The comet was discovered last December by Russian amateur astronomer, Leonid Elenin (hence the name.) The comet nucleus is estimated to be between three or four kilometers across. That could make things sort of interesting for us if it hits Earth.
Which it probably won't. As a matter of fact, we can almost say it definitely won't. Comet Elenin will make its closest approach to Earth in October at a range of over 21 million miles, which would make it slightly closer than the planet Venus. That's "in the neighborhood" in astronomical terms but hardly cause to sound for collision. The comet should be rather thoroughly observed by the SOHO (SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory) space probe and that will hopefully yield significant data for the study of comets.
While any comet bright enough to be observed in the sky brings with it at least a bit of excitement, this one seems to be unique for more than a few reasons. There are those out there who are supporters of what has been called "the Nibiru collision," wherein our planet will have an apocalyptic brush...either collision or close approach...with a large planetary object. The name "Nibiru" was stuck to the notion as that is the name given to a supposed planet spoken of by ancient astronaut theorist, Zecharia Sitchin. Proponents of this Nibiru collision theory point to the very name of the Elenin's discoverer, claiming that it is close to the acronym ELE, Extinction Level Event. They claim that the comet really has the mass of a brown dwarf and that NASA has been covering all of this up. Where in reality, astronomers have run simulations and demonstrated that a stellar object with the mass of a brown dwarf would have demonstrable gravitational effects on Saturn which we could see long before the comet ever even entered our solar system.
But that doesn't stop the talk. In fact, it gets even better from a thriller writer's standpoint. On September 27th, Comet Elenin will begin to approach. President Obama will be in Denver. As will, according to somebody out there, military and NASA officials. There is supposedly an enormous New World Order bunker beneath Denver Airport and the kicker is that our military is said to be running a "Cocked Pistol" or DEFCON-1 drill on the same day (that's the highest level of military readiness i.e. all-out war, for those of you who don't read G.I. Joe.) One thing I will say is that I've been to Denver's airport and it is a very strange place. Could there be something to this?
Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets