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|• February 12
It was clear but quite hazy. Not many stars could be viewed in the western sky from the observatory. As a result a 30-minute or longer exposure on ISO 400 film caused severe fogging.
The photograph of C/2002 T7 (LINEAR) below was taken with a 30-second exposure starting at 19.00 J.S.T. The magnitudes were 7.6 (m1, total magnitude) and 8.3 (m2, magnitude of the nucleus). The coma 8' across and a short tail were barely visible. In the 60cm the nucleus was solid.
19.00 Feb 12, 2004 (J.S.T.)
|• February 10
I went to Iyo City near Matsuyama on an urgent business. On my way back I chose to drive along Route 33, the old national highway, and crossed Kosaka-toge Pass. I took a break at Kumakogen. The snow-covered landscape seemed to have been preserved for some days thanks to below-freezing temperatures. I pictured Mr. Akimasa Nakamura (Kuma Kogen Observatory) working in these harsh weather conditions and admired his efforts. I remember that an amateur living in the township of Kuma spoke to me when I was taking in a snow-covered scene at this highland on a cold day like this about 20 years ago. He told me he was observing with a 10cm reflector. In those days we were able to see awesome starry skies there similar to those seen at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Three years later this amateur came to see me at my current residence. I am sure that he frequents Kumakogen Observatory these days.
A snow-covered scene near the national highway
The mountain ranges seen from Kuma
|• February 9
Cold weather has been continuing. In the western sky gray snow-laden clouds were seen. LINEAR is at 7-8th magnitude and has become closer to the sun. Toward the end of the month it will brighten to 6th magnitude with its tail growing to 3°.
This January I began a serial about the stars in the newsletter published monthly by Ryoma Post Office in the neighborhood. The story is entitled "A Banquet in the Starry Sky" and begins with the assassination scene of Ryoma. In my mind's eye I can see among the stars an image of Omi-ya Soy Sauce Company* in Kawaramachi, but was it just a dream or reality? It's hard to tell.
(*) Sakamoto Ryoma (1835-67) played a key role in breaking down the Shogunate system. He was assassinated while hiding at Omi-ya Soy Sauce Store in Kyoto.
Copyright (C) 2004 Tsutomu Seki.