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Ľubor Kresák

lovec komét Ľubor Kresák

Ľubor Kresák, (1927-1994), well known Slovak astronomer, became the first professor of astronomy in Slovak Republic. He studied meteors, minor planets and comets and connections between them.

Ľubor Kresák was born on August 23, 1927, in Topolčany, Slovakia. His interest in astronomy started during his high school studies. Although being student at that time, he participated in the team of observers lead by Antoním Bečvář in Skalnate Pleso Observatory to watch the meteor shower of Draconids in October 1946. Possibly this experience had influenced his interest in meteors and comets for a lifetime. He attended Charles University in Prague, where he received his title RNDr. by thesis "Structure, mass and age of Comet Halley meterorid stream".

After graduation he started to work at Skalnate Pleso Observatory. In April 1951, soon after he joined a team of renowned comet hunters of that time (Mrkos, Pajdušáková and Bečvár) he became fourth Slovak discoverer by catching a new comet, later known as Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák. He found his second comet in 1954 - Kresák-Peltier. During his work in High Tatras he studied comets, meteors and minor planets. Besides this observations he started to give lectures at University in Prešov. He had been teaching there during period of 1952 - 1955.

Kresák left Skalnaté Pleso Observatory in 1955 when he started to work at Astronomical Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava, where he remained until his retirement. He followed his field of search from Skalnate Pleso. He also continued his pedagogic activities - he lectured at Comenius University in Bratislava.

Kresak´s couple together with B. Marsden (USA) and J. Tichá (CZ) at Lake Maggiore, Italy, 1993 June
Foto: M.Tichý
from left to right: Margita Kresáková, Brian Marsden, Jana Tichá and Ľubor Kresák

He got married Margita Vozárova (also astronomer), they meet first at Skalnate Pleso Observatory, where they worked together. When he moved from there, she followed Lubor to Bratislava. They got one daughter Katarina.

Kresák is an author of almost 200 scientific papers. The well known is his work about comets and also his theory about Tunguska meteor. Thanks to his works, he gradualy "climbed" higher and higher on his academic career ladder and in 1993 he finaly received the title Professor of astronomy, as first astronomer in Slovakia.

Soon after his graduation he became a member of International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1952. He held important positions in directory of IAU for many years, to name just the position of Vicepresident between years 1979-1985.

Besides his activities in international astronomy organizations and scientific works, he had educated a future generation of Slovak astronomers. He consulted thesis for many of them. They liked him for his friedly attitude, he could easily motivated them and because he everytime got some useful advices for them.

Lubor Kresak and Margita Kresaková belong to a small married couples of astronomers, where both members discovered an own comet. Except Kresak´s only another two husband-wife couple achiveve this: A. Mrkos with Ľ. Pajdušáková, G. Shajn with P. Shajn.

Ľubor Kresák was gifted with a perfect memory, he did not need any comet catalog, he stored everything about comets in his head. He died suddenly on January 20, 1994 in Bratislava.

Asteroid 1942 AB discovered by K. Reinmuth on January 14, 1942 at Heidelberg was named to his honour   (1849) Kresák.

Citation published in Minor Planet Circular:

Named in honour of Ľubor Kresák (1927-1994), astronomoer at Slovak Academy o Sciences in Bratislava. Well-known for his theoretical works on meteors and the question of their relationships with comets and minor planets, he has alos been an observer at thre Skalnaté Pleso Observatory, where in 1951 he rediscovered short-periodic comet now knows as Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák. he was president of IAU Commission 20 for the period 1973-1976.

List of comets discovered by Ľubor Kresák

Date of discovery
at discovery
41 P
1951 Apr 24
10 magn.
1951 d
C/1954 M2
1954 Jun 26
10 magn.
1954 d

References: magazine Kozmos 2/1994, p. 3