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• June 12
I started observing fainter LINEAR comets at the observatory last night. Insects' high-pitched, busy chirping was heard in the shrubs around the observatory dome. Were they suzumushi ("bell-ringing crickets)?
Some clouds rolled in at midnight. June 3 is a commemorable date, when Mr. Minoru Honda discovered Comet Honda-Bernasconi (C/1948 L1). Mr. Honda found this comet visually when it moved north into Perseus in the morning twilight after passing perihelion on May 15 at a distance of 0.2 AU. He was observing at Setomura village in Hiroshima Prefecture. He came across this comet at 3.40 am when he checked the brightening sky close to the sun as he always did upon completion of the routine sweeping using a 15cm reflector (f/6.3 at 23x) on the altazimuth mount. In Italy a little later Bernasconi independently discovered this comet using 7x50 binoculars. The magnitude was 4.5. At the end of that year the famous comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova appeared. At that time I was in my third year at senior high school and engrossed in the night sky with a telescope equipped with a magnifying glass lens. How memorable Comet Honda is ! Where is that comet seeker now which discovered a number of comets while drenched with autumn dews.
The photograph shows a square tube of the comet seeker which discovered Comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova in 1948.
Click here for a larger image
The square tube of the 15cm-comet seeker used by
Mr. Minoru Honda at Setomura, Hiroshima Prefecture
(Owned by Kurashiki Astronomical Observatory)
Copyright (C) 2003 Tsutomu Seki.