Comets are often portrayed as harbingers of gloom and doom, but most pose no threat to Earth. Comet Elenin, the latest comet to visit our inner solar system, is no differnt. The comet will pass approximately 22 million miles (35 million kilometers) from Earth at its closest approach on October 16, 2011.
Comet Elenin is also known as C/2010 X1. It was first discovered on December 10, 2010, by Leonid Elenin, an observer in Russia, who made the discovery remotely using an observatory in New Mexico. At that time, Elenin was about 401 million miles (647 million km) from Earth. Since its discovery, the comet has closed the distance to Earth’s vicinity as it approaches its closest point to the Sun.