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I may be in trouble here...


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I was letting the dog out before bed at 12:30 last night and noticed it was crystal clear and I could make out the milky way across cassiopia and cygnus, and that andromeda was up. I did a quick set up of the ST150 and soon found M31 (I could even see it in the finderscope).

I then had a wander through the milky way with my 32mm plossl :) unbelievable! Then I came to Albeireo :hello2: Beautiful. My first double!

Then I thought I would have a look at Mizar/Alcor. With the 32mm (~23x) you could tell that Mizar was a double, but could easily miss it if you didn't know. I put in the 10mm (75x) and as the diffraction blob resolved down into 2 distinct stars I got a little ripple of excitement go through me. Then more clouds came over so I went to bed (smiling ;))

This double star splitting hobby I've heard about could be addictive, and I think I'm hooked already :D What can I do?

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Be careful remember what Bilbo said in the Lord of The Rings "once you step onto the road you have no idea where you will end up," you have obviously skies some of us dream about, glad you enjoyed your viewing session.

John.

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a great impromptu session!

I really like doubles too but they are just one of the many things that can easily supplement an evening's observing, especially at this time of the year when the sky is a little bright. even in the most badly light polluted towns and cities, many doubles can be seen.

I always have a short list of doubles to find for each observing session, often working through the main 'showcase' ones in a constellation or two. it gives a backstop if all else fails but they are beautiful in their own right too of course.

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Be careful remember what Bilbo said in the Lord of The Rings "once you step onto the road you have no idea where you will end up," you have obviously skies some of us dream about, glad you enjoyed your viewing session.

John.

and he also said that he would go to Messier57 but he did not know the way. :hello2:

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Sounds like a very good night. I've only had 1 night viewing since april,weather been a pain and the sky never really gets proper dark this time of year. managed m13 . Haven't ventured into doubles yet tho, sounds good. Is it mizar and alcor that are gravitationally bound with another star? I'm sure i saw sky at night on tv and they were looking at Ursa Major. I dunno, memory hasn't woken up yet.

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Would I be right in thinking that a telescope that is good for planetary viewing (my main interest), such as a C8 or long refractor, would be the best scope for resolving doubles? If so I don't even need to change my upgrade plans to accommodate this hobby :hello2:

Just need to sell the ST 150... or a kidney :D

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hi Adrian

I agree, yes that a long focal length (or more specifically a slow focal ratio) instrument is generally considered better for planetary/doubles and moon.

That said, I feel that a newtonian is just as good as the ones mentioned at this. I have a superb 6" f11 newt and this is great on double stars, giving me routinely mags of 400x plus.

As always it's not as simple as that though as a larger aperture can often help increase the chances of splitting some doubles and seeing greater planetary or luna detail. The problems with e.g. a larger fast scope are that the seeing often creates issues giving shorter windows of sharpness than a smaller slower scope. however, in a bigger aperture, when the detail does sharpen for those split seconds of good seeing, it will make you gasp and smile.

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There are 2 areas where I don't spend enough time. Double stars and the moon. I tend to get obsessed with finding new DSO's but when I take the time to look at some doubles (and the moon) always wonder why I don't spend more time doing so.

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Sounds like you had a very enjoyable observing session.

Although I have been viewing doubles for some years I recently decided to cover the list mentioned above - Double Stars - TOP 200 most beautiful double stars

When viewing doubles I make a decision on particular targets, within the list above, by cross referencing the Cambridge Double Star Atlas and the book Double Stars by Sissy Haas. This gives me a more structured approach plus having info on separation, colours etc.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cambridge-Double-Star-Atlas/dp/0521493439/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309252430&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Double-Stars-Small-Telescopes-Stargazing/dp/1931559325

Good luck with your viewing - so many interesting areas to cover :hello2:

Mark

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Shane I have a number of star atlases but the Cambridge Double Star atlas shows a huge number of doubles with their 'named' reference printed on the map - Struve etc. If you look at the list of 200 most beautiful doubles, mentioned above, it is so easy to find them on this atlas because they are all marked.

So I think this is a great atlas for double star viewing. The book by Sissy Haas contains info on 2000+ doubles and is for reference only.

I only use the Cambridge atlas for doubles and use my other atlases for DSO viewing.

Mark

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I like the idea that I am pointing to a star, not a patch of sky where something may be, and I'll be able to see that there is a star so that even if I can't resolve the double I know I'm looking in the right place (if I can read a star chart properly;)).

I also (probably) won't go looking for objects with too low a surface brightness to see with my scope/skies. This is one of the problems I have with DSOs, together with that slight disappointment when I do find them. If I want to do DSOs in a manner satisfactory to me then I think I would have to do long exposure astrophotography* and I'm not ready for that yet :D

Doubles I can have a go at with any scope/finder, and I like that.

* This is my own current opinion only and has no bearing on reality or what I may think tomorrow :hello2:

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I find that keeping on feeding the addiction is the only way.... I've actually been dreaming of Saturn since I saw it fir the first time last week.

This is the first year ever I can't wait for the clocks to go back... I think I need therapy.. :hello2:

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