Living with CometsF Tsuruhiko Kiuchi—Nagano / Summer 1996
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Distance between Swift-Tuttle comet and Kiuchi (earth): approximately 266,300,000 km.

Discovery!


Sketch.
September 27, 1992 3:10 am Kiuchi rediscovers the Swift-Tuttle comet (orbit once every 134 years).

"Since it was first discovered in 1862, research has concentrated on when it will return and what type of comet it is. According to calculations at the time, the comet should return after 120 years, meaning 1981 or 1982. But it did not return. A number of astronomical observatories and researchers searched, but to no avail. The comet's whereabouts were unknown. Then, in 1990 and 1991, the Perseid meteor shower (of which the parent shooting star is the Swift-Tuttle comet) put on a spectacular show. The prospect of the parent returning created a sudden sensation, and a worldwide search began. I was also searching, but using a calculator. To ensure the minimum margin of error for the comet's orbit, I continued my calculations until the end of August. From the earth's position in September, I searched, using my binoculars to determine which constellation would be in proximity to the appearing comet. Then, after four days of clear weather, I discovered it one morning at daybreak."

"After deciding and confirming the path it would take, I followed it with my naked eye.
I did not care about the timing of its appearance. I knew it would follow a set path, so it was a case of waiting, without losing heart. It was carefully planned, so there would be nothing unexpected. It was not a case of the discovery coming early or late; the discovery itself was certain. Apart from that, I just hoped that nobody else would discover it before me."