Discovery Stories: Tsutomu Seki, Comet Ikeya-Seki (1965 S1)
I am a sea-bred thing. When I feel happy, or lonely, I come down to the
sea, for it fills my heart with deep emotion. That night I was dreaming of
the sea. I was walking along the shore...
-- Tsutomo Seki, on the discovery of Comet Ikeya-Seki (1965 S1)
(as reported to National Geographic, from "Giant Comet Grazes the Sun"
by Kenneth F. Weaver in the magazine's February 1966 issue. In the same article,
co-discoverer Kaoru Ikeya described the comet at discovery as "shining like a street lamp
on a misty night.")
I do not know why, but on that night my wife woke me, very faithfully.
Usually she discourages me from observing the stars. Exposing myself to the
night dew, she thinks, cannot be very good for my health. Still, she woke
At four o'clock, I climbed up to the observing stage on the roof of a
storehouse in my courtyard. The starry sky was very beautiful, transparent,
as though swept clean by the typhoon two days before. Fine weather! I put my
eye to the telescope.
At a quarter past four something refracted through my lenses--a queer,
pale celestial body. My heart shook. I broke the stillness before the dawn:
"A new comet!"
"My Search for SOHO Comets"