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Hunting doubles in Cassiopeia


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Hello all, 

Bit of a delayed write up from a week or so ago where I was lucky enough to have three nights in five where the daytime clouds cleared up in the very late evening. 

I had a short session earlier in the week, essentially testing out the Gitzo/Scopetech Zero/102ED F7 combo in earnest once I had the opportunity, and repeated some targets from my previous session (M13, M57, doubles in Lyra). I've pretty much got the balance etc all sorted out, but sadly going from Bortle 5 to Bortle 7/8 meant the targets were less impressive! The bright moon was also not helping. My selection of EPs mainly used for these sessions were an Aero ED 35mm giving 20x for searching, Morpheus 17.5mm giving 41x, Pentax XW 10mm giving 71x and a Morpheus 4.5mm giving 159x.

After a bit of discussion here about combating LP, I started the next night testing out both my OIII and UHC filters on M57 to see if there was much improvement and found that my Pentax XW 10mm at 71x plus the OIII gave the best combination of background darkness, contrast and detail - with the drawback of making everything green. 

My next target was M29 in Cygnus at 41x, a new target for me. Unfortunately it was quite faint with only the main handful of stars visible. I spent a short time trying to get a bit more detail and then moved on NGC 6910 which suffered a similar fate. 

About to go to my next target, I suddenly realised that ISS was passing, and managed to swing my scope round and bag it, then follow it for maybe 20 seconds just moving the scope with my hand. First time I've ever done that, very happy! At 41x I was able to make out the rough shape as an irregular blob with 'ears'.

On my way over to Cassiopeia I tried for Caroline's Rose Cluster but could not make it out. Unsurprising as I've only ever seen it under much darker skies. 

The rest of my targets were all doubles (or triples). I started with Eta cas which I split at 71x. The primary was an off white, with a further dull white secondary. 

Searching around for Sigma cas, I pushed magnification up to 159x but seeing was a bit wobbly, and felt I couldn't make anything out. I then realised I was actually looking at the wrong star! 

Trying again and finding it this time, I felt I could see an elongated oval at 41x, and then definitely split at 159x; at this point it was very clearly two stars.

On to Struve 163 which my surprise was easily split at a mere 20x! I cycled through FLs up to 71x with to see a clear colour difference - orange primary, and blueish secondary.

Iota cas was the most challenging - definitely one other component at 41x, and more separation at 71x but still no third component. This then popped clearly into view at 159x. I remember exclaiming out loud in the dark at this moment. A pure white primary, the B component closest to the side was an orange-yellow, with a clearly blue C component to the bottom of the triplet. The A component was not visible but I understand this may not be possible even with giant telescopes and perfect seeing. 

It's hard not to be in awe looking at the three suspended together and remembering what you're actually looking at - I even said "Tiny suns!" to myself. Both remarkable and humbling, for such miniscule objects. 

 

On that high note, I packed up for the night, happy with my endeavours!

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14 minutes ago, wookie1965 said:

Brilliant cracking read and some great objects thanks for posting. 

Thanks @wookie1965, I've been really enjoying doubles of late and it's nice to have targets which are easily obtainable under skies with heavy LP. 

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20 minutes ago, badhex said:

Thanks @wookie1965, I've been really enjoying doubles of late and it's nice to have targets which are easily obtainable under skies with heavy LP. 

Yes doubles and clusters are the only things I go for now from home. Going the Lake District in a few weeks for a weekend hoping get clear skies there. 

Paul 

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10 minutes ago, wookie1965 said:

Yes doubles and clusters are the only things I go for now from home. Going the Lake District in a few weeks for a weekend hoping get clear skies there. 

Paul 

Got my fingers crossed for you Paul! 

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1 hour ago, Pixies said:

Great report. Iota Cas is my favourite multiple star.

Thanks Pixies. Iota Cas is a good one! I've read a number of articles and posts of people saying the same thing. I'm reasonably new to hunting out multiples so my list is very short, but this certainly ranks quite highly for me too. 

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5 minutes ago, badhex said:

Thanks Pixies. Iota Cas is a good one! I've read a number of articles and posts of people saying the same thing. I'm reasonably new to hunting out multiples so my list is very short, but this certainly ranks quite highly for me too. 

I have quite a few lists for double and multiple stars give me a pm if you want any.

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