Coming up in September, we might see a faint comet (called ELEnin), or, a rogue brown dwarf star. The first possibility is a comet, which is a normal occurrence. The second possibility, a brown dwarf star, would be a major scientific anomaly. The first possibility is barely perceptible visibly, and not headed for any earth collision (36,000 miles distance at nearest approach).
Exact locations can be determined at http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=ELENIN&orb=1. The second possibility, a brown dwarf star, can be seen on the exact same path.
Strange, but both are almost invisible to the telescope’s eye. The comet is far enough away from the sun now, so it would seem almost invisible. A dwarf star would be equally hard to see, because it retains all its star mass without fusion occurring. This particular comet/dwarf star has gotten more than its share of publicity. In fact, ELEnin has been observed 2218 times by NASA since June [http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2011-135]. Only comets Hale-Bopp and Halley have been observed more times.
That second possibility is a super-cold failed star. It’s temperature is just above absolute “0”, but may be more massive than a number of Jupiters. Official word is ELEnin is a typical comet, and will soon be a non-event.
Many are convinced that it really is a brown dwarf star, or what some have already labeled as a dark star. The chances of it being a brown dwarf are remote. But not that remote. One astronomer puts the chances of it being a brown dwarf at 14%. It will likely be a non-event, but in the astronomical world a 14% chance is very, very significant.
Why a brown dwarf? Many claim to have noticed perturbations it has caused to other celestial object paths, with indications of more mass than 12 Jupiters [Update:Elenin will be Huge!by Mr2tuff]. At that size, a star would not have achieved fusion, and would be almost completely dark. Of course, with an object so dark, perturbations of other celestial bodies may never have been noticed.
ELEnin does not act or look like a comet to many astronomers. It’s the first time this object has ever been recorded making a flyby. It does not originate from the Main Asteroid Belt (between Mars and Jupiter), the Centaurs, the Kuiper Belt, or the Oort Cloud.
If this brown dwarf follows its predicted orbit, several things will happen. During a flyby, gravitational forces will wreak havoc with earth’s tectonic plates which will cause earthquakes. Many have already occurred. One could expect readings to exceed 9.0 (Richter Scale). That was associated with the March 2011 Japan earthquake from ELEnin’s last conjunction.
Magnetic Portals Connect Earth to the Sun – NASA Science reports, will be cut off on 9/26/11 when ELEnin crosses directly in between the earth and the sun on the celestial plane. Magnetic Portals were thought to be non-existent, until proved in 2008. Magnetic Portals between the earth and the sun will be shortest but thickest at this upcoming conjunction, right during the interruption of normal particle flow.
During this period, earth’s north pole will be rejected by the sun. Migration of the earth’s true north pole is already occurring. How far it travels, and if it will ever return to its original position is not known. With an altered pole, wind currents, and tilt of the planet will not be known. It’s sill unknown what will happen to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)– largest climate controlling ocean current.
And still, another alignment date on 11/22/11 will occur. Only 0.58 AU distant (the dwarf star), rather than 2.10 AU from earth, [orbits shown on ELEnin Dwarf Star Warning September 26, 2011 – YouTube], gravitational forces will be significantly higher, and other unexpected happenings may occur.
Many questions, but few answers. The object will most likely be only a comet. In the event it’s not, consider yourself forewarned
That said, natural variations and climate changes that would come from a marauding dwarf star, would likely convince many believers in converting away from anthropogenic global warming. It’s a sure bet a rogue dwarf star would not be responsible for production of any additional CO2.
Kevin Roeten can be reached at email@example.com.