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Czech & Slovak comet discoverers

Ľudmila Pajdušáková

lovec komét Ľudmila Pajdušáková

Ľudmila Pajdušáková, (1916-1979), Slovak astronomer and third director of Skalnate Pleso Observatory became famous by discoveries of 5 comets.

Previously she was a teacher assistant and she worked as a teacher for 8 years. In July 1944 she finished her career in teaching and started trk at Skalnate Pleso Observatory. She finished her astronomy studies at University in Bratislava in 1950. Since the beginning of her research she photographed meterors and beside that she regurarly hunted for comets. She started also systematic observation of minor planets at Skalnate Pleso.

She was ditector of Skalnate Pleso Observatory and Astronomical Institute in Tatranska Lomnica during years 1958-1979. Those years she devoted to observations of Sun, especially its corona by coronograph from Lomnitz Peak Obseratory. She was a member of International Astronomy Union (IAU) since 1967. She became famous by 5 visual discoveries of comets, all discovered by giant binocular Somet Binar 25x100.

She ranked 5th on the list of woman comet dicoverers behind those hunters: Carolyn S. Shoemaker (32 comets), Jeanne Mueller (15), Eleanor Helin (12) and Caroline Herschel (6). But 50 years ago she was right behind Caroline Herschel threatening her first rank in total list of woman comet discoverers.

Asteroid 1982 UJ2 discovered by her exhusband Antonin Mrkos at Klet Observatory on 1982 Oct. 17 was named in her honour   (3636) Pajdušáková. 

Citation published in Minor Planet Circular:

Named in memory of Ľudmila Pajdušáková (1916-1979), the first Slovak woman astronomer, a specialist in solar astronomy and recognized as discoverer of five comets. Some time wife of the discoverer, she was the third director of the Skalnate Pleso Observatory and Astronimcal Institute in Tatranská Lomnica.

Ludmila Pajdusakova at giant binocular she used for comet hunting, Skalnate Pleso, 1967
Foto: B.Marsden       

List of comets discovered by Ludmila Pajdusakova

Date of discovery
at discovery
C/1946 K1
1946 May 30
7 magn.
1946 d
C/1948 E1
1948 Mar 13
10 magn.
1948 d
45 P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková
1948 Dec 7
9 magn
1948 n
C/1951 C1
1951 Feb 4
8,5 magn.
1951 a
C/1953 X1
1953 Dec 3
11 magn.
1953 h
Ludmila Pajdusakova at telescope, Skalnate Pleso Observatory

Ludmila Pajdusakova at her office, Skalnate Pleso Observatory

Ľ. Pajdušáková congratulates to the winners of astronomy competition

Foto: TRIFID       

from left to right: M. Bélik, director of SÚAAH, Ľ. Pajdušáková
from right to left: M. Znášik, the winner, Z. Bödők, runner up

References: magazines Říše hvězd, Kozmos