Monday, October 10, 2016

focused on doubles (Bradford)

8:59 PM, Sunday 9 October 2016. Suited up. Put on long johns this time!

9:03 PM. Transferred the PHD software to a network share. I had downloaded it a couple of days back. Then I could possibly try the StarShoot with software on netbook.

Used a basket to bring things out. Handy.

9:08. Brought out a marine Sealed Lead Acid battery to power the dew heaters. It was ready. Strapped controller to shaft.

Tied up the fly this time. At the midsection. Yep. This will hold it in place.

Found well-placed ties for the observing roof flap and screen. Did not need the small spring clamps I had installed earlier.

Oregon said: 64%, 5.7 degrees, pressure dropping, rain tomorrow. There was no wind. No clouds... But a bright moon.

Reconfigured the AC power lines with the GFCI power bar as a distribution point.

It as 9:38 and I was in tent. Initially forgot the computer. When I fetched it, I also brought out USB kit.

9:46. Found the needed Allen key, for collimating, in the OTA bag. That was forward-thinking. That said, I thought it would be even better if I put some electrical tape on it. To serve as an identifier. And help spot it when dropped in long grass.

9:50. Brought out the DSLR. For possible imaging projects.

Forgot the stand for the Sony again.

Wasn't sure where the cap was for the Pentax eyepiece. Ah. Found it on the floor. Probably it got yanked off when I snagged my winter coat hood on the 'scope.

I wanted to collimate the Celestron 8. And I suddenly remembered that using a camera would make it very easy.

Considered the sequence. It would be best to go to the star first, visually check it, centre on it, before attaching the camera. Picked a star near zenith.

The hot rods were out again.

Did not have the dew shield on. Would it matter? The humidity was lower tonight. But it could act as a light shield. Then again with the curling, detaching flocking paper, I might get artefacts while collimating. I didn't want that. The dew heaters seemed to be working fine.

10:06 PM. I was on Scheat. β (beta) Pegasi.

Felt a little scrambled. Not sure why.

Removed the visual gear and attached the Canon camera.

10:09. Looked for the star in EOS Utility. Showed a low battery. It was already at 30 seconds and ISO 1600.

Focused, using the mirror, until I spotted the star. Then fine-tuned with the WO focuser. It seemed to be taking the weight of the camera. Good. Reconfigured with the Tele Vue PowerMate.

Eyeglasses were smudged.

C8 collimation using Scheat

10:53. Finished the collimation. Looked OK on the camera; hoped it would be satisfactory with an eyepiece. Removed the little driver. Readied to tear down the camera.

Something occurred to me. While using EOS Utility and previewing a scene, using the Live View of course, and then shooting, the software keeps the mirror up. It never goes down! So this means there's no, zero, vibration induced by mirror movement. Can I do the same in Backyard EOS? It certainly does not seem to be the case when using the Imaging intervalometer features. Hmm. I'll have to look at this later...

The collimation looked good! Really good. Almost perfect!

11:01. Think I nailed it. That was a relief because I wasn't feeling really good about itm at the time. Took longer than I expected. My first impression was that I'd only need to adjust one screw. The resulting view was very good in the Tele Vue 9mm (which, if I remember correctly, yields 222 power).

It looked really good! I was very happy.

Found the Williams Optics focuser could not hold the camera (with doubler). I wondered if it is adjustable.

11:07. Viewed the multi-star system for elements, while I was on it. Spotted A, B, and C Scheat. aka HJ 1842. All right. The faint one, B, was to my left. That meant north was right. SkyTools 3 Pro said B was magnitude 13.4 (on the chart). Spotted Tycho 02243-0060 1, at mag 12.8, beyond B. Huh. Never viewed before.

Neck was cool. Adjusted the collars of the 18 layers I had on.

Headache. Weird. Water? Food? Lack of sleep?

Forgot that I had prepared PHD for transfer. Got my wires crossed. Thought I needed VNC.

Opened the Orion StarShoot II box. Reviewed the documentation. Dang. The optical disc included MaxIm Essentials. No software CD. That would have been good, to develop some more experience. Connected the camera to the computer. Crikey. Stoopid blue LED! Windows thought it a USB 2.0 web camera. Did a quick search on the interwebs, found a product support page at, but it showed a very different camera. Oh boy. Perhaps this was a bad idea...

11:30. Checked the audio recorder. Audio levels OK.

Made a note to apply a skin the browser on John Repeat Dance to get rid of the bright chrome.

Reviewed my life lists and the software for targets.

Slewed to Enif. I still had the high power eyepiece in but it was in the field. Impressive.  But a bit too much power.

Covered the red LED string again.

Lovely light gold, the primary. Gold and blue. Widely separated. Blue was the C star. The non-related star to the right or east was PPM 172195. North was up. Noted the gently curving arc of stars on the north-east side of Enif.

11:45. Viewed Enif more. Found the B star! It was super-faint. Strange. When I hovered over the star in the chart, ST3P said it was mag 11.3. The Object Info echoed this. It could not be that. It could not be 11. Many other mag 12 stars were visible to me and the B was dimmer. I could see the star north of the PPM: it was GSC 01125-2020 at mag 13.0. I saw a star between PPM 172195 and HD 206794, almost in the middle: GSC 01125-1933. SkyTools said it was mag 15.0. No!

Around midnight. Humidity had dropped: 59%. The temperature was slowly dropping: 5.4°C. Air pressure was even or steady now. The Oregon still showed rain tomorrow.

Grabbed some more targets.

12:08 AM, Monday 10 October 2016. Viewed 10 Lac. Used SAO 72575. Bright star, blue-white. The other one looked purple! Can't be purple. [ed: Haas quotes Smyth: while and violet! Holy crikey—we agree!]

I identified the A and B stars. B was much fainter. The chart was wrong—made them look equal. The OI box said mags 4.9 and 8.4. [ed: Haas says B is 10.4!]

I like it! Neat pair.

I saw an extremely faint [ed: pair?] north of the pair but ST3P did not show this at all. Not in the software. [ed: Could this have been MLB 798? Curiously, they are about the same distance from 10 Lac as the following pair, 214433...]

Noticed the beehive of faint stars to the north-east.

Spotted HD 214433 A and B off to the west. Tight. Also known as Struve 2926, orange and blue stars. Both dim. The orange one was above or to the north. In SkyTools, it noted the primary star was class A and the secondary was a class M. Rock on!

Lots of multiple star systems in The Lizard! Along the Milky Way. Lots of field stars.

Decided to take a break. Partly to get rid of the headache. Returned with the stand for the recorder, sodium acetate hand warmers (just in case), and an energy bar.

Slewed to HR 8588 (SAO 72446), a system in the 'hood, beyond 8, from 10 Lacertae.

the Clear Sky Chart had lots of blue

12:29 AM. Made a note to thank Phil.

Made a note to check the dovetail plate. I found it slipping yesterday. Hot-cold cycles. Tighten it again. And ensure there are captive bolts. Should be checked each session.

The truck, somewhere in town, was still backing up. Weird.

Security light came on again.

Checked the software for HR 8588 aka ROE 47. Wow! I had seen all the elements! B to the south, C to the north, D and E faintly to the south-west. Reminded me a bit of Scorpius. North was up. The bright star to the north-west, HD 213616, added to the attraction.

I even saw a star beyond DE. The Context Viewer did not show this star but it was displayed on the Interactive Atlas: GSC 03205-1814. It also said the star was magnitude 14.7. Can't be. I saw tiny triangle of faint stars to the south including GSC 03205-1560 at mag 14.1. Can't be. Saw GSC 03205-1908 at mag 13.7 at the top of the gentle arc of 4 stars. Can't be.

Spotted another triangle of stars, south-south-east, further away. It included the double star COU 1834.

Why would the 1560 stars, at the same kind of separation, not be considered a double when the COU was? Why would the COU not be considered a triple? Mysterious.

Knockin' them out of the park tonight. Wow. [ed: Ironic.]

Are mag 14 stars possible?!

12:30. Humidity 60, temp 5.1. Huh. Did not feel chilled, at this stage. But then, I had come out with the long johns, layers, the winter coat.

Thought: Why should I feel guilty about not looking at galaxies? I was not in Mew Lake. Worry about galaxies later. Do double stars!

12:33. Our security light went out.

The neighbours to the south? Their backdoor light is psychotic. It remains on for a long time, extinguishes, then immediately retriggers. There's something wrong with the motion or heat sensitivity setting.

Transferred more targets. A few from Pisces.

12:52. Viewed ο (omicron) Cephei (SAO 20554). Beautiful. Yellow and orange. Quite tight. A triple. I spotted C! Once again, ST3P was not showing the A and B stars correctly. They were not equal. B was actually much dimmer. The OI information looked OK. 4.8 vs 7.3. A and B point to a random nearby star TYC 04478-1238 1. ST3P told me the C star (Struve 3001) was brightness 12.8. No way. It was much dimmer.

I saw the stars GSC 04478-1224 (mag 14.4) and -0216 (13.8) in a westerly line away from AB. Beyond C I noted GSC 04478-0364 (mag 14.0). Crazy. Very interesting.

SkyTools starting acting wonky. Right-click not working. Then the double-click stopped functioning. Closed and reopened windows. Switched to a different list and came back. Switched to a different tab—whoa. Gone. Sucked into another dimension. Restarted it. No data lost. Whew. Where were we.

Slewed to Alderamin. Increased the power with the 9mm ocular.

1:14 AM. Super wide. The bright star of Alderamin was a single. The diffraction pattern looked strange. I saw the B and the C. Hotel sierra! I got the D star. Crazy freakin' faint. Wow. C and D were very close together. They were left-right for me. North was bottom-right. Incredible.

1:20. My headache was gone, happily.

Considered HR 8281 (SAO 36626). Sounded familiar. A short slew, as a helicopter flew over.

Fantastic. I saw C and D. C was orange; D, blue. D was to my right or to the north. C was to the east. Easy. So far. E did not show in the CV chart; had to switch to the IA. On hovering, I saw the listed mag was 15.4. Can't be. Found the E star! It was about 4 times the A-D separation.

Noted HD 206482 at the edge of the field, to the east-north-east. A previously viewed double.

Spotted HD 239729 to the east. Widely spaced. A bright and dim star. Angled north-to-south. About a third of the distance from the HR star as 206482.

Opposite 239729. Spotted a pair, not an official double, including star Tycho 03975-0625 1. To the north-west. Looks like a regular double to me.

Spotted HD 206081 further along. Previously logged.

Saw GSC 03975-0316 to the north-east. Mag 14.4.

With the 9mm eyepiece, the E star was easy. Got another.

I could not see the HR 8281 B star. We'll leave it for another day.

Around 1:50. My legs were cold. 63%, 4.2°.

Slewed to 65 Piscium or SAO 74296 or Σ61. Dropped eyepiece power. Could not detect colour. At first I thought they were pale yellow. [ed: Smyth and I agree again!]

Similar brightness. The one at the top-left was slightly dimmer. North was up and slightly right. The brightness values on the chart did not seem correct.

Observed TYC 01745-1636 1. Sure looked like a double to me. Not tagged as such.

Noted 34 Psc in my View Again list. Slewed to 91750.

1:57. Ya. Very different magnitudes. 34 Piscium. Yellow and orange. The B was toward the triangle to the south-east. A modest separation. Very interesting pair.

The triangle was neat.

Caught, in the chart, HD 530, above or to the north. Panned. Orange and blue. Wide pair. Oriented toward 34. Quite wide. Well. Very interesting.

Done. Closed up shop.

Checked the portable weather unit one more time. 64%, 4°, steady pressure, rain.

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