LtE in CMO #253

From Richard McKIM

@. . . . . Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 07:12:05 EST




Subject: Re: the late Mr Osawa


Dear Friends:

 Thank you for letting me know of the death of Toshihiko OSAWA. I was so sorry to hear of this event, and at a young age too, and following such a long illness. I thought you might like a few random, extra remarks from myself about his career as I witnessed it from faraway England.


 I first corresponded with him in 1982, when Jean Dragesco gave me some of his finely penciled Mars drawings as examples of his work. From then on for a decade he participated in the BAA Mars programme, and I published several examples of his work. Jean told me of his illness back in the 1980s.


 I agree entirely that he was a good observer, especially early on, and a talented artist. He was always ready to supply original pencil drawings, which must have taken many hours to copy. He was observing Mars when it was less than 5 arc seconds diameter, from the 1950s when he started his work, to the 1980s. In 1982 his post- opposition drawings gave independent confirmation of the work of Ebisawa and the remaining Viking probe that a major dust event had taken place (1982 October to 1983 January), and also pointed to the epoch at which the Claritas-Daedalia darkening of 1973 finally disappeared (to be replaced by the Phasis darkening in the next apparition).


 Just sometimes he pushed the interpretation of his work too far. I should point out that the 1969 paper about the dust storm published in the ALPO Journal is in fact a record of a spurious event. This I have discussed in depth in my book on the dust storms, published by the BAA. If I recall correctly he wrote first of the obscuration of Utopia by dust whereas it is clear that the NP hood was the obscuring medium. Osawa then produced a chart showing the spreading of the dust over the desert areas to the east, which may have had white cloud over them in places, and accomplished this map as the work of a single observer. No observer at a fixed site has ever mapped a complete regional storm, and in fact no other observer (including Capen and Miyamoto, who were both very active in 1969) made any record of this imaginary event. There were other dust events in 1969, of course, but located elsewhere.


 I am sorry that I never met Osawa, but I did enjoy a long correspondence with him.


With best wishes

 Richard McKIM (Peterborough, UK)

BAA Mars Secrion Director

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