Thursday, August 05, 2021

doubles from Haas (Bradford)

Transcription of audio notes. Time stamps missing. Will be added later.

Thursday 4 August. 4:43 PM. (403) Tested the audio recorder. Well, more to the point: tested my correct operation of the recorder... Did not want to scupper my audio notes again.

9:05 PM. (404). Checked the Sony SX recorder. All's well.

Decided to test my custom Visual Basic application, my virtual hand controller! In the field!

Put my eyepiece case on the floor and moved the wood TV table to near the 'scope. I needed to have the computer beside the telescope.

9:38. (405). I found the stupid Dell laptop power plug blue LED ring way too bright! I need to cover it with red film, if I'm gonna use this for astronomy...

Booted laptop. Hard disk started thrashing, as usual. Used the loaner "modern" USB-serial adapter, with blinkie lights, the only one I have access to that's compatible with Win10. Connected to the Vixen mount. Did a super-fast alignment but couldn't see Albireo so I expect some issues... Put some red film over the laptop with new elastic bands.

9:43. (406). Noted car headlights beam along the driveway. Device Manager started to load. Fire trucking slow though. Decided to launch Stellarium just for a quick test... Before launching VB. A basic connection check.

9:47. (407). I could not remember at all what I would need to do to run the VB app. It had been a long time... Very long time. I assumed, as I had not compiled the program, that I'd need the full Visual Studio environment. That would add more overhead.

Whiskey tango foxtrot! Frustrated. The hard disk was running solid. Barnacles! 100% activity. Killing all processes. Stupid slow. Stupid Windows. Unusable. Losing time. Valuable time under the stars. 

Rhonda said hello. I opened the west door and invited her in. I was not doing much. She thought the sky not really dark. Correct. Summer evening slow burn bright skies. It would be another half-hour or 45 minutes to astro-twilight end. Warned of tent pegs.

Dell computer non-responsive. Bah! Needed to do something else. Grabbed Sissy Haas's book.

10:06. (408). Still thrashing. Dumb. Double-clicked on Stellarium. Again. Must not have taken the double-click before. Briefly the full hourglass showed. Some response. Fungus!

10:07. (409). Stellarium started. Downloads, of course. Clock not running, at first. Checked for a mount control profile. Deleted an extra profile. Found a suitable profile. Edited it. It had the correct driver via ASCOM. Examined the COM port. Changed from 5 to 4. Slow! Tried to connect to the mount. Said connected. But no reticule. Didn't look right. Disconnected. Connected. Geez! That was the simulator! Disconnected. Reconnected. Still glitching. Tried a different physical port (oooh). And Stellarium crashed! Frig! Restarting. Steaming pile! Rechecked everything. Reticule in proper location, finally. Tried a short hop, to Albireo. Mount moved. The slew worked. 

10:15. (410). Not in the eyepiece. Looked in the Orion finder. It was close. Panned to centre in the ocular. Did a sync on the hand controller. Tried another slew. Went to M57, Messier 57, the Ring Nebula. Close again. Panned around to get it in the eyepiece. Synced again on the HC and I noted Stellarium updated. That's like SkyTools: the mount sends data to the computer to indicated its updated position.

10:21. (411). I didn't recall every using Stellarium with a telescope, live, in the field. So that was kinda fun. A first. Nothing Earth-shattering but still the first time in the field.

Launched Visual Studio. Took its sweet time...

Inclined to use Vega, easy to find. But it was near the meridian. Mmm. Maybe out of time. How about Deneb. Better angle. Slewed. Really close. Good.

The studio environment opened. Screen blanked for a moment. Came back. File history screen. April. Wow. OK. Clicked on the old project SLN. Error: "Could not be opened. Do you want to remove it." I used the Open button instead. Big frickin' waste of time. Parasites. Parasites! Absolute huge waste of time. FCUK. I must have renamed things... App 1. Found a solution. It just went away... disconcerting. Back. OK. 

Went to Stellarium and disconnected, while waiting, to avoid a conflict.

Lit another mosquito coil.

Blisters! So slow! So frustrating.

Dead time.

Losing time.

Moved things around, while waiting. Figured that I'd need to be able to look through the finder and the eyepiece while close to the computer controls.

Tried to figure out the tabs in the VB IDE. Rusty. Not the code tab. Needed the form tab. Not responding. Hour glass. Ridiculous. Opening file. Laggy. Four tabs: VHC1.vb, Virtual Hand Controller 1... VHC designer. Designer was the form. My cool form. Clicked on the Start triangle button... And...

Build errors! What? Security messages. What? All kinds of frickin' errors. 'Form 1' is not a member of 'Windows App 1.' WTF? What does that mean? Lame. I was not going to debug this now! Very annoying. What would make all this fail now? I had it working before... 

Well, so much for that experiment.

Fire truck you.

Shut down Stellarium. Closed the Device Manager. Moved the churning laptop off to the side, to the floor. Done with that mess. Time I'll never get back.


Next experiment: try the baader planetarium Hyperion Universal Zoom Mark IV, 8-24mm eyepiece with 68° field of view.

10:50. (412). Back to SkyTools. Frustrated also with the pointing errors. Redid the mount alignment. But first the polar alignment. With SkyTools nearby, I turned on the apparent RA/Dec gridlines and rotated the field of view. Polaris was about the 10 o'clock position. Adjusted the mount alt and az. Done. Cycled the mount power. Did the star alignment. Seemed way off. Was that 15 degrees off? Was it a time zone issue? Or the offset? Oooh. The GoToStar system uses both Daylight Saving time and a GMT offset in minutes. Did it again. The second attempt I told it to NOT use DST.

10:59. (413). Wanted to check the pointing. Connected ST3P. 

Let's get some work done. δ (delta) Cepheus. Logged. View Again notes. I've not seen the B star.

11:02. (414). Slewed. Way off again. Panned and synced. 

Noted a faint pair of stars. B was mag 13. AC had a separation of 40. B was a quarter, correction, half of that. GSC 3995-1092 mag 12.2 to the east. Barely visible. GSC 3995-1038 to the north, mag 13.1. Interesting. Yellow and blue. Nice.

SkyTools says B is 13.0 so I should have been able to see it.

The laptop drive was still solid. What in The Universe was it doing?

[ed: I guess this is a problem with astronomy. We want to use our computers at night. Outside of business hours. When many push or delay their massive Windows updates to...]

Considered next target. Perhaps in the Giraffe. No, at the house roof line. Cygnus? Went to Deneb as a jumping off point. Pretty close, in the finder. Panned. Synced. Went to HR 8166.

Saw a couple of stars. Couple of stars nearby...

I saw a bright, equal pair.

11:16. (415). Tested the snip on Sony. To verify I was recording. OK.

11:16. (416). Viewed HR 8166 aka STT 437. Low power, 24 mm in the zoom. The seeing was not great. Equal stars, gold, pale gold, very tight, equal in colour and brightness. Almost exactly pointing to the blue-white star at the edge of the field [ed: HR 8169] to the north-east. Zoomed in to see if the colour would change. Same again. Diffraction rings. Airy disk. Faint pair off to the side, quite wide, two in the view. Pale orange now. Zoomed out. Ghost image, wow, weird. Not a good DS target to recommend to noobs. A Coldfield object. There was a C companion? Oh. OK. We'll have to look for that... The Meade 18mm eyepiece profile in ST3P closely matches the baader zoom at lowest power. The faint pair included Tycho star 2707-2258 1. West was kind of up for me, maybe the 11 o'clock position. Zoomed out I could just make out the faint pair. I saw a star well away to the 7 o'clock, faint. Ah. That was the C star. Got you! A and B were mag 6 stars. Bright enough. I guesstimated I was around 80 times magnification. A treat.


Chose τ (tau) Cygni. To view again. Slewed. Not in the centre. When a telescope doesn't point well you have to constantly do field identification. Good thing I know star hopping...

11:24. (417). Zoomed in slowly. I had clicked through 3 or 4 detents. I thought I saw a bump at the 3 or 4 position. But also getting diffraction rings. Seeing was poor. Jumping around. 

The eyepiece has an extendable eye cup. But I didn't like it out. I felt it was pushing me too far back.

Zoomed into one more level. Nothing obvious.

Maxed the zoom eyepiece. 8mm now. I did not see two stars. SkyTools showed the fast-mover binary pair A and B (aka AGC 13) at separation 1.0 seconds of arc (as of 2021.6). That's near my career limit. Nope. Could not say definitively. My impression did not match the highly magnified software view.

Oh. Look. The hard disk stopped thrashing. Meh.

Grabbed double stars for small telescopes.

Chose STF 2832 aka HD 207661. Slewed. Panned. Not on the right star...

Huh. Uh huh. Made it.

11:35. (418). Two faint stars. The left was a bit dimmer. A bit blue. Right was yellow or orange. Very similar. Faint star above, at the 1 position. Main pair oriented 3:30 to 9:30. ST3P said it was a triple. The star above was in fact the C. B was to the south-west. So C was to the north-west. C was about 3 to 4 times the AB separation. [ed: 13" vs 47".]

Next: Otto Struve 447 or HD 206224. Also BU 449 shows for the AB pair. Slewed. OK! Hit this target in the eyepiece. Nice. Off to the side. Lots going on.

11:42. (419). Main star was yellow. A good distance away, 4 o'clock position, blue, bluish-whitish?, star [ed: E, not B, ST3P shows as orange]. Double the distance, inline, faint star. Wait, two, was it two? [ed: F and K] Back to the main star, from it, 8:30 position, half the distance of the two bright ones, maybe 1/3rd, red? [ed: C] 

Quite far away, dim star, 11:30, slightly further than the ones at the 4 position [ed: I]. Tagged a star opposite the B from A, really far away [ed: Unrelated TYC 3191-718 1]. 

Bumped the power, 1 click. Up again. Click. Pretty neat system. Up again. Another, faint, opposite B [er, opposite E, this is D], half the distance, inline, slightly up, ST3P shows it as bright. I disagreed. 

West was nearly straight up. I turned on the labels in the software. Whoa! Fire trucking wild. The bright star to the north-east was not B; that was E. This is the one Haas was talking about. C south. D, that just popped, west. I thought D very faint. Software says 11.2. Double beyond F and K. F was brighter. I could barely see the H star.

From the Object Information box in the software for this 10-star system. Star, magnitude, PA, sep.

  • A, 7.6, -, -
  • B, 12.7, 14°, 6.2"
  • C, 12.1, 176°, 14.1"
  • D, 11.2, 249°, 19.3"
  • E, 8.7, 45°, 29.6"
  • F (from E), 10.7, 47°, 43.5" (from A it's 45°, 71")
  • H, 13.8, 263°, 75.8"
  • I, 11.7, 271°, 92.6"
  • J, 13.9, 95°, 71.7"
  • K, 11.7, 49°, 72.7"

11:51. (420). A crazy system. All stars except for A and E there was no particular colour. Might be a fun one to share with double star hunters.

Zoomed out I could see C. And F and K! Also I. Really wild. Did not see B or J.

EF pair has WDS discovered code FOX 262. AH, AI, and AK have code ABH 148.

Saw a nearby object of interest. Panned over a little bit. Just for fun.

11:56. (421). Yellow and white stars, 10 o'clock position. Faint. 2½ times the distance, a very faint star. A fourth one in there too. This is 76 Cygni aka S 796. B mag 10.0, C is mag 11.7. Faint star between B and C, close to C, inline. Not shown as part of the system. Mag 13.8! Doesn't seem right. Should check the WDS.

[ed: Looked up 76 Cyg / S 796 in Stelle Doppie (link to double). It is a 6 star system! The star I saw between B and C would be PA 274 and Sep 109. No match in SD and presumably WDS. SD shows D thru F as mag 13.4 or dimmer stars.]  

Almost midnight (422). 11:58. Sky seemed bright. 

Wondered what the bright star was...

Next. Slewed. Short distance. Lovely field.

Thursday 5 August. 12:01 AM. (501). 69 Cyg or S 790. A triangle. Very wide pair. White primary. A blue star at the 6. Third, faint star, 4 position, red, half the sep. C was the bright one below. Due east. I had to look to the right, averted, to get B to show up. Atypical double with C brighter than B.

At the 2 o'clock, another triangle of stars. Random stars. No bigger...

Faint pair, unequal, at the edge of the field, 10 o'clock, south-west, with TYC 2715-1734 1. No wider than 69. Hmm.

Tycho 2715-975 1 was one of the stars in the faint equal pair at the top, west, edge of the field.

An asterism thingee at the 7 position, south-east. With SAO 71336.

Found an open cluster in my list. NGC 7063. Did a "slew to cursor" command. Sparse. Looked like there were a dozen bright stars within. aka Collinder 435 and OCL 192. [ed: From an auto generated function in ST3P, I believe.]

Ooh. Some doubles within.

12:08 AM. (502). Zoomed in one click with the baader.  Faint stars. Hard to focus. 

I saw a pair oriented up-down. ES 2126. ST3P said it was a triple. The OI box said the mags were 10.0, 11.2, and 12.2. I saw some of it... But not all three.

In a right-angle triangle, at the SW corner, I saw what looked like a double, with Tycho 2715-2574 1. 

I could not split the other marked double ES 2125. AB split was 1.9". No.

Thought about wrapping up. Felt tired. Looked in Haas's tome for something "grand."

Slewed a short distance. We're not far from the NA Neb.

12:19. (503). HD 200465 aka H IV 113. Very nice. A yellow and deep blue. Blue was around the 1 o'clock. Neat field stars. SkyTools showed a triangle. I did not see the third star... Nothing there. Whoa. I saw it. Averted. Zoomed at 8mm.

12:23. (504). Got the C star! It was about the brightness of the other mag 13 field stars. Right angle, C from B. When I look down and right of the primary I get it. Is it a variable star?

Considered M55. A Messier to double-down on. Nope.  In Sgr. Behind a tree.

That's it.

Tonight was the last. I'd do the full teardown later... tomorrow. Did a bit of pre-packing.

Wow. Remember this time to disconnect the software in advance!

12:28. (505). Environmentals: 52%, 17.3­°, steady, rain.

Rhonda dropped in briefly.

12:54. (506). Finished medium-thorough pack. I took a good amount of stuff inside.


General idea: 

Put a little label on each piece of red film to identify the monitor or device it is meant to cover. I have so many now...


To dos: 

Put a small piece of red film over the burning white indicators, disk, power, etc. on the Dell laptop. Some Baby Bel plastic would do.

Determine if the Dell keyboard lighting can be controlled. Dimmed, in particular. Way too bright for astronomy work.

Got revisit the Visual Studio to fix whatever I broke...


Disappointed with the Visual Basic app issues. Extraordinarily frustrating experience with the Win10 laptop. But it was very cool using the baader zoom eyepiece. It saves time. It gives decent views. It would mean less fiddling, gyrations, dew strap swapping.


Oh ho! I didn't know this. The Dell keyboard brightness can be easily changed. Fn Right Arrow. Documented as "Increase and Decrease the keyboard backlight illumination." It cycles through 5 states, off, low, medium-low, medium-high, and high. Nice. Works just fine. No driver needed.

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