Friday, June 07, 2019

viewed with creatures (Bradford)

Set up in the backyard. Small table, astro chair, Mamiya tripod, Meade ETX telescope (chilled), astronomy case ε (eyepieces), computer, Rhonda's red blinkie string of LEDs, and paraphernalia. A pleasant temperature.

I positioned a bit further east in the yard thinking I'd avoid the pool of light if the upper bedroom ceiling light was triggered.

Some changes were planned for tonight: I had a DSLR camera right angle finder positioned on the aft-end of the dinkie Meade finder scope to ease 'scope use, particularly when star hopping to objects near the zenith. Also, I intended to run the tracking motor in the telescope base from the external battery pack and hacked pigtail power cord.

I had to readjust the angle finder as one of the elastic bands broke and everything fell apart.

Well, hello. Skunk waddled by, south of me, from the east hedge to the west edge.

9:42 PM, Thursday 6 June 2019. The sky was still bright. Wait! Just spotted Arcturus (without my spectacles).

Tried the jury-rigged right angle finder. It worked! I saw Arcturus. Wow. Put the 90mm ETX tube on the orange star. Then I set about aligning the finder scope proper. Very fiddly but got it done.

9:44 PM. I heard mosquitoes! Gah!

Put some stuff on. DEET supplies are low!

Got the angle finder focused with the onboard diopter adjustment.

Saw bats! Yeh. Keep on eatin'!

Thin crescent Moon through the trees... See ya. Good riddance.

Saw Leo. Or, the tail of the big cat constellation.

9:59. Improved the Polaris alignment.

Started star hopping for my first target in Leo. Found δ (delta) Leonis. Landed on 81 Leo.

10:11. Noted a triangle to my 10 o'clock, a right angle triangle. I put the 9mm eyepiece in (correction: 20mm). It was supposed to be a tight pair with the companion dimmer... About 4 magnitudes different.

SkyTools 3 Professional showed the B star at the 2 o'clock position. This was different than what I was seeing.

Nope. Not seeing the partner.

Probably hidden due to the residual sky brightness [ed: SkyTools simulates this. Triangle stars visible at 10:08 PM. Primary star visible. Secondary emerges from the background as the sky darkens]. Might be fine at a different time or season.

Went to next.

10:18. Cool. Two doubles. Two in the view! Nearly equal in their separation.

93 Leo aka Struve Appendix B 7. Nice! Bright yellow star, I suspected that was 93 proper. To my 1 o'clock (north), colourless, maybe blue, was the faint companion. ST3P said the separation was 74 seconds of arc.

To my 8 o'lock (south-west) was a much fainter pair. Right, 72" separation. Basically the same. The HD 102428 aka SHJ 130 primary was between the brightness of ΣII7 A and B. The second star of this SHJ was challenging with direct vision, easy in averted. Colour? Blue-white? Orange? This pair points at the 93 Leo, perhaps right at the 93 B.

Neat at low power (48x). Two doubles in one shot.

10:21. The tracking motor on the ETX was working well.

My new position in the yard was not great. The stoopid excessively bright LED street light on Frederick was shining right in my eyes.

Next. Chose a quarry in Virgo. Hopped from ε (epsilon).

10:33. Spotted HD 112278 aka STF 1689, popped while panning. In a hook shape of stars, to my 9 o'clock (south-west). Tight pair. The primary looked yellow-white; the comrade orange-red. Challenging. The Object Information box in ST3P listed the magnitudes at 7.0 and 9.5. Generous separation at 30". But difficult to spot the B star in the little OTA.

[ed: Haas says the pair shows "pretty colours." She says the pair is "peach-white" with a blue companion.]

Took in the whole sky for a bit, various constellations. Which Serpens is which? I could see the bits on the right or west side of Ophiuchus [ed: the right piece is Caput].

10:43. Lovely. Fantastic. HD 111845 in Coma Berenices. Also known as STF 1685. Yellow and orange. Or was it yellow and blue? In a right angle triangle with the target at a point on the short side. Other stars near by. In a loose cluster or asterism? There were a number of bright stars sprinkled about. The pair was tight. B was a bit dimmer. Noticed in the software it was about a half-mag fainter.

A triple. Nice! C is easily seen, to the north-north-west. Extremely wide. A dozen times the AB sep. C is about a full magnitude or so dimmer?

[ed: Haas only refers to the AB pair.]

Interesting the star (or pair) to the left (or west). Why was it not included? Well, it's double the AC sep.

This target is smack-dab between 32 and 35 Com.

Checked the Oregon portable weather station (with external battery pack): relative humidity 54%, air temperature 13.6°C, air pressure dropping, cloudy tomorrow.

Felt a little cool. Decided to head inside for more layers. Added a vest and two hoodies. Switch from cap to full hat.

I riled up the mozzies as I walked around the shed. I was checking for a dark spot on the lawn... It would be good on the west side of the lawn when viewing the eastern and north-eastern sky.

11:03. Viewed ξ (xi) Boötis, aka Σ1888, near DE Boo (a variable?). Very nice, in an attractive field. A fun tight double. Yellow and orange stars. The orange was to my 10 o'clock (north-west).

[ed: Haas quotes Hartung: "yellow and deep orange."]

In a large triangle. Fantastic, a multi-star system. The other parts of the triangle were the E and F stars, very wide, faint. F was at the top (north) with E to the bottom-right. I noted another star, similar to E and F, to the south, about the same distance and same separation, Tycho 01481-0609 1. Not part of the system. Whoa! AB are a binary system with a 152 year period. Yes!

[ed: ST3P shows it drawing closer in the coming years. It will be 1/2 or 1/3 the separation in 50 years.]

Viewed previously (in ancient history) and also photographed (with BGO).

Went looking for the D accomplice. ST3P was not showing it on the chart. The OI box said the PA was 286° with a separation of 149". At mag 9.6, I should have been able to see it in the little ETX, roughly the same position angle as B, just further out... Was it an error in the brightness value? [ed: Yes. The Interactive Atlas shows the star opposite E at mag 13.8.]

11:14. The conditions: 55%, 12.8°.

For fun, went to the cotton ball of Messier 5 (M5). Quite large at low power. I could almost resolve some stars in the globular cluster with averted vision. Fuzzy. Speckled. There was a bright star well away at my 5 o'clock position—that was 5 Serpentis. I bumped the power (darker, not a great view). Something bright at the bottom-left. A foreground star?

11:32. Eyeballed Jupiter through the trees. Some of Scorpius.

Decided to try for targets on Corona Borealis despite being quite high. I was hoping the angle finder would make this easier than ever before.

Started from α (alpha) CrB. Headed to HD 139691...

11:42. Landed on a bright tight pair of white and blue-white stars. Oops. ζ1 (zeta) and ζ2! My quarry was down and left.

My target? Also known as HU 1167. Faint pair, double the separation of the ζ doublet, much fainter, equal brightness. Orange (right) and blue. Another great "two in the view" target.

The right angle finder was amazing. A game charger. I would not have been able to do this otherwise! Avoided back-breaking contortions for overhead, straight-up targets. My little crazy cardboard adapter was working! If I made a 3D printed adapter thingee, it would be good...

Oh ho. Learned that HU 1167 was a multi-star system. A quint. AB 1.3" (tight and very dim), AC 15", AD 14" (dim, mag 10), CE 0.1". C and D were inline and 0.6" from each other. I must have been seeing the C consort (at mag 8). It will work in big 'scopes too! Fun!

[ed: Haas said the A and C elements were "gloss white" stars.]

11:52. HD 139569. Super dim. Very tight. Perhaps one of the tightest doubles I've seen in the Meade. I guessed 3"? ST3P said STF 1963 was 5.1 arc-seconds. Mags: 7.9 and 8.9. It's a triple—a big gun would be needed for the C element.

Probably shouldn't be on my candidate list. This is an "advanced" level target, methinks.

Tried for HD 144999. Too tough. Faint. Very tight at 2.7". B just below limits of this 3½" aperture. A and C are easy.

[ed: Not in Haas book.]

12:06 AM, Friday 7 June 2019. Ah. Nice couple. σ (sigma) CrB. Pretty tight, medium tight. Dozen or more? [ed: Sep. of AB is 7.4".] Main white; companion pale orange. Oriented 2 through 8 o'clock for me.

Then viewed the υ (upsilon) star of Corona Borealis, aka SHJ 223 or 18 CrB. Neat! Wide stars, forming a small triangle, two, to the north and north-east, C and D. Quite faint. Averted. I could not see the other stars, B and E, below or between. Neat system. Another candidate that works at small and big apertures.

[ed: Not in the Haas list.]

12:17 AM. Viewed HR 6110. WDS catalog name: Herschel V 38. Primary, dim, white. Above, fair distance away, a dim orange star. I noticed it was included in the AL binoculars (advanced) list. Curious.

[ed: Haas has some interesting colour descriptions.]

58%, 11.4°, pressure steady.

Tired. Almost 2 hours.

Happy Friday.


Decided to look in the north-western sky. Reorged the workstation.

12:31. After a quick peek at Cor Caroli, checked 25 CVn (STF 1768). Got the C star with good seeing and averted vision. Well away at 210". F star was easy (mag 9.5). Super distant at 438". AB is 1.6" so probably not doable. E is mag 11.5 according to the planning app. Not a great target for a small 'scope. Oh. A binary. Interesting to me but...

More tired. Considered something amazing to finish on... Pulled up the Coldfield doubles list. Maybe there was something in Ursa Major.

12:41. I briefly viewed Jupiter. Everything was roughly equidistant. North and south equatorial belts obvious. The south band was a bit fainter. Good seeing. Nice crisp view.

Surprise: rho came out! She liked the string lights. Thanks! ;-) Returned to Jupiter for her. She was impressed by the arrangement of the moons, in a nearly perfectly straight line, nearly equidistant. "That's so neat." I told her they had all been on the right side on Sunday night. On her second viewing, she could see the long cloud bands.

She heard an animal in the east hedge. "It's big." Was Mr Skunk back? Coon? Bunnies plotting an attack?

Rhonda told me about the grey cat blocking the driveway when she got home. Didn't want to move. "Not today." Someone walking by shooed it away.

12:52. 60%, 11.7°. Decent seeing in the small telescope.

Started packing up...

As I returned the oculars to the eyepiece case, I realised I had removed the Rod Ends 20mm, not the Tele Vue 9. Ha! That explains why the views were not great...

Returned all the gear to the east window portal. Carried the eyepieces and OTA in by hand.

(Helped Rhonda with her car.)

1:08. Everything was back inside.

Removed the 83 layers of clothing. Red lights off. Double-checked I had everything from outdoors. Really wanted an aprés-view beverage. Made some tea.


Seeing was OK this evening. Nothing jiggling in the eyepiece anyways. Transparency seemed a little off. Smoke?

Once again, no dew!

The right angle finder was incredible. Made things so much easier. The pivot feature to change the viewing angle was also very handy.

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