You know the Internet is getting carried away with itself when NASA
has to issue a press release just to assure everyone that we aren't facing armageddon. What seems to be a rather insignificant story about a comet passing close (but not too close) to Earth has gotten wrapped up in doomsday predictions and run-for-the-hills hysteria. Never fear, life as we know it isn't about to end. At least, not from anything that has to do with the Comet Elenin
, which is set to pass by Earth some 22 million miles (35 million kilometers) away during its closest approach on Oct. 16, 2011.
The comet, more formally known as C/2010 X1
, was first detected on Dec. 10, 2010 by Leonid Elenin
in Lyuberts, Russia using images obtained from an observatory in New Mexico. Since then, Comet Elenin has been on track to pass by Earth on its way to perihelion, its closest point to the sun. While television and movies have made comets approaching Earth something to be incredibly weary about, NASA reports that there will be no influence in any way
on Earth due to the comet's passing.