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The Story of a Comet Hunter's Life

My 50 years with Comets


    Astronomy has made enormous progress over half a century from the time of establishment of Palomar Observatory in the 1940s to the operation of Subaru Telescope at the dawn of the 21st Century. Gigantic telescopes attempt to record the images of the far reaches of the universe. Mankind succeeded in lunar exploration by manned spacecraft and the exploration of Mars by unmanned probes. Space travel is no longer just a dream. I am extremely happy that I have been able to pursue the study of astronomy when astronomy is making major historical discoveries. I have come to realize that half a century has passed while I have been watching the stars since my childhood. So many things have occurred during these years. Encounters with my respectful teachers and farewells with them. Friends and people before me who had headed for battle fields in the southern seas and perished; an encounter with one particular book which had led me to astronomy; dramas about new discoveries; farewells to my comets which had left us forever; the day my mother passed away; and the tracking of minor planets I discovered by accident and their naming. I believe that my pursuit of astronomy for these long years has been supported by assistance from people ahead of me and advice from friends. More important, however, it has been sustained by my own burning passion deep in my heart for starry nights. I have leaned that man's greatest purpose and joy of life is to strive to pursue one's dream aiming at the twinkling distant stars. There is no mandatory retirement to amateur astronomers like me. With the same passion as I had my younger days, I will continue to pursue my dream as an active observer as long as my life lasts. I hope you come to appreciate that this serial is a philosophy of life formed in the universe by a man who has devoted his life to astronomy.

    Leaving the introduction behind, I would like to begin my story with a mysterious incident at the observatory. Would you like to say," ghosts and spirits don't exist in the era of space travel"? I heartily agree with you. But there seem to be mysterious things in this world which cannot be explained by scientific knowledge. I would like to share with you some of them I have experienced. I would like to contemplate them with you and explore the universe.

    Now let's begin. The first of this serial is "The mysteries of the Observatory."

Copyright (C) 2000 Tsutomu Seki.