GRAS users Ernesto Guido and Giovanni Sostero along with Nick Howes have been on a quest this week, with their result being a dim image of what could possibly be the remnants of Comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin). Their images showed a small thin cloud which was very dim where the comet should be. It was too close to call.
But now this ghostly green cloud of debris can be clearly seen in the amazing color image shown below. In this follow-up confirmation image by Rolando Ligustri via the GRAS-020 wide field telescope, the rubble and extended remains of the comet are visible in the moonless skies above the GRAS telescopes in New Mexico.
Rolando’s image has been studied by and allowed its discoverer Leonid Elenin to confirm that indeed the ex-comet has evaporated and only this dusty elongated patch remains in its predicted orbital position.
“After many attempts to detect any remnants of the comet Elenin, they were found. The first message came from Ernesto Guido and Giovanni Sostero and Nick Howes. On their images to be seen a small, elongated cloud with low surface brightness. This cloud is clearly seen in the picture by Ligustri Rolando…repeated observations of the comet and the movement of this cloud has been confirmed.” (Leonid Elenin - SpaceObs Blog)
The cloud is now rising in the northern skies and the now moonless skies have allowed its presence to be confirmed.
Well done Ernesto’s team and to Rolando.