry posts at NASA Watch, resulting first in the removal of the Comet Elenin videos from the site, and then in the shutdown of the Buzzroom itself (as of 22 July, its home page still says "We're in the process of making Buzzroom better for our users. (...) Please check back in the future.").
Of course, the disappearance of the Buzzroom was taken by some as a confirmation that some secret had been leaked.
For now, see this thread at the BAUT Forum for a discussion of the alleged alignments and their alleged connection to earthquakes. See also confirmation bias, cherry picking, correlation does not equal causation and the Texas sharpshooter fallacy.
The arXiv papers
The arXiv is a large digital archive of un-reviewed papers hosted by Cornell University. It is intended mostly as a place where scientists can upload the drafts of their papers to discuss them with other scientists. As a result, its submission criteria are very lax and a lot of fringe papers are uploaded though they have no chance of being published in a proper scientific journal.
Someone decided to search for "Elenin" in the arXiv and found two draft papers.
One of them, the older one, is about a supernova and Leonid Elenin is listed as the second author (that is, not the main author).
The newer one is by one Mensur Omerbashich, a Bosnian crank who tries to use Comet Elenin to support his idea that the Earth is apparently some kind of "hyperresonator" and planetary alignments (including alignments with Elenin) cause earthquakes. (His website is rather amusing.) As he claims that the influence is gravitational ("tidally induced") and caused by resonance, this contradicts directly the other attempts at linking the comet to the earthquakes - the "electric comet" claims and the claim that the comet is a cover-up for a more massive object. For comments on Omerbashich's article, see the BAUT thread linked in alleged alignments above and posts by amateur astronomer Ian Musgrave.
Links to the search results and the Omerbashich article started circulating in the woosphere, with people misreading them in various ways. Some apparently don't know what arXiv is and think that these are papers that have been submitted to or published by Cornell.
There have been several claims about other objects following or flying together with the comet. The alleged nature of the alleged objects varies from claimant to claimant, from "satellites of the
brown dwarf comet" (see above) to "alien spacecraft". Such claims are eerily reminiscent of the claims about Comet Hale-Bopp and the Heaven's Gate cult suicides in the 1990s. And as one surprisingly sane poster on a conspiracy forum put it, "Most of you have been in diapers in 1997 and you don't make the connection."
A lot of the claims seem to be caused by a misinterpretation of telescope images of the comet where it is surrounded by "strings" of white blobs. The strings are actually multiplied images of the surrounding stars, a side effect of the process used to create the comet image. The process is called "image stacking" or "frame stacking" and it consists of combining several separate images of a faint object with a computer to produce a brighter image. In the case of stacked images of comets or asteroids, this makes stars appear as streaks or strings of blobs, as the comet of asteroid is moving relative to the star field in the time between each image.
An example is a July 2011 Sorcha Faal "report" that
used abused the picture to the left, cropped to show only the comet and the two tracks of quadrupled stars. The text of the "report" stated that the eight blobs are UFOs, belonging to an extraterrestrial civilization, recycling a previously circulating claim.
JPL's Small-Body Database Browser
After the woo started rolling, a lot of attention was focused on the entry of the comet in the JPL's Small-Body Database Browser, the only immediately available source of "official" information about the comet. Its imprecise orbital visualization applet was used to claim various alignments and to "determine" the date of the perihelion. The whole page was intensely scrutinized for clues about the nature of the comet, sometimes with hilarious results.
Date of the perihelion
The last "official" date of the perihelion is 10 September. As the page itself says, the tp ("time of perihelion passage") is "2011-Sep-10.71849569" (as of 9 September; the "solution date" is "2011-Sep-02"). Nevertheless, some people claim that the perihelion is on the 11th of September (DUH-DUH-DUH-DUHNNN!), claiming that if the orbital visualization applet is set to 11 September, the "Sun Distance" is 0.482 AU (astronomical units), while if the applet is set to the 10th of September, the distance is 0.483 AU. (The current orbital solution on the page puts the perihelion distance (q) at 0.4824397626063921 AU.)
This is partially true - it is likely that you will get the same results - but the problem is that the applet doesn't show the digits after the third one, neither the hour (only the date). Try the following:
- Open the orbit viewer for C/2010 X1 (requires Java; it may take some time to load)
- Set the date to 10 September. If the "Sun Distance" is 0.483, continue. If it's 0.482... point proven.
- Set the step from "1 Day" to "1 Hour"
- Start advancing the time by clicking on the ">|" button and keep an eye on the Sun distance and the date.
- After a few clicks, the distance should drop to 0.482 AU, but the date is still 10 September.
- Keep clicking. After a few clicks, the date should change to 11 September.
- After some more clicks (but less than those on 10 Sept), the distance should change to 0.483 AU, but the date is 11 September!
- The reason people are getting consistent results when they set the date is probably because the applet sets the hour to the same fixed value (midnight? noon?) every time the date is set. Thus, the distance drops below 0.483 some hours after the beginning of 10 September, and stays there at the beginning of 11 September, though farther away than in the point of the perihelion. (If you want, you can look at the source code of the applet - it's available at the Orbit Viewer page at AstroArts.)
The whole point is moot, though, for several reasons:
- The applet displays only the "two-body solution" based on the current orbital elements that doesn't correct for gravitational perturbations. It's just a tool for a rough visualization of the orbit, not a precise simulation (by the way, if you seriously think that you can download and run a meticulously accurate orbital/gravitational simulation as a Java applet in around a minute, RationalWiki suggests doing a little research into computer technology first. Oh, and it might also be an idea to look up how to cross the road safely whilst you're at it. Just a thought.). The numbers on the page, on the other hand - tp, q and the others - are the results of calculations that take into account the gravitational forces that the other bodies in the Solar System put on the comet. (See the Wikipedia article on n-body problem.)
- The date of the perihelion is irrelevant anyway. The Universe does not revolve around the United States. Honestly.
"Otto Matic" is a pun on the word "automatic" - it is pronounced in approximately the same way, something that may not be immediately obvious to people for whom English is not the first language. (You can check the pronunciation and hear it here.) It is a rather old pun and examples of it date at least back to the 1970s, including one in Playboy.
"Otto Mattic" is also the name given in the "Producer" field in Comet Elenin's entry in JPL's Small-Body Database Browser. (According to the pop-up help, this field is the "name of person (or institution) who computed the orbit".) Some perplexed conspiracy theorist Googled the name and found out that all results point to a video game developed by Pangea Software. Apparently, the game features a robot called Otto Matic Proto, who "travels to Planet Xallamarphamandos (Planet X for short)". As a result, some... people decided that "NASA must completely think that we're idiots... Or SEVERELY messing with our heads in a very evil way!"
There are several problems with this line of reasoning. The name probably indicates that the orbital parameters were imported or calculated by some kind of automatic process. The name is not specific to Comet Elenin, as it is used in the entries of many other objects, for example near-Earth asteroid 2008 OO, main belt asteroid (21) Lutetia and comet P/2011 NO1, Leonid Elenin's second discovered comet. It has been used in the SBDB at least since 2008 for asteroid 2007 TU24.
JPL's programmers are not the only ones with a taste for "automatic" jokes. Many of the Minor Planet Center's Minor Planet Electronic Circulars (MPECs) are signed by "A. U. Tomatic", for example MPEC 2011-P07, MPEC 2010-O34 and MPEC 2007-N12.
Game Over, Man!, Game Over!
In 19 August 2011 when it was very close to the Sun, Elenin was hit by a coronal mass ejection and shortly after began disintegrating, along with the credibility of cranks and woo lovers again. By October 2011, it was just a cloud of dust.
There were a lot of false claims that amateur astronomers could not find the comet and that all pictures were provided only by Elenin. These claims are easily dispelled.
- The Comet Elenin page on Seiichi Yoshida's comet website collects images of the comet by amateur astronomers. It was one of the first picture sources found when the conspiracy theories started to circulate, which prompted some of the conspiracy theorists to dismiss it as a part of the conspiracy.
- Various amateur astronomers posted their comet images to the now defunct Comet Images Yahoo Group.
- Southern Comets, Michael Mattiazzo's page, has some pictures of Comet Elenin from June and July 2011, made with an 11-inch Celestron 11GPS.
A photo showing blue stars and a large blue comet with distinctive tail labelled "COMET ELENIN" with blocky white letters is not a picture of Comet Elenin, but unfortunately it is one of the top results for "Comet Elenin" in Google Images and it was used in the Discover News article. It is actually a photo of the comet 81P/Wild that was used as an illustration in an early article about Elenin. Apparently the author thought that an article about a comet should contain an image of a comet even if it's not the same one. The original version, like most astronomical images, was "black-and-white" (grayscale). The blue-colored version with the incorrect label seems to originate from a January post in the blog of a conspiracy theorist who thought that it could hit Earth.
- See the Wikipedia article on Comet Elenin.
- C/2010 X1 (Elenin) data at JPL's Small Body Database browser, including a Java-based interactive orbit diagram
- The Minor Planet Center (their data often is somewhat fresher than the JPL's):
- Orbital elements and ephemeris for C/2010 X1 (Elenin), inlcuding a KML file for Google Sky
- Database page for C/2010 X1, including orbit solutions and downloadable list of the observations used to calculate the orbit
- International Astronomical Union Circular 9189: C/2010 X1; P/2010 V1, 17 December 2010, announcing the discovery of the comet
Sites by or about him:
- ISON-NM observatory site, including a blog written by Leonid Elenin himself (in English and Russian; the Russian part used to be more informative before he got a volunteer to translate his posts into English)
- «Кометы могут представлять серьезную угрозу» Интервью с первым российским астрономом, открывшим комету за последние 20 лет, Газета.Ru (interview with Leonid Elenin in Russian, passable Google Translate machine translation here), 20 December 2010
- Bright Prospects for Comet Elenin?, Sky & Telescope magazine Observing Blog, 24 December 2010
- From Super Moons to Comet Elenin – we will NOT get killer earthquakes from the sky, Astroblog, 16 March 2011 (previous coverage in the same blog; see also Supermoon)
- So-So Prospects for Comet Elenin, Sky & Telescope magazine Observing Blog, 12 April 2011
- Comet Elenin: Preview of a Coming Attraction, NASA/JPL's Asteroid Watch blog, 4 May 2011
- Comet 2010 X1 Elenin, Earthquakes, Astronomical Alignments and Mensur Omerbashich, Astroblog, 27 May 2011
- Comet Elenin is NOT a satellite of a Brown Dwarf Star, Astroblog, 3 June 2011
- Believers In Mysterious Planet Nibiru Await Earth's End, Space.com, 7 July 2011. Later republished as Believers in Mysterious Planet Nibiru, Comet Elenin Await Earth's End at the Fox News website on 24 July.
- Revisiting Comet 2010 X1 Elenin, Earthquakes, Astronomical Alignments and Mensur Omerbashich, Astroblog, 29 July 2011
- Comet Elenin Poses No Threat to Earth, NASA/JPL's News and Features, 16 August 2011
- NASA Answers Your Questions About Comet Elenin, short "feature" at the Solar System section of the main NASA website, 3 August 2011
- Exposing Pseudoastronomy Podcast #4 - Comet Elenin Special, Stuart Robbins, 10 September 2011
- The Curious Case of Comet Elenin: A Weird Skywatching Tale, Geoff Gaherty, Space.com, 22 September 2011
The anti-science self-promoter Richard Hoagland spoke at a woo conference on 24 September 2011 for 3h 20m on the subject of Elenin. He then spoke for another 2h on Coast to Coast AM, 16 October. On both occasions, using pseudo-statistical data that was breathtakingly wrong,[note 7] he "calculated" that the odds of Elenin being a natural object were 45,000,000,000 against.
A few very gullible people believed this; however, Hoagland's very obvious failures over both Elenin and the asteroid YU55 lost him a great many fans.
Just enter "Comet Elenin" in the search engine of your choice. A taste of the crazy:
- Comet Elenen: The Story So Far… (archived copy)
- TerralO3 is one of the major fear-mongers on YouTube and elsewhere (see this
websitelink dump, archived by WebCite)
- Comets Honda and Elenin fulfill Mayan, Hopi and Christian Prophesies as the Mayan calendar approaches its end on October 28, 2011, Carl Johan Calleman, 23 June 2011 (Archived by WebCite®)
- Elenin and Bankers, an amusing single-page site connecting Comet Elenin with an international banker conspiracy (Archived by WebCite®)
- Comet races toward Earth at peak of God's holy days: Pastor asking: 'Will there be some type of magnetic pull? Will the poles shift?', Joe Kovacs, World Net Daily, 31 July 2011 (yes, that WND - they are covering the "fulfils Biblical prophecy" angle)
- NASA Answers Your Questions About Comet Elenin
Places to mine for more examples:
- List of all threads on Above Top Secret mentioning "Elenin" (Google custom search)
- Godlike Productions helpfully has created an automatically-generated "topic" about Comet Elenin containing all threads with certain keywords in their title
- "Amateur astronomer" means simply that the person is not professionally employed in, formally trained in, and/or personally dedicated to astronomy as a career. It does not imply lack of astronomical knowledge or skill. (Some very fine science has been done, and notable scientific advance made, by amateurs.) Mr. Elenin is employed by the Institute for Applied Mathemathics of the Russian Academy of Science, but his work there is not directly connected to astronomy; he himself describes himself as "астроном-любитель" in the Gazeta.ru interview. Unfortunately, the Leonid meteor shower is not named after him.
- A lot of people find it strange that a Russian used (uses) a telescope in New Mexico. There's also the claim that he couldn't be able to observe the comet from there on the date of the discovery. Or the claim that no such observatory exists.
- Their website is here, the main page is in Russian, but there's also an English version. The network used to be called PulKON, "Pulkovo Cooperation of Optical Observers" (in Russian: ПулКОН, "Пулковской кооперации оптических наблюдателей"). The up-to-date list of optical observatories is here and includes a link to the ISON-NM observatory website (under "Нью-Мексико", i.e. New Mexico).
- Normally, reflector telescopes have another mirror in the primary focus that diverts the image towards an eyepiece. A primary focus camera means that a telescope is dedicated exclusively to astrophotography.
- If you have lived in a cave in the 1990s or were not old enough at the time, the movie's Wikipedia page is here and its listing in IMDB is here.
- To make matters worse, the female lead in Deep Impact was played by Téa Leoni! Leoni, Leonid! Get it? And Téa is almost like tea, as in Tea Party, which will still have members in the U.S. Congress when the comet comes to kill us! OMG! It must be more than a coincidence! Start building your underground bunkers before it's too late!
- For example, he stated that the odds of a cometary orbit having a certain inclination are "1 in (365 divided by the inclination in degrees)". This means that the odds of an orbit of zero incination are... er.... oh, never mind.
- See the Wikipedia article on Provisional designation in astronomy § Comets.
- New Mexico Skies Remote observatories.
- Centurion-18 telescope, astroworks.com.
- FLI ML09000-65 astronomical imaging camera. Archived from the original at fli-cam.com.
- First Russian Internet telescope in the Western hemisphere (in Russian), 4 August 2010. Note that one of the authors of the page is Leonid Elenin himself.
- Comet Elenin is Coming! , Laura Knight-Jadczyk, 12 January 2011
- MARCH 11-23 EVENT?! Signs and Evidence, 9Nania, YouTube, 8 March 2011. See this thread at the BAUT forum for a discussion of the claims.
- "NOT ELENIN COMET, BUT A SUPERMASSIVE BLACK CARBON STAR" - HD SWEET!, debieblue, YouTube, 15 July 2011. You gotta love the all-caps video description.
- Acceleration Radio – Deborah Sontag – Signs in the HEAVENS! and Deborah Sontag – MP3 and RECAP of show!, L.A. Marzulli's Blog, 14 July 2011. And Leonis is the genitive form of Leo and "translates from Latin" as "of Lion", you ignorant gasbag.
- See the Wikipedia article on CW Leonis.
- A particularly insane comment at Leonid Elenin's blog, 27 May 2011
- All questions about Comet Elenin at Ask an Astrobiologist so far, as as a sample of the crazy: , , , , .
- Will Earthbound Comet Fulfill 2012 Prophecy?, Discovery News, 22 March 2011 ("Oh, no, sir, we are not using a sensationalistic headline, we are just reporting the controversy, honest!")
- Russian Warning Issued Over “Controlled” Comet Headed Towards Earth, WhatDoesItMean.com, 1 March 2011 (Archived by WebCite®)
- Top US Space Expert Issues Catastrophic Warning On Comet Elenin, Sorcha Faal, WhatDoesItMean.com (and probably mirrored elsewhere), 7 July 2011 (archived by WebCite)
- Russian Warning Issued Over “Controlled” Comet Headed Towards Earth (Mar 1st, 2011) The European Union Times.
- Some anonymous (and quickly reverted) contribution to the Wikipedia article
- Not a terribly common name for a male, but see this and this
- His profile is here, but only members of the forum can see it. Example threads: this one from 2009 about Russians "recovering" lost comets mentions congratulates him on recovering the comet P/2002 JN16 (LINEAR).
- Again, viewing his profile page requires registration. Apparently, he used to be a moderator there.
- MPEC 2010-X101: COMET C/2010 X1 (ELENIN), the Minor Planet Center, 12 December 2010
- Комета Еленина породила массовую истерию в интернете, RIA Novosti, 7 May 2011; English translations were distributed by various other sites, such as Russia Today: Online craze over looming “comet doomsday”, 12 May 2011
- К Земле приближается загадочная комета (video and text, in Russian), NTV.ru, 11 May 2011 (The title: "An enigmatic comet is approaching the Earth". Bloody sensation-mongers...)
- Удача космического масштаба улыбнулась российским ученым (text and video in Russian), Первый канал, 22 July 2011
- NASA Buzzroom Is Broken. Please Fix It. (Updated with SOMD Response), NASA Watch, 4 March 2011
- NASA Buzzroom is Back and it is Awful by Keith Cowing (August 16, 2011 9:25 PM) NASA Watch.
- Pseudoscience and Profane Videos Featured Online at NASA.gov, NASA Watch, 3 March 2011
- NASA Finally Pulls Buzzroom Offline for an Overhaul, NASA Watch, 9 March 2011
- search on 'all:elenin' arXiv.org (archived from April 15, 2015).
- SN 2008fv: the third type Ia supernova in NGC 3147, D. Yu. Tsvetkov, L. Elenin
- Astronomical alignments as the cause of ~M6+ seismicity
- Comet 2010 X1 Elenin, Earthquakes, Astronomical Alignments and Mensur Omerbashich. Archived from the original at astroblogger.blogspot.com, 27 May 2011.
- Revisiting Comet 2010 X1 Elenin, Earthquakes, Astronomical Alignments and Mensur Omerbashich. Archived from the original at astroblogger.blogspot.com, 30 July 2011.
- Comet Elenin - Leonid Elenin Answers Questions Regarding EQ's (3rd May), Thyalwaysseek, video at YouTube
- Capturing a Comet, Richard A. Bennion, Ewell Observatory. The article has several examples of comet images containing strings of multiplied stars.
- George of the Jungle (entry at IMDB), a 1967–1970 cartoon series featuring a villain called Baron Otto Matic.
- Dr. Otto Matic, I Presume, Craig Vetter, Playboy, April 1970
- WTF is "producer - Otto Matic" and WTF a video game has to do with the COMET?!?, thread at Godlike Productions, started 8 July 2011
- Comet Elenin Is Of Intelligent Design, thread at the Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forum, started on 08 July 2011
- A post mentions "Otto Matic" in Asteroid TU24 close?, thread at the Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forum, in January 2008
- Interaction between Comet Elenin and CME from the Sun
- Comet elenin tired of too much PR
- And so the story ends
- Comet Elenin as seen by HI1-B on Aug. 6, 2011. stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov, 19 March 2018.
- C/2010 X1 (Elenin) (Updated on January 7, 2012) Seiichi Yoshida's Home Page.
- Search results for "C/2010 X1" on Yahoo Groups Comet-Images]. Archived from the original at tech.groups.yahoo.com on 7 July 2013.
- Comet Elenin at the Southern Comets page, 2011.
- Comet Elenin, Observe a Jewel of the Night Skies September 2011, Suite101, 25 December 2010. The full photo is attached to the article: Comet 81P/Wild and can be seen also on the Tzec Maun page of the Red Barn Observatory's website.
- Comet Elenin Could Hit Earth!, Ray Alex Website, 18 January 2011