Monday, June 03, 2019

viewed DS candidates (Bradford)

10:23 PM, Sunday 2 June 2019. Dark. Good looking skies. Wind had died down. Ready for the dropping temperature, I put on long johns and many layers for the torso.
Instrument: Meade ETX-90 Mak
Mount: tripod
Method: star hopping (and no tracking motor!)
Outside. With (almost) everything needed for my observing session. Just finished putting the telescope on the tripod and roughly aligning to Polaris. Set up the chair and table. Started unpacking gear from the carry-all.

Rhonda's little red LED light string for the tripod, eyeglasses, eyeglasses strap. Looked like I wouldn't need the dew heating gear [ed: That was good as I forgot the 8-inch strap inside], deep red flashlight, new external battery pack for the mount. First time in a long time, I had the Oregon portable weather station outside (with new external battery pack). Grabbed a 26mm eyepiece, the old Celestron Plössl.

I could not hear the mount whirring no matter what I tried. Dead batteries? Someone wrong inside the mount? Should I get the AC adapter and extension cord? Could I simply manually track?

Someone turned the upper bedroom ceiling light. It shone down directly onto my work site! Schlanger. I did not relish moving to a new spot but with the light on it was unworkable...

10:31 PM. I headed inside to get three fresh AA batteries and the John Repeat Dance computer.

Inside, I found batteries (after grabbing the LED "ice cube" for a light source).

Yeh, security light did not trigger as I walked about the drive! That was a first I think.

10:35. Returned to the yard. The upstairs light had been turned off. Thank you! Allergies acting up.

Tried the new batteries. Nothing! Oh, that's not good...

Didn't wanna futz with extension cords and the like so I pressed ahead. Old school...

Misplaced an elastic band so secured the Lee Filters red film with one along the top edge.

Looked south. Blue Spica and sprawling Virgo.

Went to Arcturus (confirmed). Aligned the finder. Readied the netbook and SkyTools 3 Professional.

10:48. Checked the Oregon: 37% relative humidity, 7.9°C air temperature, air pressure steady, cloudy conditions tomorrow, new Moon icon.

Remembered past successes with the "telescope" 3-panel view in SkyTools. Too big, sized for the external monitor in the office, so I adjusted the window size. Washed out. Set the time to now to improve the display. Tried switching the panels around but couldn't remember how to do it [ed: Shift-Drag].

Considered my targets from the previously compiled observing list in the planning app. It was too late for targets in Hydra. Messier 68 was too low. Probably selections in Centaurus were not an option with trees and houses. Leo, or parts, were still visible. I aimed to the rump.

As I turned the azimuth control, I found the mount jumped. Too tight! I made a note to decreased it to reduce binding (but that requires a full tear down...).

10:56. Went to Denebola aka β (beta) Leonis.

Noted SAO 99800 to the south-south-west. Also known as HR 4531 or Burnham 603. Fairly bright. ST3P said it was a tight double [ed: 1.12" as of April 2019, a fast binary at 134 years]. Too tight for me with this little OTA [ed: calculated Dawes limit is 1.3"].

[ed: ST3P shows it with a log entry but there's nothing on the life list. Logged 16 March 2018, from here, with the SPC8. Huh...]

10:58. The fainter star to the south (dimmer than 99800), near to Denebola, was the D star, the fourth companion with β.

11:00. The neighbours to the south presumably went to bed, turning out their backdoor lights. w00t! But that emphasised the bad streetlight. Nearly due south, on Frederick, over a block away, there's a bright LED light angled such that it directly shines in my eyes. It shines in our bedroom windows. Bad, boo, hiss! Completely unnecessary, wasted, intrusive, inappropriate, light pollution. I should talk to the town about that one...

While trying the Meade 18mm orthoscopic ocular, I noticed some optics issues. Collimation? Or something else? Not a good view. Rocked the eyepiece, turned it. Meh. Took it out.

Put caps on. Gently put the OTA cover on as I reviewed things at the computer.

11:04. Trusting SkyTools, zoomed in a lot on the eyepiece panel, and it only showed the D partner of Denebola. B and C were apparently too dim for the small aperture. The Object Information box said B was mag 15.7 and C 13.2. [ed: Mag 11 or 12 is probably the limit for the ETX 90.]

[ed: SkyTools shows the C star revealing itself with the C8 and B making an appearance with the GSO 16...]

Checked 99800. The software showed the B star almost due north, north-north-west. Different from my "up-down" impression at the eyepiece. Hard to say. I thought the orientation I was seeing looked more to the north-west. My imagination?

[ed: Viewed on 16 Mar '18 with the C8 but did not split.]

Considered HD 105913 in Corvus but it was not possible without moving the rig. I could just see γ (gamma) in the tree foliage.

The metal OTA cover fell off. Oops.

Got tangled in the LED string.

Found another target in Corvus, higher.

11:13. Cool! HD 109556 or Struve 1659. Wow. Immediately saw a neat pattern of stars, an obvious triangle, and then a close faint pair in the middle. And then spotted a very dim outlier star making a very interesting triad!

[ed: Sissy Haas notes this system in her book double stars for small telescopes. She specifically refers to the A, B, and C stars. No colours noted. She also quotes Dembowski describing a triangle in a triangle. I see that.]

Not too difficult a star hop from the top of Corvus, from Algorab (delta, right?). Straight up, basically.

Oh boy. A six star system.

Really cool.

I had added this to my double star project candidate list, unseen. Is it too wide? I can appreciate that at high power all the members would be far apart. But I was working at 48 times and it was fantastic.

Put the Tele Vue 9mm Nagler Type 6 in. No major optics issues. Dove deep.

A and B are the central stars, a faint close pair. A was to the bottom of the field of view for me (south).

11:16. Got the extremely faint C star at this higher power. Initially with averted but now easy to pick off. C was at a right angle to the line between A and B. Between A and B? No. Touch closer to A. About 1½ times the AB split, the distance from that imaginary line between AB. The E star was to my left or west (opposite C, a right-angle again). Fairly bright. Tiny bit closer to A than the D star. D was very faint (although visible in the 26mm). F was actually the brightest of all the members, to the south-east.

[ed: ST3P shows an S element but it's mag 15 and change!]

All stars blue-white. Maybe the two centre stars were slightly warmer.

A great little target. I want to keep it! (I also really like this target as there's other very interesting objects nearby...)

It was not annoying having to manually target. An advantage of low power, I surmised.

11:20. Spotted another multi-star system nearby, to the north-east, HD 109875 aka Σ1664. Faint stars. A hockey stick.

SkyTools showed 6 stars!

Three stars inline with a kink to the west end. Neat. A was the brightest, with a hint of colour, light orange. Down to my 5 o'clock, to the east, the E star. Further afield, not related, about 2/3rd the AE separation, was a dimmer light [ed: HD 109916]. To the south-west, 10 o'clock position, was the B companion, close, about a 1/3rd or 1/4th the AE sep. I did not see others... ST3P did not show the D star in the electronic chart [ed: The OI box said it was mag 11.6; the Interactive Atlas said it was mag 12.6; that looks right]. I did not see the C.

[ed: Haas includes this system in her book. In fact, she refers to AB, BC, and CD. She says C is magnitude 11.6. As is D. No colours noted.]

I learned this multi-star system was technically in Virgo. I'm right on the border...

Could be two-in-the-view at 50x or less!

[ed: Forgot to look at the galaxy!]

It was 11:30.

44%, air pressure dropping, rain tomorrow, 6.2°. Optics were clear. Occasionally I was fogging the ocular.

11:37. Phone alarm went off. I watched the western sky for the Space Station. Then I remembered the late one was low and short. I think I looked in the wrong part of the sky. Oops. I did see a couple of north-bound satellites. Anyhoo.

[ed: Not sure the target. HD 112278?] Decided a DS candidate was too tight, it appeared as a single star. One of my DS candidate suggestions. ST3P said the split was 30". Huh...

I spotted Antares and the pincer stars of Scorpius. Saw Jupiter too, tangled in the trees.

Rhonda popped out noting it was very cold. Relayed the bad news about the basketball game.

My back was cold. Headed inside to fetch my winter coat!

Looked for another double with Lucian remarked on.

Snagged the LED string again. Put it aside.

Tried for a star near Hercules but gave up. Saw a neat pattern but had no idea where I was.

12:01 AM, Monday 3 June 2019. Had a quick look at Jupiter (through the coniferous needles). Neat. All the moons were on one side, bit of a jagged line.

I was on track for HR 6341 or STFA 33. Near Rasalgethi. Star hopped away from α (alpha) Herc. According to SkyTools this was in the direction opposite "L." What's L? Leading? Noted in the finder a stringer of stars going up and down and a wide double.

12:07 AM. My impression was that there was a T-shape. Sort of. Roughly oriented east-west was the top of the letter T. Equally bright. At a right angle, going down the middle, between the bright stars, a line of stars. There was a long stem with faint to very faint stars. Then at my 10 or 11 o'clock position there was a medium bright star, same intensity as the star at the bottom of the T. A bunch going on. Wow.

The primary was to my left (or north-west). B was right or south-east. SkyTools showed P and Q between A and B, P almost inline, a bit south. Then Q further away. The brighter star (brighter than P and Q) was further still and not related [ed: HD 154211]. Surprising it was not included. C was to the north of A. Ignoring P and Q, they formed a isosceles triangle.

I could not get any colours from the members. All blue-white.

All super-wide. Lucian suggests it is too wide. I really like it for a few reasons. A super-low power target and keeps giving with larger apertures. And it's easy to get to. Plus the logical put-in point is a very cool double. [ed: It is in Haas's book.]

[ed: Viewed back in July 2015.]

My allergies were really bad.

Consider Draco targets. They'd require more neck-breaking finding. So, no.

12:14. Weird. As I looked at Vega at 1x power (with my eyeglasses) it seemed bluey-green! Huh? Aquamarine. Where was that coming from?!


μ (mu) Herculis. Another candidate checked by Lucian. He said he only saw one star.

12:22. Switched eyepieces, bumped the power.

Slight collimation issue. Airy disk. Diffraction rings, bright on the one side. Probably the skewed secondary. Noted a faint object... to my 8 o'clock. Yep. Definitely something there. Set SkyTools to simulate the sky with the 9mm. I got it! Wow!

I saw the extremely faint companion. ST3P says A is magnitude 3.4 while B is 10.2.

The software shows two more dance partners but C is overly tight and D is likely below the light grasp limits of the 90mm.

Curiously, the A and B separation is rather generous (at 139x)!

Should we keep it? Yes. I think so. If I can see the B with a tiny OTA, then it represents a good, albeit challenging, target.

Huh! There's a star near the head of Draco that I have often viewed as a nose or snout to the dragon; in fact that star belongs to Hercules.

Neighbour to the east, on the other side of the hedge, appears to have a new motion light. When he headed out back to smoke, it triggered the luminaire. I don't remember seeing that before. It started bugging me as I tried to work in the eastern sky. I shifted to the south-west and moved the desk.

Wow! Cool!

12:38. Shot in the dark. City skies. Could not clearly see where I was going in the finder. Headed "down" from Zubenelgenubi. But happily, I landed at HR 5397 aka SHJ 179 in Libra. Very nice double at low power. Nearly equal brightness. Slightly different colours. White and orange or yellow and orange. Line of three stars (at a 90 degree angle) off to the north-west.

[ed: Haas calls "haunting." A pair of "reddish white" stars. Interesting.]

Another DS candidate. Never previously viewed. Yeah.

ST3P says it is a triple with a tight BC combo—that'll make it a good quarry in a big 'scope.

I couldn't remember what time I started... How long had I been going? Wondered if I should carry on.

12:42. Consider travelling to Vega. Decided to head inside for a break. As I walked in I wondered if I had any hot chocolate left...

Sadly, out of the good stuff. Put the kettle on and used the second last lemon tea bag.

1:15. Back in "the office."

Vega is too hard I think. While it has a number of companions, with decent separations, the parent is just too brilliant, and washes out the surrounding region. One needs a blocking or occulting eyepiece. So I'll remove it from the candidate list.

1:23. Double checked the Double Double (affectionately Tim Horton). In this little 'scope, I saw rod shapes at 48x. The ε1 (epsilon) pair was angled toward the 11 o'clock and 5 o'clock positions and pointing toward the lower-right pair, ε2 oriented to 8 and 2. No black lines but clearly tight doubles in the ETX.

[ed: Looks like the split limit for the little ETX is around 2½ to 3 seconds of arc.]

Really good to see the Swan back in the sky...

Spotted Altair and Tarazed.

1:38. Oregon said 61%, 4.6°.

Tried for HR 7529 in Cygnus but had a devil of a time with the stupid, useless finder scope.

I think I bumped into the Cygnus Fairy Ring! Ha!

Decided to quit [ed: Three hours. A good run]. I knew it'd take me 15 minutes or so to get back inside. In bed by 2 perhaps?

1:49. Back inside. I plugged in the ASUS to recharge.


Many complained of bad seeing this evening. Was OK for me in BWG.


Imaged STF 1664 on 8 Dec '19.

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