A few hours after a comet discovered by amateur astronomers on September 30 impacted the sun, a massive coronal mass ejection took place directly opposite the object’s impact point. Previously, solar scientists would have assumed that this wasa coincidence, but observation of another sungrazer on July 5 revealed significant interactions with the sun’s atmosphere.

So it now seems possible that comets–the largest of which are tiny in comparison to the sun–can nevertheless cause sreactions from the solar disk. Scientists at NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory will be studying this matter with interest.

Comet Elenin, which will pass Earth at a distance of 22 million miles on October 16, will not impact the sun. Whether or not this small object, passing as a distance 90 times farther away than the moon, will even be visible, remains to be seen. It is not a brown dwarf star or a rogue planet, and will not cause any of the dramatic effects being claimed on the internet as it passes. It will have no effect on the sun at all. Is this another ominous sign of impending disaster?

WHO KNOWS what will happen in the future, especially when that dreaded date of December 21, 2012 arrives? Sometimes a novel can tell you more than nonfiction, and Whitley Strieber’s novel "2012" is one of these. You can get it from the Whitley Strieber Collection, and it will come with an autographed bookplate that was designed by Whitley!

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