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Midnight Double Delights


SuburbanMak
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Headed out for the Cancer & Bootes "Full Moon Doubles Match" I'd originally planned for last Friday & that time ended up abandoning due to scrappy seeing , wind & the onset of rain. 

All observations with SW Mak 127 on AZ GTi, Baader Zoom 8-24mm via Tak prism. 

Transparency good but a little high mistiness & locally occasional ground mist from the river. Temp around 5 degrees, air quite still. 

Aligned Arcturus & Capella.

Seeing excellent - steady Airy discs and diffraction cones above 30 degrees altitude. 

Spent some time looking around for & sketching the Cass Nova area, not sure I saw it as M52 not really apparent in the moonlight. Identified a possible candidate in the starfield but needs another look & maybe when better dark adapted/less moon. 

Castor (Sep: 3.9")- Clean-split white-blue pair with 18mm (83x). Southerly star the larger of the two. Lovely stable view- steady Airy discs with diffraction rings. Confirmed excellent seeing. 

Iota Cancri (Sep: 30.6") - very pretty, wide-spaced, side by side pair. Split with 24mm from 63x. Orange primary, white/blue secondary. Super view at 16mm *94x). Stable Airy discs. 

Tegmine, Zeta Cancri (Sep: 6" & 1.1") - Split to 2 stars with 24mm (63x). Peanut shape on B/C revealed at 120x and definitely resolving as 2 faint secondaries with 8mm @ 188x. Overlapping cones/rings but quite distinct central discs. B at 7 o'clock to A. C at 5 o'clock to B, (RACI).  Seeing must be really good as splitting the secondary is right on the optical limits of the rig at 1.1".   

(Chuffed with both the prism purchase - this was essentially why I upgraded - and the fact that I've clearly got lots of astronomy mileage in the Baader Zoom before that department needs upgrading! ) 

Spent a long time on Tegmine savouring the 83 year old view. Dragged myself away & turning north east the moon was casting long gothic shadows through a low mist, spilling across the field toward me at knee height from the river. Felt like the set of the Thriller video...

Aligned back on Arcturus for Bootes orientation - so bright. Golden yellow sun. Lovely. 

Espilon Bootes, Izar  (Sep: 2.9" ) - Split at 8mm, 188x. Once identified could see dialled back to 120x. Brighter yellow primary, smaller bluer second - looked "behind" the other. In each other's cones but distinct. Found it initially quite challenging. 

Xi Bootes (Sep 7") - Split from 24mm, 63x. Off white primary, small orange secondary at 11 o'clock. Quite lovely. 

Tawny Owl hooting now to go with the moonlit mist. River mist actually has cleared somewhat. Auriga to West hanging spectacularly. Can hear the town clocks striking midnight across the fields, so still. Gorgeous night. 

Kappa Bootis (Sep:13.5") - white pair, larger primary, second at 10 o'clock. Also, a pretty trapezium due South, top R corner pair may be double itself. (Confirmed yes, is Iota Bootes (Sep 38.7), with a slightly wider field this would be a double-double). 

Mu Bootis - Alkalurops (Sep: 108.9 & 2.2") - Wide spaced initial pair, both white. Dim second is at 7 o'clock, maybe double? Shielded moonlight from EP & yes quite sure of it - C faint and at 2 o'clock to B, resolves at 8mm (188x). Clean separation & once achieved almost easier to see with these fainter stars. Another fab one this! 

39 Bootis (Sep: 2.7") quite close white pair at 5 o'clock.

Struve 1825 (Sep: 4.4) - faint white second at 7o'clock. Clean space between. Lies about 1 fov N of Arcturus (just over a degree). 

 

Tired by now I blew out any slight night vision I had by looking at the crinkliest bit of moon I could find, up to max power (428x, 8MM Barlowed x2.25)  - turned out to be Mare Crisium region. Views were astonishingly crisp up to c 340x. Apparently there was a TLP square thing I could have seen, certainly enjoyed the shadows from the mountains there and, childishly, the fact that there is one crater named after an Enterprise Captain & another called "Lick" (I know, Jean Picard was a seventeenth century French astronomer...) 

A few final equipment notes:

Telrads dew up really fast. Astrozap shields really do work. Redlight filter for iPhone applied in Accessibility settings & toggled from main control key makes a big difference, no more app alerts popping up with blinding effect!  

Hometime for a celebratory cup of tea (well it was a school night after all).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by SuburbanMak
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4 minutes ago, John said:

Great report - the seeing was 1st class last night :thumbright:

Thanks John - not looking too bad up there right now either, although I'm shattered, stayed out waaay longer than I intended to last night :) 

 

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Excellent report, very detailed. Looks like you had a really successful night and you’re right, the red IPhone filter is invaluable, I only found it myself last year after being blinded on numerous occasions, mid session, by the football score updates!!

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19 minutes ago, SuburbanMak said:

.... although I'm shattered, stayed out waaay longer than I intended to last night :) 

 

Yep - when things are going well, time just slips by :smiley:

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20 minutes ago, Jiggy 67 said:

Excellent report, very detailed. Looks like you had a really successful night and you’re right, the red IPhone filter is invaluable, I only found it myself last year after being blinded on numerous occasions, mid session, by the football score updates!!

Cheers - yes, a combination of the red filter, minimum brightness & dark mode absolutely make it dim enough to be usable. 

Last night I took out a couple of photos of pages of the Cambridge Star Atlas & was able to hop between those, Synscan and my notes.

Still juggling my notebook, pencil, specs & headtorch for sketches however - maybe there's an app for that too....

 

 

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16 minutes ago, SuburbanMak said:

Maybe just a quick go at Sirius tonight, and so it goes...

Worth a go with seeing conditions good currently and the separation more or less at it's max. I split it last night with the ED120. I'm going to have a go with the 100mm tonight :smiley:

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28 minutes ago, John said:

I'm going to have a go with the 100mm tonight :smiley:

I’d be interested in how you get on, I’m using my ED100 at the moment, as has become my habit with a full/ish moon and I’ve never split Sirius 

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Just now, Jiggy 67 said:

I’d be interested in how you get on, I’m using my ED100 at the moment, as has become my habit with a full/ish moon and I’ve never split Sirius 

I've not yet done it convincingly with the Tak FC100 F/9. Maybe tonight ?. Quite a bit of thin cloud about currently though, hope it clears off :rolleyes2:

 

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50 minutes ago, SuburbanMak said:

Last night I took out a couple of photos of pages of the Cambridge Star Atlas & was able to hop between those, Synscan and my notes.

Do you have SkySafari, CDSA is available as an observers list

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4 hours ago, Jiggy 67 said:

I’d be interested in how you get on, I’m using my ED100 at the moment, as has become my habit with a full/ish moon and I’ve never split Sirius 

Clouded out more or less 100% tonight, so no "Pup" star :rolleyes2:

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1 hour ago, John said:

Clouded out more or less 100% tonight, so no "Pup" star :rolleyes2:

Yep, contrary to a good forecast, it’s been pretty similar here but it’s forecast good for the next few nights so at some point I will be having a go. Hope it’s the same for you John 

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15 hours ago, John said:

Clouded out more or less 100% tonight, so no "Pup" star :rolleyes2:

I had an eventful session this evening & not one I’ll forget in a hurry... 

A bit of haze had gathered over Hampshire as evening fell but seeing looked reasonably steady if not as good as last night. 

I popped over to my now normal spot in the park a bit earlier than usual & as I did so noted a group of teenagers running along the boundary of the adjacent field.  To be expected given my earlier start time & the end of lockdown - to date my park sessions have been amazingly solitary. I opted not to have any music on and maintain a bit more situational awareness than normal.  Another small group were enjoying the open air about 400 yards away and the occasional aromatic waft suggested they were perhaps sampling some kind of herbal tobacco... 

I had just set up and begun aligning on Arcturus & Capella when a very bright white light swept across the rugby pitch (don’t worry this isn’t an alien encounter story). A chap came over and asked if I’d seen four teenagers who were overdue home, I quizzed him a bit and convinced he was more Dad than vigilante told what I’d seen & took his number in case they showed again. 


To the business of the night then I turned to Sirius, flaring a bit but not too bad with periods of stability & a disc mostly separated from the mess.  

I tried a range of magnifications with the cleanest view at around 150x (Mak 127, Baader Zoom again).  I could clearly see the faint outlying stars either side & was just convincing myself that I was spotting an occasional ghost of something at around 7/8 o’clock (RACI view) on the edges of the flare when another pair of bright lights swept across the field wielded by two large approaching gentlemen. 

I closed one eye and asked politely (maybe a bit tetchily in retrospect) if they wouldn’t mind turning their lights away.
“We just need to know who you are sir” came the unmistakably constabulary reply (do they go on a course to learn that?).

I opened my other eye, and then had a nice chat with two chaps in hats, looking for the errant teenagers. 
Having promised to call 101 if I spotted the abscondees again they went on their way, followed a decent interval later by the other group of herbal cigarette enthusiasts who had fallen understandably quiet during my exchange with Hampshire’s finest. 
Night vision shot I turned back to the eyepiece and with Sirius’s flare temporarily eclipsed by the effect of the coppers’ lamp saw a trailing ghost of a secondary star at around 7/8 o’clock exactly where I’d had a hint before. I can’t quite work out the positions but am pretty certain based on recent observation of other doubles & past views of Rigel. Bizarre. 
I looked a while longer and it was in & out then tried Barlowing  up to too much magnification - I caught continued glimpses of a pale white spot in the same position but overall the view with the Barlow was not great with lots of coloured flaring. 
In the end it got hazier & I turned to other targets, back to Tegmine which tonight I could resolve but not clearly split the B&C pair.  Polaris was lovely - another faint ghost but with nice dark separation between. 
View of the night though was Mizar a nice bright white pair, slightly smaller secondary and Alcor & another faint star below making a fab field. 


Hopefully all those that were on the loose are now safely home - for me a slightly odd but I think (fairly sure) successful session! 

 

 

 

 

Edited by SuburbanMak
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What a night !

Well done for keeping focused on astronomy despite all those distractions !

I'm lucky that I do all my observing from my back garden so, apart from the odd bat and hedgehog, it's all quiet out there.

 

Edited by John
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UPDATE: After a steward’s inquiry it seems the Pup was not in fact spotted this time.  I’m blaming my brush with the law, lord knows what I was actually seeing there - dust, blue lights before the eyes or maybe the effect of those “special cigarettes” drifting across the park.
Either way, it’s nice to have something to aim for... 

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14 minutes ago, SuburbanMak said:

UPDATE: After a steward’s inquiry it seems the Pup was not in fact spotted this time.  I’m blaming my brush with the law, lord knows what I was actually seeing there - dust, blue lights before the eyes or maybe the effect of those “special cigarettes” drifting across the park.
Either way, it’s nice to have something to aim for... 

If it is any consolation, I have yet to spot it in over 20 years of observing!

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23 hours ago, Jiggy 67 said:

Do you have SkySafari, CDSA is available as an observers list

@Jiggy 67 I do & have attempted to have it control the mount via SynScan but haven’t been able to make it work. Keyed a lot of these into SynScan as user objects - find the the GoTo very handy for this on moon washed nights when starhopping is tougher. 

Edited by SuburbanMak
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I don’t use it to control the scope but I find it really useful for planning my nights observing. I can use the existing lists or create new ones just for that night, all on the phone rather than use books etc. the only paper I use is my log book to note my obs. The next day I update all my previous nights obs on SkySafari (desktop version) from the log book notes. It really is the only thing I need, I have basically created my own database detailing all my obs, date, conditions and equipment used. The mobile and desktop versions communicate with each other so all planning done on the desktop version appears on my phone to use at the scope. Great fun!

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21 hours ago, Jiggy 67 said:

I don’t use it to control the scope but I find it really useful for planning my nights observing. I can use the existing lists or create new ones just for that night, all on the phone rather than use books etc. the only paper I use is my log book to note my obs. The next day I update all my previous nights obs on SkySafari (desktop version) from the log book notes. It really is the only thing I need, I have basically created my own database detailing all my obs, date, conditions and equipment used. The mobile and desktop versions communicate with each other so all planning done on the desktop version appears on my phone to use at the scope. Great fun!

 

I am using Stellarium and Sky Safari to plan targets but haven't yet used the observing lists in Sky Safari - manually typing R.A & Dec to SynScan User Objects is ok but a bit long winded!

 I am developing a similar routine to ours, logging my notes on the phone's Notes app then inputting to a spreadsheet the next day - the column headings on this have grown & grown but hopefully means I can sort the observations in lots of useful ways.  

 image.thumb.png.17abb9f96828caf126aec01ef12e4c95.png 

 

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