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From the Translator

From the 50's to 60's, when I was a teenager interested in stargazing, names such as Honda, Ikeya, and Seki were synonymous with comet discoveries and almost household names in Japan. They dominated the world of comet hunters with successive discoveries. In Japan their successful discoveries inspired generations of amateur astronomers to comet hunting.

Forty years later their names still appear almost on every page of the search results under comet-related keywords in Internet search engines. I automatically assumed that an active comet hunter like Seki would have his own web-page to report his observation results world-wide. One day using a search engine, I found his web site and was immensely impressed with amounts of, not just observational data, but his personal experience and emotions associated with his nightly observation at Geisei Observatory. At the same time I expected that his site would certainly have an English version for international audiences. However, I was not able to find it anywhere and sadly convinced that it did not exist. My involvement in creation of an English version for Mr. Seki started at this point.

I immediately contacted Mr. Shimomoto, the web administrator for Mr. Tsutomu Seki's web site and learned that they initially wanted to set up both the Japanese and English versions. However, the cost of English translation was prohibitive and forced them to abandon the idea, as Geisei Observatory was funded by Kochi Prefecture and like other public observatories the funding was quite limited.

I felt that thousands of amateur astronomers world-wide would benefit from observational information and data at Seki's web site. They would also be surprised that Mr. Seki is still very active with observational activities through which he contributes enormously to the calculation and determination of comet and minor planet orbits as well as discoveries and retrieving of these objects. This is why I offered my service for translation, as I was confident that I could help them using my linguistic experience accumulated through 27 years of residence in English-speaking countries together with a professional training as a foreign language teacher.

Now that the English version is complete, I am thrilled that our primary objective has been achieved and that Mr. Seki's homepage is viewed by many international observers and enthusiasts. As a translator with a non-native speaking background, I am aware of possible errors in English usage, but confident that international visitors to this web site will not be too distracted by these errors.

It should also be noted that this English version would have never eventuated without the expertise and patience of Mr. Shigeo Shimomoto, the web administrator and amateur astronomer himself, and a scrutiny of the translated content by Mr. Hirohisa Sato, a well-known amateur with his name given to one of the minor planets for his contribution to astronomy. And of course, Mr. Tsutomu Seki himself, without whom there would be no reason or purpose for this project.

Your comments and suggestions are welcome. In case you would like to know about my own stargazing activity, you might want to visit my web site.

Web address: http://www.geocities.com/eijikato2001/

Eiji Kato
Queensland, Australia
February 26, 2003

Copyright (C) 2003 Tsutomu Seki.