| Return |
• October 31
The waxing moon is in the sky. I spent two hours chasing the glow of Comet Perrine-Mrkos to photograph it with the 12cm telescope for two hours from 3 am to 5 am. The comet is now approaching. Having been wandering for 34 long years in space, it should have drifted a considerable distance from the predicted positions. For tonight's observation I covered ±5 days from the predicted position, which would be the most likely area for recovery.
What a stupid mistake I made! I finished a roll of film (10 exposures) with the telescope cap left on! This unfamiliar telescope caused this unpardonable mistake. I realized this when I was exposing the last frame on Comet Wirtanen. By then 99% of my task had been completed and the twilight began. This would be a once-in-10-year blunder. Only at such a time 18D/Perrine-Mrkos would be found. A misfortune brings itself to you anytime. I have resigned to the idea that there will be no discovery without an accumulation of misfortunes.
How about Comet Perrine-Mrkos? Was it found somewhere?
The 60cm reflector cannot be used for precise measurements. I have to loosen the declination clamp first then hang myself onto the bottom end of the tube. This way I can move the heavy telescope northward using my body weight. During public viewing nights I have to perform this acrobatic trick, although we use only the 20cm refractor (mounted on the 60cm) for viewing by the public.
Tsutomu Seki hanging from the telescope tube!
• October 7
The moment of truth came.
Technicians from Goto Optical Mfg. attempted to repair the 60cm telescope for 3 days from September 29. The cause of the problem seemed to be a spark in the circuit in the console. They removed important parts and took them back to the factory. However, these parts are already 25 years old, and , just like modern expensive cameras becoming unrepairable after 10 years, this telescope is likely not repairable. Unless it is rebuilt from the ground up, it may not be used for precise measurements. In a way this is a good chance for refurbishing this dated telescope, but there is no fund for it. Thus, 372 will be out of action for some time.
The observatory will be closed until November 8. But I want to give it a good pat on the back for more than 20 years of its continuing service.
"Chirping of insects heard from the aging telescope on this autumn night"
Copyright (C) 2002 Tsutomu Seki.