moth: Comet and solar corona, photographed by SOHO, April 2004.
Comet Bradfield (C/2004 F4) at and just after perihelion. This animation uses 23 images taken 17th-19th April, about one every two hours. At its closest, the comet was about 25 million km from the sun (16% of the Earth-Sun distance).
C/2004 F4 was discovered by William Bradfield, amateur astronomer and prolific comet hunter: The most prolific comet hunter of all was Jean-Louis Pons (1761-1831) with 37; the second William Robert Brooks (1844-1921) with 26; Bradfield has discovered 18.
The most prolific comet detecting instrument, incidentally, is SOHO, with more than 2,500 discoveries.
“I was incredibly close to Richey, but nowhere near as close to him as Nick was. There are little corners within friendships, and I think Nick was his best friend, and it hit us all, but I think it hit Nick really badly when we did the Haçienda warm-up the night before we supported Oasis at Main Road. I think that really killed him, that gig. Nick was in pieces after it. It just made him realise that he was one half of something that would never be complete again, and that night he was the most distraught I’ve ever seen him.”
- James Dean Bradfield, from Assassinated Beauty by Kevin Cummings