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Reports from Geisei Observatory <August 19, 2006>

A photograph of Comet Haneda-Campos

    Where is the unlucky star Comet Haneda-Campos wandering in space? Mr. Haneda had been searching for a comet inspired by my discovery of Comet Ikeya Seki, using a home-built 9cm f/7 refractor as his comet seeker, which was identical with my own comet seeker. In the fall of 1978 he discovered a new comet in the southern sky around the same time as Mr. Campos in Africa discovered the same comet. Tokyo Astronomical Observatory had already received a telegram reporting the discovery of Comet Campos from IAU and Mr. Haneda's report came later. However, thanks to favorable consideration by Smithsonian (CBAT), Mr. Haneda's name was given first preceding Mr. Campos's name. Earlier, Mr. Kosai of Tokyo Astronomical Observatory had asked me to verify Mr. Haneda's discovery. The appearance of Comet Denning-Fujikawa after 97 years added to the excitement in 1978.

    I found two photographic plates of Comet Haneda-Campos on an old shelf in the bathroom. It was photographed by the 40cm f/5 comet telescope. I also found the discovery photograph of Comet Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak. In those days my home-built comet telescope produced outstanding results.
1978UT           α(2000.0)    δ            m1       
Oct.29.65764  02 24 26.02  -28 32 05.9   14.4   372
    31.70069  02 32 49.15  -26 33 25.3   14.5   372
    Comet Heneda-Campos on these photographic plates is hazy and diffused without a nucleus or core. The comet's motion was very fast because of its proximity to the earth and it is not difficult to imagine how it was lost. The images taken by the 40cm telescope show that, too. I tried to recover it from Geisei at its return several times using the 60cm reflector without any success. Probably the comet is usually very faint, but at the time of the last discovery it might have been in outburst.

    That particular night Mr. Haneda did not intend to go to his observing site, but urged by his pet dog's barking, he went there and discovered the comet. There is a similar story in a Japanese fairy tale, in which a dog leads his elderly master to treasures with his barking.

D/1978 R1 (Haneda-Campos)
8-minute exposure from 0:45 on October 30, 1978 J.S.T.
40cm f/5 reflector, 103a-O photographic plate

Copyright (C) 2006 Tsutomu Seki.