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Memorable Comets

<Comet Ikeya 2>

We have not seen any great comet in the month of July in recent years. I remember that in late July 1955 Comet Honda was discovered in Eridanus in the pre-dawn sky. It was a topic of conversation that summer. The comet was at magnitude 7 or 8 and clearly visible in small telescopes.

In the pre-dawn sky of July 1, 1964, Comet Ikeya 2 was discovered in the Pleiades. Being a competitor of Mr. Ikeya's, I was stunned by his discovery. I happened to be on my honeymoon in the Nanki region that day! However, in the following year, I co-discovered the famous Ikeya-Seki.

There was probably another person who was devastated by the news of the discovery of this comet. Mr Koichi Ike had been quietly searching for comets in Tosa City dreaming about the discovery of a "Comet Ike". After this, he became less enthusiastic about searching comets thinking any comet carrying his name Ike, which would sound like Ikeya, would be mistaken for the famous comet hunter Ikeya.

The weather forecast for today, July 11, was "cloudy, rain developing later," but it turned out to be "cloudy then fine," opposite to the forecast. It is good for us observers of the stars but for meteorologists this must be embarrassing. At 4 am I was anxious for the Hyades rising in the eastern sky remembering that a comet appeared in the cluster 35 years ago, but it seemed to be blocked by a forest in that direction. Instead, the bright moon with earth shine rose side by side with the Pleiades. It is about time for a new comet to appear in the Hyades...

[Comet Ikeya 2]
Comet Ikeya 2
4 am July 10, 1964
15cm f/6 reflector with a 20-minute exposure

Copyright (C) 1999 Tsutomu Seki.