Well, you know what, Elenin made it's nearest approach nearly 2 weeks ago, and it's not getting further away.
So you are suggesting it is perhaps some manner of time/space travel that the ship had to go right by earth and then around the sun before coming back to earth to stop ? ...like in that one old Star Trek movie where time travel was directly linked to sling shotting around the sun.
I always wondered why the rest of the Star Trek universe never followed that excellent science example set by that initial movie... maybe when saving whales things regarding time travel differ from regular time travel.
Anyways back to the topic at hand... was the sun perhaps a gravity brake ? Using solar energy to bring a ship travelling faster than light... crap, this comet was not travelling faster than light to begin with was it ? Okay... I'll be back later on with the real reason it had a sun fly by first before coming back around to earth.