Comet Tempel 2
10P/Tempel is a periodic comet discovered by comet hunter
Tempel of Milan far back in 1873. It has an orbital period of about 5 years
and has become brighter at each apparition thus enjoying a popularity among
amateur astronomers. At the last apparition it passed perihelion in July
2010 shining brightly at 9th to 10th magnitude.
What should be specially mentioned about this comet is that
it was recovered by Prof. Kudara of the University of Kyoto at its 1920
apparition. He was an authority on astronomical orbital theories. He is
said to have recovered this comet to verify the accuracy of his prediction
made by calculating perturbation following the previous apparition. He
recovered this comet at the next apparition of 1925, but he didn't tell
this to anybody with his characteristic modesty, according to one anecdote.
In fact, Prof. Kudara's recovery that year is not recorded in Brian Marsden's
"Comet Catalog". It was the truth that only his colleague Issei
It is said that Prof. Kudara had his residence at Midosuji
in Osaka and was observing there when he recovered Comet Tempel 2. It was
at 10.5 magnitude. At this magnitude it would not be easy to observe visually
even under dark skies today. But he found it from the middle of the bustling
city. What's more surprising is he used a home-built 10cm- or 15cm-aperture
refractor, which had only a single lens, according to Shigeru Kanda, an
authority on the comet at the former Tokyo Astronomical Observatory.
When I look at the beautiful blue diffused coma of this comet,
memories of the bygone days return as if these things happened just yesterday.
Comet Tempel 2
02:56, June 17, 2010 (J.S.T.)
70cm reflector with Nikon D700 at Geisei Observatory
Photographed by Tsutomu Seki
Copyright © 2013 Tsutomu Seki.