Friday, August 24, 2012

doubles for Haas (Toronto)

Tonight, I wanted to try for some double stars! For Sissy. For her new research project. Observing on the porch, I'd not be able to see a lot of the sky. But objects in Draco, Cygnus, Hercules might be possible.

After dinner, I started getting ready. At an easy pace. Re-marked the deck for the feet of the tripod. So to hit my polar alignment quickly.

Before mounting the Celestron 8" SCT OTA, on a whim, I tried attaching a camera directly on Vixen mount! It fit! ¼-20! How about that.

Went into red light mode. Put red film on Dell monitors. Held with elastic bands this time. Worked. No more fiddly electrical tape. Threw the large sheet of crinkly red film over the external monitor for the netbook. Just draped it. Hey. Not bad.

7:59 PM, 23 Aug 2012. Completed the telescope set up and left it to cool. Fetched the adjustable height chair from garage. Spotted the Moon from the street.

Decided to use the old yellow battery to drive the 'scope. The C battery pack, while the red LED on the hand controller lit up, did not move the mount.

Considered peeking at Luna but she was behind the big tree.

John Smallberries suddenly crashed. Once running, I fired up Stellarium, with the porch landscape.

8:12 PM. I checked the weather conditions.

Used the Environment Canada site. Toronto's current conditions were mainly sunny and 26 °C as observed at Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport at 8:00 PM EDT Thursday 23 August 2012. Condition: Mainly Sunny. Pressure: 101.9 kPa. Tendency: falling. Visibility: 24 km. Temperature: 25.9°C. Dewpoint: 14.2°C. Humidity: 48 %. Wind: S 8 km/h. Humidex: 29. The forecast was: Tonight, Clear, 17°C; Fri, Sunny, 29°C; Sat, Sunny, 31°C; Sun, Sunny, 28°C. The forecast was issued at  3:30 PM EDT Thursday 23 August 2012. There was a smog advisory in effect. Tonight, Clear. Wind west 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 17. Friday, Sunny. High 29. UV index 7 or high. Friday night, Clear. Low 18. Lookin' good.

I checked the portable OneWorld weather station. It showed a pressure of 975mb. I've calculated that it reads 42mb low. So, adjusted, was 1018. Humidity: 30%. Temp: 27.3.

Very low humidity! Won't need dew heaters. While I had set up for power, I left the Noma power bar off.

9:06. Damn. I saw and heard mozzies! Where the hell are they coming from?! Ugh. I put on long clothes. And that made me sweat...

9:30. The cork under the plastic film lid detached. It stayed behind in the CLA socket. Attempts to fish it out with my finger just pushed it in further. Needed a tool. Finally I hooked up yellow battery to the mount. I heard the motor start up. Threw the cork and lid in the carrying case to deal with later.

9:33. I stumbled across HR 5386 aka Σ1835 (Struve) in Draco. Noted the colours: blue-white for the main; orange for the companion. It was pretty, at low power, 55x, with the baader planetarium 36mm ocular.

9:56. I was getting very frustrated. The 'scope seem to be loosing its tracking. I wondered if I had screwed up the polar alignment. Rebooted the hand controller.

10:20. Confirmed I was viewing δ (delta) Serpentis. I "fell" on it while targeting in the finder scope. Nailed it. It was easily split with the 36mm. No issue with Celestron 26mm. Widely split with 18mm. It seemed more colourful at low power, 55x. I thought it white and orange, possibly? At 111x, the two stars seem the same colour. Or, on second thought, perhaps the primary was yellow-white and the secondary light blue. It was getting low in the sky though. I wondered if that was screwing with the colour. Regardless, it was easily split with 8" telescope. Under medium seeing conditions.

10:24. I marked 39 Draconis as observed in SkyTools 3 Pro, so to not do it... Sissy had said that she didn't mean for it to be included in her list.

10:44. I found HR 7843 aka Kui 97 (Gerard P. Kuiper) from Sissy's list. It was not an obvious split at 55x.

Spotted HR 7827 nearby, to the north-west. It was, by contrast, an easy split. ST3P said this pair had a 25" separation. Returned to the original target.

10:58. I put in the Tele Vue eyepiece, 9mm, 222x. I did not get a split! Scanned the field. I saw star GSC 03954-0736, a magnitude 13.14 object, although ST3P qualified it having poor quality data. Checked the separation value in the software. Oh! No wonder. Kui 97 has a 0.80" sep! And the stars are 3 values different in brightness or magnitude. In theory, this is down at the "difficult" end of the scale. Or should I say, matrix. Tight and very different in brightness... Returned to the 'scope.

11:06. I was not meeting with success.  I had put in the old Meade 4mm orthoscopic to try to coax out the faint companion. I could see the diffraction rings. And the high power emphasised the slight collimation problem. And the so-so seeing. But no star. Sadly. I'd have to try again. With a different instrument, in dark skies... In the meantime, I chose a new target.

11:33. I could not split 90 Herculis. Not as tight as Kui 97 but in the high-delta with respect to brightness. A trend emerging perhaps?

11:55. Stared at the sky, naked eye, briefly. I estimated it to be approximately a mag 4 sky in the west. It was darker to the north.

12:12 AM, 24 Aug 2012. I could not split 41 Ophiuchi. Not with the 36 or 26 eyepieces. I considered bumping the power.

12:23 AM. I lost 41 Oph behind a tree before I could try harder. Curious. Also in the tight, high delta category...

I packed up. Or quickly pack leaving the 'scope and accessories outside. Then I'd be ready for tomorrow night. Theme? Imaging!

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