C/1980 Y1 (Bradfield) = 1980t
Mr. Bradfield is a leading Australian comet hunter. In 1980
he came to Japan and visited Geisei Observatory. While in Japan, he met
with many Japanese comet observers and enjoyed scholarly exchanges with
them and their friendship. I think he looked forward to meeting Mr. Minoru
Honda, but the meeting of the two great comet observers from both hemispheres
did not take place.
Mr. Bradfield has discovered many comets using a telescope
with a 5-inch (12.5cm) Japanese lens. Many of his comets are relatively
faint. The photograph below was taken by a 40cm reflector (whose mirror
was ground by Mr. Kojima) in 1980 when Geisei's 60cm reflector did not
exist. A copy of this photograph was given to Mr. Bradfield as a gift to
mark his visit to Geisei in 1980. His latest discovery in 2003 was made
as a result of his efforts to find Kreutz comets and he seems to have been
focusing on bright ones. Comet Ikeya-Seki of 1965, a Kreutz comet, must
have been easily visible in Australia, but he said he had not been in astronomy
back then. Later, he would travel to a desert to observe driving over a
distance of more than 100 km almost every day. Here in Japan, Mr. Hyakutake
traveled to outer suburbs with his heavy 15cm binoculars loaded in his
car. At his observing site, he unloaded it and set it up for observing.
In reality, discovery is rare, even if you continue this sort of back-breaking
hard work day after day. After all, discovery is made possible by the observer's
energy, and of course, boundless passion. Back in the 19th century, the
American comet hunter Lewis Swift used to travel to a factory far away
from his home and climbed onto its rooftop observing site. When frost or
snow was on the roof, it was slippery and he had to crawl over the roof
tiles. People, whose names are long remembered, have made unimaginably
arduous efforts to achieve their goals.
Comet Bradfield C/1980 Y1 (Bradfield) = 1980t
3-minute exposure from 18:25, January 8, 1981 (J.S.T.)
40cm reflector, TRI-X film
Copyright © 2006 Tsutomu Seki.