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Walking on the Moon

HR 8281 & more


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At ten to three I looked up from the scope and noticed a bit of a light dome in the North, North East. They're bright lights I thought, where'd they come from? I then realised it was the Sun not far below the horizon. Another reminder of Summer, I'd come out in shirt sleeves at about 1.30 after driving back from some friends. The street lights had just gone out, and the earlier showers had washed the sky, and it looked unusually dark and mostly clear. Jane wanted to watch Dr Who, so out came the 10", much later than I'd normally observe. The quietness of the warm summer night was only broken by the croaking frogs. It was lovely :)

My evening was mostly a tour of old favourites, but after a short look at the Garnet Star I remembered a nice star system in the heart of Elephant Trunk Nebular nearby.

I always enjoy looking at HR8281. It looks like a bright, tight, triple star but facing a bright double star on the opposite side of the eyepiece. The rest of the fov being very dark with a smattering of other stars. The two main components orbit each other every 3.7 days according to galactic wiki. I'm not sure which one this is, but It's not known if the third is gravitationally related,but they do describe it as a hierarchical triple star system. They give off a solar wind traveling at over 3000 km per second which is some draft, and it's they're ultra violet radiation that gives off the ionised gasses that form the Elephant Trunk Nebular. So although I couldn't see the nebular this night, I did see its cause  -:) They are massive stars, the main one giving off 64000 times more energy than our sun, which reminds me why I find the Garnet Star so interesting.

I always imagine a garnet as being deep red but when I view this star, although it is a truly unique colour, it's more of a deep brownie yellow to me, or dirty gold. No matter, it's a fascinating star to me because of its massive size. In the eyepiece it's tiny, but if placed where our sun is, it would extend midway between the orbits of Saturn & Jupiter. Mind boggling, as so many things up there are!

I'd had another view of the witches broom with the OIII, prompted by the recent Lumicon thread. Not so detailed as others report but clear enough all the same. The dumbbell had been nice but not as in "in your face" as it is in the 16", other sights included Albireo, Cyg 61 and of course the ring :)  

It was a lovely hour or so of unscheduled viewing, at the darkest summer time, in my usually light polluted back garden. I hope others had a chance to get out as well. Thanks for reading.

Clear Skies all.

Edited by Scooot
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6 minutes ago, alan potts said:

Nice report Richard, many years ago I was doing a walk across the N Yorks Moors, 39 miles of it. 2.30 it was starting to get light on 21st June, it didn't actually get dark until gone 11.00pm.


Thanks Alan. It took me a bit by surprise, I knew it rose just after 4 but hadn't given any thought to the long dawn.

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