Saturday, April 07, 2012

smashed split record (Blue Mountains)

8:00 PM, 6 Apr 2012. Ostap returned. Sans kids. He was going to concentrate on setting up his imaging gear. And I wouldn't have to play tour guide.

8:42 PM. While Dietmar helped Ostap test the alarm system... I watched the Moon rise over mountain.

I had the Celestron 14" Schmidt-Cassegrain and Tele Vue 101 to myself this evening. I was looking forward to exploring. Millie was set up in the Geoff Brown Observatory as well, so we'd be able to share stuff.

Took in Jupiter in the big telescope. Four moons on one side. Two very close to planet.

A funny feeling struck me. I thought there were "events" on Jupiter today. Checked my online calendar. Oh... they were at 4 PM... Too late!

8:47. Helped Millie with her 'scope. Her alignment seemed to be off. She was way off target. We manually moved the mount. She declutched and I got it on target.

8:51. I grabbed some weather data...

From Environment Canada, for Collingwood. As of 8:00 PM EDT Friday 6 April 2012.

Current conditions:
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: falling
Temperature: 5.3°C
Dewpoint: -7.9°C
Humidity: 38 %
Wind: WNW 9 km/h

Prediction for the night:
Issued : 3:30 PM EDT Friday 6 April 2012
Clear. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light late this evening.
Low minus 3.

From the local Davis weather station:
wind speed: 0.0
wind dir: NW
humidity: 43%
barometer: 1023.5 mB
outside temp: 2.9°

Looking good. But it also looked like it was gonna get chilly.

9:06. Viewed Messier 41 briefly in Millie's.

Viewed NV Pup in the 55mm eyepiece. Mistook HD 56854, in the middle of the big triangle of π (pi), NV, HR 2770 as the target star. SkyTools 3 Pro set me straight. The little triangle was the correct goal.

I saw the A star. Not as bright as π. But same as HR 2770.

Bumped to 27mm ocular, to 145x. Focusing on NV group. ST3P says C is a tight double with D. The Interactive Atlas angular measure said they are 3" apart... It was hard to see. But then I learned I was looking through 8 air masses. Yikes.

9:13. Not convinced I could split C and D. The stars were flickering madly...

A and C are the same brightness. Same colour.

Millie talked about red and blue... She must be talking about π...

February is the best time to view this low target...

9:25. Viewed Hind's Crimson Star. Didn't look super orange to me.

Ostap popped into the warm room. He asked bout PHD guiding. And why he was only getting one image. I told him I didn't have a lot of experience with this application but could offer some general advice. I suggested simplifying... And to start PHD first...

Showed Millie the missing star...

9:34. Tried again... I was mistaking HD 31848 as the Crimson star! Oops. Nope. Other direction.

Brighter than the HD star. Which is mag 7.4. Millie agrees. Slightly...

Ostap asked for an ethernet cable. I sent him to the house. There was a super long on in the library.

9:51. Viewed (Messier 93) M 93. I was trying to sort out the double star "issue" still.

Found it! I visually found the companion to HD 62679. It is there. It popped just now with the 18mm in the C14. But only with averted vision. Very faint. Fainter than TYC 06540-3076 1 which is a 11.14 mag star... I saw the star. I think it is fainter than mag 11.

I considered hooking up the MallinCam so to have a record. Considered sketching it... But I was satisfied.

Break time... Fetched warm clothes and a soda.

10:20. Had some fun with the Dog Star. Could see Sirius D (which is mag 14). But could not split A and B. Seeing quite bad.

10:34. Viewed Tegmen, ζ Cancri, again. Definitely saw the A and B stars.

11:50. Helped Millie with Algieba, γ Leo. She said she couldn't split in her 'scope. Asked if I could show it in C14. No problem in the C14. The view in hers was not so good.

11:54. Got it! I split HR 4443. From the Sky and Telescope list. Referred to N Hyd. Equal brightness, equal colour. Yellow stars. Despite going through 3 to 4 airmasses, I split it. Yes. Noted TYC 06663-0575 1 in the field.

I was having an issue with ST3. It was not showing me stars that I was actually seeing, given the location and the moon light. If I changed the location to the Texas Star Party, it would show the stars, particularly in the Context Viewer. So, I've either estimated the sky brightness wrong; or Greg's calculations are pessimistic.

12:46 AM, 7 Apr 2012. Back from hot chocolate break!

1:31 AM. Helped Millie collimate the RC 8. It was similar to doing a Celestron SCT. I understand that with the larger RC OTAs, you have to adjust the primary as well... Initially I had her do the visual assessment but we weren't getting anywhere. When we switched places, it went much better.

1:45. Viewed ν (nu) Sco. In the 55mm with the TV101, I saw 2 stars, yellow and orange. In the 27mm with the C14, I saw 2 stars, plus field stars. Again, the primary was yellow, the secondary pale blue. Went to the 10mm, in the SCT, to 391x. I saw two pairs. The AB pair was closer together but the seeing was preventing a clean split. The CD pair, while fainter, was wider apart. The left star of the CD pair is fainter. That's D.

[ed: Already viewed and logged.]

2:02. Reviewed my S&T doubles spreadsheet. Found ν listed twice: the AB pair and the CD pair.

2:09. Saturn time! Saturn was at the meridian. I saw Titan to the west. There was a field star, PPM 705916, at mag 10.4 near by. Rhea was south-west of rings. Dione north-east of rings, very faint. It needed averted vision. Tethys was to the east; Iapethus to the south. ST3 said Dione was 10.4 while Tethys is 10.2. But it seemed fainter.

Decided to tick off some fast movers...

2:42. ζ (zeta) Boo. I saw 2 stars! They were oriented east-west. White, pure white, in colour; the same brightness. There was another star further left, coaxed out with the 10mm. And then I saw a star above. Forming an L. There was also a very faint star near top of L. Not on the chart.

No... with more viewing... the orientation of the two stars is nw to se. And I thought the left star, nw, slightly fainter.

I had just smashed my career split! 0.48 arc-seconds. wow!

I had a lot of stars around the 1.0 level. But this sighting has cut that in half. I was very happy.

3:09. Viewed Kruger 60 again. Saw AB, C, I. Pretty low.

Saw STI2780A to the west, a pair plus a bright star.

3:31. Checked the local conditions.

wind: 1.6
dir: NW
hum: 58
bar: 1024.3
temp: 1.6

3:48. Ostap left.

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