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Albireo was first, of course. I read the story in Turn Left at Orion and at a star party, one of the docents put it in his telescope for me. Back in September, I found it for myself and viewed it often before it set for the season. On another board, one of the moderators suggested epsilon Lyrae. It took a new (larger objective) telescope to achieve that. I found a few more by reading tables and lists to look for, eta Cassiopeia, for example. I accidentally found eta Piscium one night when lining up Mars. It just looked like a binary. So, I noted the time and approximate location and looked it up later. I am not interesting in pursuing 100 binaries for the Astronomical League certificate. I am interested in knowing some easy targets that I can demonstrate when we get back to public outreach. (My local club is pretty big that: one a week is easy; we've done three in a week a few times.) Anyway, here are the out-takes from my observing log. I draw a circle that is proportional to my field of view and I use a millimeter rule with both eyes open to help keep the distances approximately correct. After I scan the page into a JPEG, I annotate it.




I tried over three different nights to view epsilon Lyrae in my smaller 70mm refractor, but it just does not gather enough light. I can get the primary binary, but not the double-double. The 102 mm was fine.



Edited by mikemarotta
aspect ratii and sizes
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Christmas morning at 3:30 AM, I was out looking at Leo and the Bears. 



I already posted my views of zeta Ursa Majoris (Alcor-Mizar) and Polaris to a discussion about Polaris. So, I will not repost those here. 

I read in Parallax by Alan Hirshfeld, that it was 200 years after Galileo that William Herschel became convinced that binary stars are just that: gravitationally locked. It had been assumed that the stars were like our sun, solitary. Astronomers attempted to find a bright star and a dim star together on the theory that the brighter one was closer and could be used to measure parallax. Similarly, it was not until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that astronomers were able to categorize stars by temperature and color.  One of the initiatives of citizen science is to join AVSO (Association of Variable Star Observers). But, here, too, I believe that all stars are "variable." We just keep to the paradigm that we inherited from naked-eye views of Algol. Anyway, that's what I got from viewing binary stars.



Edited by mikemarotta
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My first double star was Algieba (Gamma Leonis) with my first telescope - the Tasco 60mm refractor. I split this into two stars (much to my amazement) at 64x magnification but it became clearer at 133x which was pretty much the max for that scope.

You never forget your "firsts" in this hobby :smiley:


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As Sissy Haas says, "double stars are among the best kept secrets in Nature". Very true. There are so many beautiful and challenging double and multiple stars that once you get hooked, it is a lifetime pursuit. Such a pity that more of us are not interested in them!

Congratulations for starting down this path...... I am a few years ahead, but still a beginner!


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