Monday, December 29, 2008

fun and science

I have decided that I want to measure double stars.

I don't remember the trigger, for certain. It might have been the "Spirit of 33" that started it all... It might go further back than that.

So to add some depth to a RASC Toronto Centre SCOPE newsletter article in development, I wanted to research double stars. Or rather, the people who studied double stars. How they did it. What they measured. The tools they used.

Somewhere in my web travels I stumbled through the Spirit of 33. And I didn't quite understand it. I couldn't tell if it was a club. Or a web site. Did the 33 mean something? 33 double stars? 3.3 magnitude? What was the significance of 33? Surely that wasn't the number of doubles in all constellations? Was that what was required for a certificate?

Web searches some how proved futile. I wasn't seeing logical or appropriate information.

One clue was a repeated reference to an article in Sky and Telescope magazine. In the February 2000 issue...

That Tom had recently completed the cataloguing of everything in the RASC TC library (up at the CAO) was good timing. I checked if we had the S&T 0002 issue. We did. During my visit to the CAO over the first November weekend, I "signed out" the magazine.

I believe it was on reading this article that I learned of the Feb 99 article (in S&T again) by Ronald Charles Tanguay. It was entitled Observing Double Stars for Fun and Science. Intriguing title.

Today I found that article online!

And something clicked...

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