Sunday, March 19, 2017

procured HR 6246 (Halifax)

The Burke-Gaffney robot tagged the multi-star system HR 6246 aka in Σ2103 Hercules, centring on Tycho 00974-0733 1.

multi-star system HR 6246 in luminance

Luminance only, 6 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, GIMP. North is up; east is left.

When I first viewed this system on the evening of 22 May '15, I did not spot the C star. While B is too close to bright A in the image, C is obvious at the 4 o'clock position (i.e. south-west), close, with D, away, at 7 o'clock (or south-east).

Saturday, March 18, 2017

think I got HJ 3318 (Halifax)

Asked the BGO robot to aim at GSC 02509-0146 near where I thought the neglected double star HJ 3318 might be. In Leo Minor. Thar she blows.

neglected double-star HJ 3318 in luminance

Luminance only, 3 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, GIMP. North is up; east is left.

I selected this pair from the Washington Double Star database. A is to the south; B to the north.

HJ 3318 is listed in the WDS as having a theta value of 340 and rho of 24.8. This is very close to the numbers in SkyTools 3 Pro: PA 340° Sep 24.00" (as of 1906). The Interactive Atlas chart displays the stars with the correct orientation and spacing. The chart is nearly a perfect match to the image.

In the Object Information box, ST3P says A is magnitude 11.03 and B 9.7. That doesn't seem right. On hovering over the stars in the chart, the numbers are 11.0 and 11.9. The chart shows A as slightly brighter. The WDS says they are mag 9.3 and 9.7 stars. The image gives the impression that B is very slightly dimmer than A. The stars in the image closely match the brightnesses of TYC 02509-0907 1 (11.17) and TYC 02509-0844 1 (11.61) to the north. This leaves me with the impression that the WDS magnitudes are incorrect.

The big issue, it seems, is the location. WDS says the pair is at RA 10:02.7 and Dec +36:15. ST3P shows the pair at RA 10:03:42.8 and Dec +36:15:06 (J2000). If I had to say, it looks like the original entry had a transcription error in the Right Ascension, 2 minutes instead of 3. The stars in the image match ST3P. They are between J100338.4+361610 (to the north-west) and J100344.9+361424 (to the south-east).

imaged 15 Mon (Halifax)

BGO captured multi-star system 15 Monocerotis, aka Σ950, centered on GSC 00750-1865. I viewed this system in early-April '13 but did not identify all of the elements.

multi-star system 15 Mon in luminance

Luminance only, 2 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, GIMP. North is up; east is left.

The B star is too close to bright A to split, unfortunately.

C is deliciously close to A, to the north.

D is easily spotted to the right of C, north-west of A. It is very faint. I had not seen this before.

Not sure what to say about E. There certainly seems to be a magnitude 11 star is the correct place. But SkyTools 3 Pro says the variable V343 Mon is south of E. Nothing shows in the image. Perhaps SkyTools is wrong in showing 2 stars; maybe there's only 1 and it is the variable and it was quite dim when I looked before.

F and G are south of E, brighter than E. F is on the east while dimmer G is to the west. This pairing is well away from AB to the south-west. F is slightly further away than E.

South-east of AB is the touching, unequal pairing of H and I.

South-west of HI is J, almost due south of AB. J appears the same mag as G. This star is also known as D11.

K is north-east of AB, opposite E, slightly closer than E. K is dimmer than G but brighter than C.

L and M are the close pair of equal stars to the east-south-east of AB. They also seem the same brightness of G. The M star appears to have another designation: Σ952.

N is south of HI. It is much dimmer. I had not seen N before.

O is due east of N. Very slightly brighter than N. aka V810 Mon.

Finally, U is to the north of A, B, and C. U looks to be the same magnitude as N. aka JRN 30.

That was awesome. Spotted 2, possibly 3, more stars of this interesting system.

To the east-south-east of the 15 Mon system is the bright triangle of HD 262066. This is a quad. A and B are on top of one another at the south apex and not splittable in the image. Too bad. I did not split them in 2013. This will remain on the View Again list. C is the west point and is brighter. D is north-east of HD 262066 AB.

To the south-west of 15 Mon is V684, a quintuple. A, B, and C, form a compact triangle. D is to the south-east of A, slightly dimmer than the primary. E is to the north-east of A, about the same separation as AD. E is dimmer than C.

captured 1 Cam (Halifax)

The Burke-Gaffney BGO robot imaged 1 Camelopardalis for me, centred on Tycho 03732-0038 1. A multi-star system in my View Again list. Also known as DL Cam and Σ550.

multi-star system 1 Cam in luminance

Luminance only, 4 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, GIMP. North is up; east is left.

1 Cam is a triple, according to SkyTools 3. The A or primary star is the brightest star in the field, of course. B is also bright, to the north-west of A. I estimated 1 magnitude different; ST3P concurs.They are very tight; in this image, B touches A. C is much dimmer and well away to the south-west.

imaged Messier 40 (Halifax)

It looks like I first viewed M40 (Messier 40, Winnecke 4) in July 2010. It seems the wide equal pair did not make a big impression on me. Still, I thought it might be fun to image it with the BGO 'scope, while the Moon was bright.

In preparing for the target, I noted orange star 70 UMa nearby. I decided to include it. For the first time, I tried the offset function with the robotic telescope commands. I told it to shift -15% in RA and -15% in Dec. It worked. 70 Ursae Majoris is at the bottom edge of the image.

double-star Messier 40 in luminance

Luminance only, 3 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, GIMP. North is up; east is left.

There are hints of the faint nearby galaxies. Due west of the double star is the canted oval of NGC 4290. Beyond it: the smaller oval smudge of NGC 4284. Surprising, in a 3 second shot.


I didn't see this at first but SkyTools showed a small round galaxy to the west of the bright star. It's MCG 10-18-27 at magnitude 15.7 (in B). It is amazing to me that it is visible in such a fast exposure!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

OK away

Heard that SpaceX got away OK. Another launch from pad 39A, this time for the EchoStar 23 satellite.

SpaceX early morning launch from Florida

There was no planned retrieval of the first stage for this mission.

They have more photos on their flickr site.

Looking forward to the next SpaceX event, the planned SES 10 launch. This will feature a previously used rocket...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chereau edited the app

The friendly developer of Noctua Sky, Guillaume Chereau, encouraged me to send feedback. I let him know about some of the issues I was encountering with the web-based planetarium, particularly on the Android tablet. He affected some changes immediately!

He added zooming buttons in the toolbar and a close button for the info panel.

Very cool. Very interesting benefit of a cloud-based app...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

7789 in colour

Put together NGC 7789 in colour using the LRGB data from 4 Aug '16. Surprising colour.

open cluster NGC 7789 in colour

FITS Liberator, Photoshop CS2.

STI 3065 A appears white. I'm assuming B is the touching white star to the south-south-east, dimmer. There's a brighter pale orange due south of the lower white star.

STI 3063. The bright orange star to the north-east should be the primary with the dimmer grey star to the south-west. These are the opposite positions than what SkyTools shows.

Love the blue, white, and orange coloured stars, equally bright, in a straight line. ST3P only identifies one of these: GSC 04009-2108.

made motors doc

Prepared and uploaded the small motors documentation for the CAO.

Monday, March 13, 2017

next council meeting set

The next meeting of the RASC Toronto Centre council is scheduled for Thu 23 Mar. Location to be decided.

happy orbit

Lately, I've been thinking about birthdays a bit differently. A birthday (or anniversary or any special event for that matter) is like a point along the orbital path of the Earth. As the Earth spins around the Sun, it approaches and travels through these points. And we, on our little blue ball, celebrate (or reflect or mourn or acknowledge).

graphic with Sun, Earth orbit, a birthdays plotted

They are like rendezvous. Appointments in time. Along the way.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

BGO annivesary

One year. It's been one year that I have been imaging with the robotic telescope at Burke-Gaffney Observatory in Halifax. Over 370 objects—including galaxies, double stars, globular clusters, nebulae, open clusters, planetary nebula, comets, dark nebulae, quasars—identified. It's been a ton of fun. Still learnin' lots.

Friday, March 10, 2017

HJ 207 in colour

Created a colour version of the HJ 207 double star using the LRGB data from this morning. Just a hint of colour in these stars. The left (east) star is pale yellow and the other is pale blue.

FITS Liberator, Photoshop CS2.

show cancelled

Just learned that the AstroCATS show for 2017 was cancelled. The CAPS (photography school) is still a go... That's too bad.

solar system targets

Commented on the Dave's solar system project. Great idea. Lots of good comments from the national observing team.

tried for HR 6594 C (Halifax)

I asked the Burke-Gaffney system to photograph HR 6594. aka Burnham 1251. A multi-star system in Hercules. Centred on TYC 01551-1256 1. It was a target I had selected for calibration purposes back in July 2015.

multi-star system HR 6594 in luminance

Luminance only, 2 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

In particular, I was after the faint C companion. I exaggerated the contrast stretching to pull out the faint stars. Got it! Due west, a good distance away.

C appears to be the same brightness as J174205.7+155642 to the east (magnitude 15.3, according to ST3P), J174159.3+155332 to the south (15.3), or GSC 01551-1800 to the north-west (14.85, poor quality). So, I think we're talking about a mag 15 star. And that's why it didn't show in a 1 second exposure in a 14" telescope...

captured HD 151367 (Halifax)

BGO imaged HD 151367. aka Σ2098. A multi-star system in Hercules. When I first observed this target in August 2014, I had not successfully split the D and S elements. No problem in this image (but you'll have to zoom in).

multi-star system HD 151367 in luminance

Luminance only, 3 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

A, the primary, is the brighter star of the tight pair, to the north.

B is the slightly dimmer star to the south-east.

C is further in the same direction, south-east, 5 or 6 times the distance. It looks to be the same brightness as A.

D is north of A, slightly to the east, dimmer than B.

The elusive S companion is visible to the west of D. Much fainter. Very tight, practically touching D.

imaged HJ 207 (Halifax)

The Burke-Gaffney robot imaged double star HJ 207 for me (centred on the star TYC 00879-0207 1). It is a target in Coma Berenices that I first observed in May 2013 but did not make good notes on.

double star HJ 207 in luminance

Luminance only, 5 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

This is a simple pair of faint stars near the Virgo border. They are nearly equal in brightness. If I had to guess, I'd say the left-most or east star is the brighter, by a hair. SkyTools 3 Professional shows conflicting information: in the Object Information box, the magnitudes are noted as 11.2 and 10.3; while hovering over each star in the chart shows they are both 11.2. The WDS says 11.23 and 11.24. They are oriented almost perfectly east-west. So that would make for a position angle of around 90° (or 270). ST3P says: 100°.

Won't know the colour until I assemble the LRGB data...


Assembled in colour.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

like Stellarium

I had thought some at a low level about Noctua Sky (the web-based planetarium). The toolbar at the bottom of the screen made me think of Stellarium. Maybe there's something to that, I briefly mused.

It appears the developer of Noctua made the Stellarium port for phones. So there you go.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Binary Universe: BOINC

cover of the RASC Journal 2017 April
The April RASC Journal was uploaded to the members area. Knew it was coming given remarks on Facebook.

I look forward to reading about the history of astrophotography, women in astronomy (or not), and van Gogh.

My software review column Binary Universe featured the BOINC middle-ware tool from Berkeley. My 14th submission.

I wanted to suggest to members that they could offer their unused computer time to science and medical projects. I've processed over 1 million work units for SETI alone. I reviewed the versions on Windows 32-bit (7.6.33), Linux 64-bit (7.6.33), and Android (7.4.43).