Sunday, April 20, 2014

doubles in a small 'scope (Mississauga)

21:18, Saturday 19 April 2014. I wanted to chase down the weird blobby fuzzy thing in Auriga, near IC 2149, that I had seen and imaged at the CAO at the beginning of the month. Skies were looking good.

Made a note to bring out the mouse and keyboard light. Was struggling a bit with the netbook.

21:27. In the 8", I viewed the big triad near π (pi) Aurigae, HD 40064 nearest, HD 40143 to the south, and HD 39863 to the west. Noted fantastic orange colour of π aka 35. [ed: It's a LC variable, ranges from 4.2 to 4.3. Class M! Presumably using the 36mm to start.]

21:34. Plugged in the mouse and red LED for keyboard.

I thought the Super Polaris mount tracking was fair. Particularly good without any polar alignment!

21:38. Put the 26mm in the C8. Could see GSC 03361-1239 with averted vision. North-west of HD 39863. That was very near where I saw the weird fuzzy. Saw the twins TYC 03361-0643 1 and TYC 03361-0174 1. They were obvious. West of pi.

21:44. Corrected the polar alignment of the Vixen. It was maybe off in azimuth by 5 degrees. Oh oh. Noticed that while the finder scope was directly on the triad, the OTA was in the roof! Damn! Now that was funny. Well, if it's any consolation, I did not see anything "mysterious" in that brief period.

Seeing was really good.

Vixen mount was getting sticky. Like it was beginning to seize. Damn it! Decided to stop using it.

Grabbed the Questar 3½".

21:48. Wow. The ADDS radar image was amazing.

21:58. Had the Questar telescope up and running, roughly aligned.

21:59. Just tagged Jupiter in the small Mak. Viewed in the 40-80x eyepiece, originally 40x, then 80x. The seeing was excellent.

22:01. Saw three moons on the left [ed: Europa, Io, Callisto], one on the right. An equally bright star below [ed: HD 51295].

22:05. Tried putting one of my eyepieces in the Questar. Nope. Can't be done. Too bad.

22:27. Viewed HD 79552, a suggestion from the RASC Observer's Handbook. With the 40x, a tight pair; at 80x, all split. Could see the A, B, and C stars. I could see HD 79394 at the bottom-left or south-west of the target. I thought A and B almost actually the same brightness. Maybe B was a hair fainter. C was much fainter. C was maybe 2 mags fainter than B. A and B form a line with C almost at 90 degrees. I did not have a sense of colour in the little OTA. Blue-white maybe for A and B and orange or red for C? Really just guessing.

Oops. That star way off to the right was HD 79595! Oops. So, I was only seeing A and C of HD 79552. Let's regroup. A and C almost the same brightness, C a bit fainter. Both blue-white for A and B then? RASC said yellow and blue. Hmm. It was on my revisit list. Decided to leave it there...

22:53. Hopped from Cor Caroli. Saw 20 and HR 4997 off at the top-right. Then saw the obvious double in the finder! Must be wide.

22:56. OK. I noted bright 15 and 17 Canum Venaticorum were widely separated. They would probably be a good binocular double. 17 was to the east of 15. HD 114427 was to the north, about three times the distance of 17 from 15. [ed: ST3P says 17 (the primary) is a triple with a tight fainter companion of B. Added to the view-again list.]

23:06. I thought, it's time to buy BYEOS! High time.

I thought 17 looked white, maybe pale yellow. 15 BC looked blue-white. [ed: ST3P says 17 is an A-class star while 15 or B is a K!]

SkyTools showed a double to the west...

23:09. Looked at HD 114146 but could not split. B was too faint for the small aperture. [ed: 8.4 vs mag 10.4 at a sep of 6.3".]

23:11. Learned that mag of 17 C was perhaps mag 9.5.

23:42. I finally arrived γ (gamma) Sextantis. It looked like a single star. Ah no, SkyTools said it was a triple. But I could not see the other stars. Turned out B was 0.5" from the primary. A fast-mover. Ah no. Tough even in a bigger instrument. And C was mag 12. No, again. Crikey, these are bad suggestions.

23:49. Viewed Mars. The seeing was bad now. Could make out light and dark regions. At higher power, I thought I saw a white strip down the middle and a dark triangle on the right edge. The ice cap was not obvious.

00:01, Sunday 20 April 2014. Common sense told me up was up.

00:07. Viewed Mars again. North should have been at the 2 o'clock position in the Context Viewer chart.

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