Monday, August 30, 2010

Triton, Oberon, SAO 48866 (Blue Mountains)

10:05 PM, Sun 29 Aug. Tried to see Triton beside Neptune. Murky. ST3 recommended looking after midnight, around 1.

10:09. Satellite went through the eyepiece field, again. Was looking at Messier 108 in Ursa Major. An edge-on spiral galaxy. Wikipedia says it is a barred spiral inclined at 75 degrees.

Very faint with the bright sky. Started with the 55mm Plössl eyepiece. So pretty wide field. That said, it was the recommended eyepiece by ST3. Bumped up the power. Still incredibly faint. Not great conditions. Definitely will need to look at it again. It's, once again, probably the wrong time of year. There are 2 bright stars nearby, kind of pointing to it.

Put the MallinCam on it. Detectable.

10:28. Moon just rose up over the trees.

10:33. Viewed M106. Looks like another edge-on spiral. It looked big even in the low power eyepiece. It was only 20° up. Again, it should be viewed at a different time of the year, when it's higher.

Decided to measure a double star, given the bright moonlight...

12:01 AM, Mon 30 Aug. I began timings on the Celestron Micro Guide centre Linear Scale. Used a star in Cepheus, SAO 19773, with a declination of 62° 41' 53" or 62.6981°.

Used the Psion StopWatch program's lap time feature. The second one was a little short. Run three. Smidgen early on start; nailed it on the end. Run four. Good start; good stop. They are all around 19 seconds. I was getting pretty consistent times so far...

12:12. Finished. My drift times were:

00:19.98
00:19.40
00:19.78
00:19.75
00:19.26
00:19.71
00:19.21
00:19.64
00:19.50

Average: 00:19.58.

The remote access via VNC to the Dell Latitude laptop was not working. I don't know why. Port problem on our router? It made this drift timing task painful... Lot of running about. Lot of time lost.

1:37. Just finished measurement of double star in Cygnus, SAO 48866. I got pretty good PA and sep. numbers.

standard method--
exit angle (inner values): 67°
ticks: 4.5
PA: 157°
sep: 10.14"

better method--
exit angle 1 (inner values): 49°
exit angle 2: 95°
PA: 162°
sep: 9.793"

Haas said the known binary Σ2588 had a PA of 159° and sep of 9.9" in 2002.

I was tired and very uncomfortable. Overheated.

1:50. Just saw Triton. I put in the 5mm eyepiece, as suggested by ST3P, but I found the view blurry. Then went to the 10mm. It was crisper. I saw a flattened triangle or jagged line with two stars and Neptune almost exactly in the centre. I knew that north was up, standing over the 'scope. During moments of good seeing, at about 5:30 position, I saw a faint point. It looked like it was two or three planet widths away from the blue disk. Surprising close to the very pale gas planet. The position corresponded well to the display in ST3P.

That planet was 29 AU away!

Had a shower to cool off. Hoped I did not wake anyone.

2:31. Spotted Oberon. It was very, very bright. Easy to see. The position didn't seem right though. The star at the bottom left is mag 11.64. Oberon is rated at 14.16.

It occurred to me that ST3P might not compensation for light time. Maybe that is why Oberon is a bit off. [ed: Au contraire.]

2:39. Finished off with Jupiter. With the 10mm, it was crazy high power. Could only see two moons. The GRS was almost front and centre, slightly to the west of the meridian. It was hard to focus.

Wind is shaking the telescope. Patchy cloud. Moon was overhead.

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