Friday, October 07, 2016

tough doubles (Bradford)

6:57 PM. Put new Duracell 2032 batteries in the Oregon.

The pests found me!

7:16. Fetched some matches for the mosquito coil.

Did a crude polar alignment. Ha! The pole star was right at the edge of the roof, almost blocked! Lucky I could see it. Next time, perhaps, I should move a foot or so further south.

It was too bright to see Cas or UMa, to orient them with the polar axis reticule, so I didn't bother with exact alignment. Considered the Android app. Considered SkyTools. Nah. It would be fine for my visual session, just centred.

Did a blind two-star alignment!

The people on the top floor had their porch light on for no apparent reason. They were not out there.

I reacquired the Moon. Good pointing!

I wondered about the humidity. I had not set up to run the dew heaters. I wondered if I should but was not really sure how to power. I could grab an SLA from inside. Or the Li-Ion from the car. It felt humid. I decided, in the interim, to keep things covered...

7:32. Closed the side door. Or is it the front? The one near me, near the table, in the sleeping quarters end, and nearest the house. This cut some of the stray light. The tent was awesome.

Partly out of curiousity, I aimed at Venus. As suspected, it was very low. Tried for Saturn. Damn. Behind the maple tree. Doable if I had set up two to three metres further south.

Perhaps I could use another 'scope for that...

7:40. Went for Mars. Good pointing again. The orange planet was in the 36mm baader planetarium eyepiece. But there were diffraction spikes from the leaves! The disc is obvious but it was small. A nice orange.

Slewed to 41 Oph, from my View Again list, using SAO 141586 in the hand controller. Found a light orange star.

7:47. Yeh. The upper neighbours just shut off the light!

7:49. Achoo! The Oregon said the relative humidity was 70% and the air temperature was 16.6°C. It showed even air pressure and partly sunny tomorrow but I did not trust that. What? Low battery?! Whiskey tango foxtrot?

7:55. Heard the lonely blast of the train is coming in. Was it the last one? Late. For some, their weekend was only just starting.

Borrowed Geoff's / Denise's eyepiece, the 25mm, the E-lux by Celestron. It was a little dirty. I noted a triangle is at my 7 o'clock, with PPM 180027. North was right; east was down.

Someone triggered the security light at the north-east corner of the house. Bright. Stoopid bright LEDs.

8:00. I went up to the 20mm now, the Pentax wide angle.

Tried the Tele Vue Nagler 9mm. I noticed a slightly asymmetrical diffraction pattern around the airy disc. The collimation was fair but needed a tweak.

There was distracting vibration when I touched the 'scope, the focuser, at this high power. No mirror shift, happily, but substantial shake. It damped out quickly but it was a little challenging getting to perfect focus. I'm spoiled having the e-focuser at the CAO.

Did I see dark orange dot? I thought I saw something to my 11 o'clock. But ST3P showed the B star opposite. Hmm. [ed: Hold the phone. In the daylight, with the red film removed from the netbook screen, I noted the star at the top-left was dark and the one at the bottom-right was white. Interesting.]

8:08. The security light had gone off earlier. I was enjoying the dark backyard. Still, I could not split the pair. This target sounded familiar. It is one of Haas's test stars. 2.5 delta mag; 1.0". Nope.

8:10. The sec. light came back on.

Went to HR 6594 (SAO 103033). Another item to view again.

8:20. The sec. light turned off.

8:24. The sec. light tripped on. Did a car come in?

I bumped to the 20mm. Noted a triangle with TYC 01551-0516 at my 1 o'clock. I saw TYC 01551-1256 1 at my 2 o'clock. A magnitude 11 star. North was right.

8:25. Heard a noise just outside the tent, east side. Saw the black-and-white kitty moving away. He had walked across the tent fly. I had wondered if he would come by. On his turf.

Tried to get SkyTools to render a display to match my ocular view. Set the sky brightness to 20, set the temp to 15, set the humidity to 75.

8:34. I could see GSC 01551-0904 and GSC 01551-1240 in-line with the triangle. Mag 13 stars (although ST3P said the data was poor).

Oh. Oh. Shoot. When I hovered over the star in the Interactive Atlas, it said the mag was 15! In the Object Information box, mag 12. Ah no. I should scratch this from the list. [ed: The WDS shows the C star is mag 14.5. So pretty faint.]

8:44. Sec. light had been out for a while. The downstairs bathroom light came on. I closed the west window flap just as the light went out. I'd be ready.

Tried the old Meade 18mm orthoscopic. It was no good. Went back to the 20mm. Again wondered if there was a blip at the 11. Nope. The other way accordingly to the software.

Viewed HD 156162. C was easy (which I've seen before). Could not see B. Now, for me, north was down. Also from the View Again list.

Noticed HD 155674 to the north-west. Previously viewed (in the summer of 2014).

8:57. The sec. light went on. Not sure why. The cat?!

Saw GSC 03887-0310 to the east of HD 156162. Mag 13.9. Wow. Low brightness.

9:07. Sec. light off; another light off. Oh. It was really dark now...

No joy with B star.

Headed to my new target in Aquila, HD 180994 or SAO 124489.

9:16. The sec. light came on. I saw more lights. Red lights... Was it Rhonda? Did she back in? Yes! Thanks!

Way off target.

9:28. Saw HD 181781 with a close companion. I wondered why it would not be considered a double.

Panned to the east from HD 181781. Noticed GSC 00476-1906, a tiny triangle of faint stars, mag 11 and 12. These could be considered doubles or triples, no?

9:33. Viewed HD 181526 aka HO 576. Split A, B, and C. Wow. Didn't mean to. C was to the west, well away. B was to the south and close, much fainter. A was pale yellow? No colour in the other stars. Now, north was up.

The downstairs bath light came on again. Ha. I had the window flap partly closed and it was very helpful!

9:37. I turned the mirror again. Actually, released the Williams Optics focuser shaft. It was so easy to turn. A great feature. It's like the old Tele Vue adapter I had used for a number of years. But better. It is better than releasing the mirror screw; no danger of anything falling out. Now north was at the 2 o'clock. I panned left or south-west.

9:41. Noted a broad V of stars. My double target, at last, was the bright element. North was up.

With panning, I could see the large round fuzzy at the top or to the north. That was NGC 6781. Wow, hard to see. If I had not known it was there...

9:48. The sec. light came on again. Considered that if I put the tent a half-metre west I would not see the security light directly. The bright light would still bounce off the car though.

Then a light to the west came on. Over on the other property. The townies? It had come on before.

I tried the 9mm. It was hard to split. Just barely doable. Extremely faint and tight. And the skies just did not seem terribly dark. I thought it best to leave HD 180994 on the View Again list.

I was not satisfied. Considered wider targets.

And then I had a visitor!

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