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As a young adult, Ikeya lived near Lake Hamana and worked for a piano factory. During his employment there, he made his first discovery in 1963 with an optical telescope he built himself within his low budget. Two years later, he discovered the bright comet C/1965 S1 (Ikeya-Seki). Ikeya discovered the periodic comet 153P/Ikeya-Zhang on February 1, 2002 in Mori, Hokkaidō. The asteroid 4037 Ikeya is also named after Ikeya. On November 13, 2010, Ikeya discovered the P/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami) comet using an optical telescope, rare in an era with access to digital imaging technology.
- "Ikeya-Murakami: The New Comet on the Cosmic Block". NASA. November 17, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- "Astronomy: Splendor in the Night". Time. October 22, 1965. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- "2002 Comet Awards Announced". Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. July 1, 2002. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- "Astronomy Picture of the Day: Comet Ikeya-Zhang". NASA. February 21, 2002. Retrieved December 14, 2010.