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Will this be the year of the Pup?


Highburymark
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I have a shameful astronomical secret that I must share. I have never seen Sirius B, the white dwarf companion to the night sky’s brightest star.
Tried many times with a 4” maksutov, 6” and 8” SCTs, and 3” and 4” fracs - and once thought I’d picked it up, but later checks confirmed I was mistaken.  
However, it is currently nearing maximum separation from its parent - up to 11.3 arc seconds. So this winter is an ideal time to finally bag the Pup. Armed with a 5” triplet, I am hoping to hunt it down, though I am at the mercy of London seeing. It would be interesting in a few months’ time to share experiences, and find out the smallest telescope that has proved capable of resolving Sirius B at this wide separation.

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There was a long running thread on this topic here on SGL which gave great experiences of trying for the pup. Always a great topic to reignite mind you. I've been attempting it for years but I'm a lot further north than your location. I'll be back at the eyepiece again this winter... 👍

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56 minutes ago, Highburymark said:

I have a shameful astronomical secret that I must share. I have never seen Sirius B, the white dwarf companion to the night sky’s brightest star.
Tried many times with a 4” maksutov, 6” and 8” SCTs, and 3” and 4” fracs - and once thought I’d picked it up, but later checks confirmed I was mistaken.  
However, it is currently nearing maximum separation from its parent - up to 11.3 arc seconds. So this winter is an ideal time to finally bag the Pup. Armed with a 5” triplet, I am hoping to hunt it down, though I am at the mercy of London seeing. It would be interesting in a few months’ time to share experiences, and find out the smallest telescope that has proved capable of resolving Sirius B at this wide separation.

Steady night, high mag and TSA 120 will give you a good chance, Mark

Edited by JeremyS
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Anybody got any tips on how to image it ??

I went for the "Planetary imaging Option", as I was doing some Solar System stuff at the time.   8"SCT, 2xPowermate and a ZWO224mc.   

Thought stacking would evenly spread out the scintillation of Sirius and hopefully reveal the Pup lurking in the glare.

Sadly not a sausage let alone a white dwarf.

I had better look at the separation data and see if this combo would actually split it.   

Has anybody succeeded with a photo on the forum ??   Could be the next SGL challenge.

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1 hour ago, Peter_D said:

Here's a useful article on observing Sirius B:

https://earthsky.org/brightest-stars/how-to-observe-sirius-b/

 

That's a useful and informative article..but do bear in mind it's diagram is based on viewing through a reflector.

If you're viewing through a refractor with diagonal, the image will be the right way up and reversed East and West.. in other words, with Sirius A at the centre of the field when due south, Sirius B will be between the 3 and 4 o'clock position.

I've observed the Pup just a couple of times, with a very fine quality Vixen ED103s 4" F7.7 apo refractor. On one of those nights it was crystal clear for seconds at a time, just like a tiny pin prick.

The seeing that night was exceptional, in Bortle 5 skies.

I now live in rural Bortle 4 skies and have a wonderful Tak FS128 apo. But we have a micro climate caused by the surrounding low hills of the Lincolnshire Wolds, and I have only once felt that I thought I saw the Pup in the past 4 years, due to local seeing conditions.

I don't think light pollution will necessarily prevent you seeing Sirius B, but I do think local seeing conditions are extremely important.

Good luck, Mark, I'm sure you will bag it with your Tak at some point!😊👍

Dave

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3 hours ago, Highburymark said:

I have a shameful astronomical secret that I must share. I have never seen Sirius B, the white dwarf companion to the night sky’s brightest star.
Tried many times with a 4” maksutov, 6” and 8” SCTs, and 3” and 4” fracs - and once thought I’d picked it up, but later checks confirmed I was mistaken.  
However, it is currently nearing maximum separation from its parent - up to 11.3 arc seconds. So this winter is an ideal time to finally bag the Pup. Armed with a 5” triplet, I am hoping to hunt it down, though I am at the mercy of London seeing. It would be interesting in a few months’ time to share experiences, and find out the smallest telescope that has proved capable of resolving Sirius B at this wide separation.

No shame Mark, I have seen it for certain only once in many attempts, with a few possibles thrown in, using my 5" f15 scope.....:smiley:

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Never seen it after trying for the last few years.
Every time I’ve looked Sirius has been too low and bubbling away like a frothy latte! 
At my latitude I think the seeing is the key to having a decent chance. 

 

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@Highburymark don’t worry, you are not alone! I’ve never seen it either in 20 plus years of observing. Previous observing locations have suffered from poor seeing and light pollution, and whilst the seeing is most important, I’m sure the LP doesn’t help when trying to pick up what is a faint star.

I shall be with you this year, trying again. I’m hopeful that with my 130mm and new location I shall have a much better chance. If not I’ll head to the coast and see if that helps.

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Good luck both @Highburymark and @Stu with it this season.

On 29th March this year, I did a little dance around the garden after seeing it for the first (and so far only) time. I was using my 14" dob and a 4mm Nirvana eyepiece and this bought it out just enough to be sure (in my 7mm it was getting lost in the glare). Admittedly, this is a large instrument, but my Southern view is through the heat and light dome of 70k people, so local conditions are not great for me. 

My son (14) who follows quite a few of my astro foibles was pretty nonplussed by my excitement at the little dot shimmering under a diffraction spike. Some things just don't translate!

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Well done @Whistlin Bob, must be a great feeling when you finally do get it! I just hope that when I do, it is clear enough to be beyond doubt. So, high power did it for you? Will have to try the Vixen 3.4mm or TOEs I guess.

It may be worth an early morning in late November/early December to try to catch it when the seeing is best ie after all the central heating has calmed down a bit.

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1 hour ago, Stu said:

 

It may be worth an early morning in late November/early December to try to catch it when the seeing is best ie after all the central heating has calmed down a bit. 

 

Great idea Stu. And thanks everyone for your excellent responses. 

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1 hour ago, Sargares said:

I’ll try with the 80mm f10 haha. Definitely have a better shot with 250p though after a good collimation I suspect but it’ll be fun to try with the Teeny tiny refractor. 

I’m the same - an f10 80mm, but I still feel i’ll have a better chance than my 8” dob. I tried last winter with that and it was just like looking at an underwater mirror ball.

 

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2 hours ago, IB20 said:

I’m the same - an f10 80mm, but I still feel i’ll have a better chance than my 8” dob. I tried last winter with that and it was just like looking at an underwater mirror ball.

 

Yeh the superior image control might allow dialling  up the magnification enough to manage it. It’s certainly within the resolving power of the scope. 

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I got the Pup star back in February this year with my 120mm refractor. Below is a sketch that I made at that time. Around that time I also spotted it a couple of times with my 100mm refractor but it was very dependent on having good and steady seeing conditions with the smaller aperture.

sirius270221.jpg.dba74663a6a3318b9a5e4ab0347dae68.jpg

 

 

Edited by John
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I find it very evening dependent. It is easier with my 180 Mak than my 80 or 100 mm fracs, although I've seen it with all three scopes and a 127 Mak on the right evening. I've tried imaging it and although the Pup does show up well, the image is nothing like the eyepiece view because the camera averages the scintillation that you see by eye. These three close doubles were imaged with my 127 Mak,- both the Pup and Zeta Her are each difficult in there own way, Polaris much easier:-

Chris

Some difficult doubles.....jpg

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