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|• May 19
Three of my friends, Messrs. Yoshihiro Yamada, Katsuhiko Anabuki, and Tatsuo Hori, dropped in on their way home from a meeting of Astronomical Society of Shikoku in Matsuyama City. They were joined by three locals, Messrs. Muraoka, Shimomoto, and Seki myself. We enjoyed three hours of talking and chatting. Next year the Society will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its establishment. The general meeting will be held in Takamatsu City.
|• May 12
It has cleared up at last after a period of bad weather. When I rushed to the observatory as soon as I had finished my guitar lessons, I found Mr. Okamura and others observing C/2002 C1 (Ikeya-Zhang). The comet was located in the northwest of Hercules and faintly visible to the naked eye. Using binoculars, Mr. Okamura estimated its magnitude to be around 4, but my estimate was about 5.5. Through the 20cm telescope the coma was fairly large (about 12' in diameter) and a slight extension of glow was visible. A 12-minute exposure by the 60cm telescope showed a possible type 1 tail 30' long.
I continued observing until 4.30 in the morning. For the last one hour I searched the northeastern sky with the 20cm f/12 (40x) mounted on the 60cm reflector. The condition was not favorable with heavy dewing. M31 and M32 came into view low on the horizon but there was nothing suspicious found. It was a tiring exercise dragged around by the huge 60cm's tube. However, it was quite helpful that the current position of the telescope was shown in RA and declination in large red numerals on the console. Anyone who has ever searched for comets will know how useful this device is. What would you do if you find a white fuzzy glow very low on the horizon at twilight and if there is no constellation visible? The console can tell you the position of an unknown object to the minute. For sweeping the sky I use a trio of telescopes: 9cm, 12cm, and 20cm apertures.
C/2002 C1 (Ikeya-Zhang)
At 23:00 May 12, 2002
12-minute exposure on TP6415 film
|• May 8
Since the beginning of a series of public holidays, there has been no clear days. You lose momentum if you have been deprived of starry nights. Even when stars appear occasionally, your head is not clear and you are scared of going to the observatory where you never know what you may encounter (ghosts and monsters?) What abominable weather! Even during the rainy season you can have starry skies once in a while...
The observatory's public viewing night in on May 11. The weather forecast is rain turning to overcast. Very depressing indeed, physically as well as emotionally. I hope I can recover from this in June.
Copyright (C) 2002 Tsutomu Seki.