Friday, October 28, 2011

R.I.P Comet Elenin (and rumors, too!)

It's dead, Jim.

Comet Elenin is no more.

According to both NASA and Sky and Telescope, Comet Elenin has disintegrated. A first-time comet, meaning it had never been into the inner Solary System before, Elenin was predicted by astronomers to be a bright, beautiful comet, if not quite in the same league as Hale-Bopp. It was simultaneously predicted by some (who didn't understand orbital mechanics) to be the end of the world. Instead, its falling inward toward the sun proved to be the end of the comet.

Coming in from outside the plane of the ecliptic, it would have made for a gorgeous sight for Northern Hemisphere observers, who haven't had a bright comet placed for good viewing in some time. The inclination of this comet relative to the ecliptic (plane of the solar system) would have changed that.

Instead, by April it was showing signs of coming apart at the seams. In August, it was hit broadside by a large coronal mass ejection from the sun, which blew away much of the volatile material that would have made it a lovely comet.

(Contrary to some claims, there was no "energy shield" which protected it from the CME. Any "sightings" of such a thing were likely inadvertent misinterpretations of a bow shock between the cometary material and the CME. Tetrahedral "shields" are unlikely in any event due to the difficulty in producing such a shape - spherical would be much more likely, IF such a shield had existed. I love the way the "true believers" shifted from "natural object" to "alien spacecraft" as soon as evidence for the former vanished in a puff of dust and gas.)

Three weeks before perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) which would have been on September 10, it completely disintegrated. According to comet expert John Bortle, "The decline/fade of Elenin was abrupt and dramatic."

All that's left of the once and never "planet-killer" is a loose, wispy cloud of gas and dust, rapidly dispersing, according to photographs.

Hopefully, so too will be the rumors of its threat.

-Stephanie Osborn

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

First Book of a New Series!

Book 1 of the Displaced Detective Series, The Case of the Displaced Detective: The Arrival (for more information see will be released in November! The official release date is 15 Nov, but that's the day it comes from the printer. Books won't be available from stores (website or otherwise) until around 28Nov-1Dec. Currently Barnes-Noble is accepting pre-orders, and it will be on Amazon as well, but hold that thought for a moment.

Because I am proclaiming Thursday, 1 Dec, to be The Arrival Day!

I am asking all my fans to WAIT and place their orders/purchases on that day, 1 Dec, in the hopes that we can push it as high as possible on the best-seller listings! So please hold off ordering until that day, and then EVERYONE buy on that day! Also please feel free to forward this email to anyone you think will be interested in a science fiction spy mystery that INCLUDES Sherlock Holmes! That means SF fans, mystery fans, spy mystery fans, Sherlock Holmes fans, and anybody that likes a good read!

This story idea hit me and came spewing out in two months! I've never written so hard, so fast! I'm very proud of it and I think you're going to really enjoy it! So let's work together to ensure it does great!