Saturday, April 16, 2016

April doubles (Blue Mountains)

Fri 15 Apr 2016. 10:47 PM. Started my audio capture with the Sony ICD recorder. Battery low. Verified the time was right. Tested the Divide feature.

Just viewed HR 4428, aka JC 16, with the Nagler 20mm and then the 27mm in the 14" SCT. I could see a tight pair. Easy split with the 27mm. Yellow and orange. Maybe 3 magnitudes different. [ed: Indeed, 5.8 vs 9.2.]

Checked in the software. Ah ha! A triple. As I thought. SkyTools Pro said B and C were about the same brightness. Cool. A neat triple. It came from the RASC Coloured Doubles. In Crater, technically; between the Crater stick figure and Corvus. Woo hoo. Never observed before. All right. It was low. I had to drop the south walls in the Geoff Brown Observatory to get it. Current altitude was about 17 or 18 degrees.

[ed: Haas only refers to the A and B stars. "Straw yellow and silvery azure." The Observer's Handbook uses yellow and blue.]

I noticed an issue. The ST3P chart was not updating correctly. Noticed the Interactive Atlas was wrong. Oooh. I had it set for Halifax. Oops.

Went for another look. The peepers were loud! Upon review, I thought C brighter than B. That said, the whole view was getting soft...

[ed: First double stars in Crater!]

[ed: It was a little odd to me to find this in the View Again list without entries in the blog or life list. Oh well...]

Noticed the voice recorder battery indicator was now flashing. Gah. Suddenly I was anxious about corrupted data. Went to the house...

11:00 PM. Put AAA new batteries in the digital recorder.

The blinking cross-hair in the Interactive Atlas was still on Jupiter. I tried the Sync command but received a "Permission denied" error. Huh? Whatever.

Considered Alula Australis, one of the fast movers. Cheated: looked at the software first to gauge if I'd be able to split it. Around 1 second of arc. So, maybe. Slewed OK. Wow, almost straight up.

11:07. ξ (xi) Ursa Majoris aka Struve 1523. Light gold. Separated! Very, very close; black line between them. ST3P says 1.87". For me, visually, straight up and down—which corresponds to north-south. The companion seemed a touch fainter. The brighter one was definitely above. The bottom star was maybe a bit more yellow, duller.

There are differences in the software: the Context Viewer, on hovering, showed magnitudes for 4.4 and 3.8 for A and B respectively, which seemed odd; the Object Information box showed 4.4 and 4.9—that seemed right.

I also saw a pair of very faint stars off to the east, fairly close together, GSC 02520-0190 and GSC 02520-0017, both in the mag 13 range.

11:12. Tried for the mag 15 companion C... Nope. Too faint. The 'scope was moving a lot. And I may have been looking in the wrong spot... Anyway, A and B observed.

Saw GSC 02520-0192 in the middle of the triangle on the left. While poor quality data, ST3P said it was 13.9.

Noodled on the future custom mirror lock cable...

Wanted HR 4028, a random double star. Close, in Leo...

Slew failed... Oh oh. Looked like when I did the sync before it broke the connection. I had to re-establish the connection. 'Scope seemed to go to the right area...

11:19. Wow. A true binary system perhaps?! Two completely identical stars. Very pale yellow (initially I thought pale blue). Super-tight, tighter than Alula. Yeah, ST3P said 1.5". Dim. Equal brightness. The CV hover technique shows 6.6 and 6.7 (the OI shows 6.6 and 7.6, a full magnitude! no!). A completely empty field. Just a few very faint stars. Pretty-well straight up and down for me again; north-to-south.

[ed: aka Otto Struve 215.]

[ed: Haas says bluish-white.]


I had a lot of doubles on the observing list but I was feeling a little... off.

Restarted SkyTools. Connected. Slewed. All's well. Blinky X in the right spot. Ah, current time line in the Read Time tab. From now on, I'm not gonna call it rebooting a computer or restarting software; rather, it will be referred to as kickin' it in the ass!

11:26. Hmmm. Interesting. Went to HD 75353. Two equally bright stars. Pale. Light orange in colour. Quite close. From the most beautiful list. In my candidate list. Not in my View Again list. Looks like I have viewed it before. And even logged it. ST3P says these stars are, to the east, TYC 02491-0983 3 at mag 7.5, and HIP 43426, to the west, at 7.0.

Faint pair over top.

Spotted faint stars flanking the double, to the north and south. The north star is GSC 02491-1086 at mag 14.0; the southern point J085045.0+350223 at 14.1.

Spotted TYC 02491-1489 1 and GSC 02491-1055, mag 11.7 and 11.8 to the north-west. Not designated as a double. Why not? That kind of thing always makes me wonder what constitutes a double star...

Noted a Y-shape of stars with HD 75280 in the centre, GSC 02488-0063 and GSC 02491-1290 at the tips of the Y, and TYC 02491-1442 1 on the single leg.

There seems to be an error in ST3P. It shows a bright star to the south-west of the pair. It calls this star HD 75353. But there's no star there.

11:31. Still windy.

Paramount was working OK. Sounded good. A SkyTools window went wonky—horizontal and vertical lines everywhere! Very weird.

Considered 35 Com, aka Σ1687. Big slew.

11:37. Yummy. Yellow and blue. Really colourful. Wide pair, the A and C. A triple according to the software. The B is about 1 arc-seconds from A... On my View Again list, probably to dig out the B star. SkyTools says A is mag 4.9 and B 7.2. Probably too windy...

Essentially an empty field. Noted non-related star TYC 01455-1058 1 at mag 11.2 at the top of my field.

11:41. Viewed 35 Com in the 101 refractor with the 18mm. The A and C separation is no problem. But it makes you appreciate how much dimmer the C. It's mag 9.4. Dramatically different.

In the C14, I think I saw the B. Went out with the 20mm to look again.

Seemed to me that the wind was stronger... Seemed to be shaking a lot. The 10 minute average was now higher than an hour ago, over 20. The current, which I forgot to record before, was 19.3. Getting a little frustrated.

Headed to 54 Vir.

Gave up. Shame. Good skies.

Closed the roof.

11:50. Parked the 'scope. Closed down the software apps (in the proper reverse order).

Tossed the cold coffee.

Spotted Mars over the hill just before entering in the house.

Sat 16 Apr 2016. 12:10 AM. In bed.

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