Apr 12 2002
He first became interested in the stars at the early age of 15, when the Japanese discovered comet, Ikeya-Seki appeared in 1965. He began searching for comets actively in 1989. Those endeavors paid off in 1996 when he discovered the comet which bears his name. On Wednesday April 10, 2002, Japanese comet hunter, Yuji Hyakutake, died at the age of 51.
After becoming ill Wednesday morning, Hyakutake was taken to a hospital near his home in the village of Hayato.
He died later that day of a rupture of the main artery according to his family on Thursday.
His wife, Shoko, described the self-taught comet hunter a man who "went a little too far." She fears, "that might have rather shortened his life." He is also survived by two sons.
The comet, officially designated C/1996 B2, which Yuji discovered in January of 1996, was the brightest comet visible from Earth since Comet West in 1976. It was easily visible to the naked eye from late March through the end of April 1996.
"I don't care about the naming of the comet. If many people could enjoy that comet, that is the happiest thing for me," said the modest discoverer in 1996. ?I am a bit perplexed by all the attention paid to me, when it is the comet that deserves the credit.?
Yuji Hyakutake, a shining star in the universe, will be missed.