The Eclipse of 20 May 1947

Comet observing on the morning of Eclipse day and NOT during the Eclipse

Many Eclipse books or even web sites do mention this one as an Eclipse Comet. Nevertheless, we are sure it is NOT.

"...On the day before eclipse, some of us, wondering what tomorrow's weather would be, began to feel pretty nervous. But Dr. Van Biesbroeck, whose entire success depended upon making one single, crucial photograph, was cool as a cucumber. Just before supper I found him in the washroom, calmy doing some laundry, as if tomorrow were just another day! 'Are you an optimist?' I asked. 'No' he replied, with a twinkle in his eye. 'On eclipses, I'm a fatalist!'..."

As per S. K. Vsekhsvyatskii, a comet has been observed by the famous George Van Biesbroeck in Brasil during the total solar eclipse of 20 May 1947. The comet 1947b or 1947IV was called Rondania-Bester, after the discoverers from Montivideo and Bloemfontein.

In Popular Astronomy, Van Biesbroeck writes the collumn Comet Notes. He writes in Popular Astronomy: "On the morning of eclipse day, May 20, I saw this object with the naked eye before dawn from the Bocajuva (Brasil) eclipse camp". Again it is proved, that as much as possible original references should be traced. Besides the above, the observation of the possible Eclipse Comet has not been noted either in the 40 pages report of The National Geographic Magazine.


F. Barrows Colton, The National Geographic Magazine, September 1947

Popular Astronomy 55, 1947, p. 378

S. K. Vsekhsvyatskii, Physical Characteristics of Comets, Jerusalem, 1964

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