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I Am The Castor Master!


Jimmy Stix
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Well maybe not but I was rather chuffed that last night I was able to split Castor into a double. My first attempt at a double and I was so pleased that I was able to do it.

I just have to put in another big thumbs up here to "Turn Left At Orion", what a super book and so easy to understand with it's naked eye, finderscope and telescope drawings. Wonderful!

My first proper night out in weeks with my scope and despite the moon I was able to see that double (twice the size of our sun, ten times brighter and 45 light years away :o) and also the faint orange star close by.

Little steps maybe but big strides as far as I am concerned and a great sense of achievement.

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Well done Jimmy on your first 'split'! I too split Castor for the first time at Kielder star camp just gone... Have you tried splitting Almach in Andromeda, looks fantastic and is *currently* my favourite binary?

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All three of my favourite 'non Albireo' double stars mentioned in one thread :-). Congtrats on splitting Castor, its a lovely sight and nice feeling. Requires high power dont it. I too recommend having a gander at the Alcor/Mizar system

Matt

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Thanks for all the congrats messages and the heads up on where to go next.

I actually managed the split with the SW 25mm (which I was very suprised about!) which in my MAK gives me a mag of only x60. I was beginning to think my scope was only good for planets, the moon and a few of the brighter nebulae but I am so glad that I have found it performs well on stars too.

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I love reading posts like this.. I saw Saturn last night for the first time through binoculars and thought "Ooooooh! Planet!"

Think about it for a second.. in the whole of human history the amount of people who actually had the chance to know what they were seeing has been TINY. In years gone by the common man probably didn't have a huge chance at education in Astronomy, that was probably left for the gentry.

Then the first person to actually see anything beyond what the naked eye could see was Gallileo in 1609.

The percentage of people in the history of the world who have not only had the ability but also the inclination to look up and 'split' a double star is absolutely miniscule..

Do you feel special yet? course you do.. you did the minute you split the star :o

Edited by Ianladd
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GazofCorra,

Although apparently single points of light most stars are actually 'double stars' (two separate stars or 'components') that orbit each other. When I say 'most' I'm not sure of the ratio, however I know that our Sun being a single star is 'unusual' in this way.

Double stars are also known as 'binary stars' or 'binary systems' and are made up of 2 (or more) components. The example I give is Almaak in Andromeda which looks like a single red / orange star however when viewed under magnification through a telescope its possible to see both the red giant and its companion white dwarf, a fantastic sight, and it is this visual separation which is termed 'splitting a double'.

Another example mentioned in this thread is Mizar, the second star in the 'handle of the plough' in Ursa Major, which is actually a double star with its companion being called Alcor. It is said that a long time ago Arabian armies tested their troops eyesight by checking to see if they could see (without any visual aid) both Mizar and Alcor.

Both Almaak and Mizar are examples which could be deemed 'easy to split' due to the distance (or degrees of separation) between their component stars, with more difficult doubles having less distance between them requiring higher power magnification. I'm sure I am not the only one that finds this type of challenge both addictive and rewarding!

HTH

Neill

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I like Iota Casseapeia, a triple star with nice size differences between the stars.

me too - it's a beaut.

I had a look at Delta Geminorum last night which is a lovely double, a bit like a yellower Polaris (yes, of course also a nice double). Another one is Rigel of course over in Orion. Great fun when the moon's up as they are relatively unaffected.

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me too - it's a beaut.

I had a look at Delta Geminorum last night which is a lovely double, a bit like a yellower Polaris (yes, of course also a nice double). Another one is Rigel of course over in Orion. Great fun when the moon's up as they are relatively unaffected.

Ooh, I hadn't thought of doubles as a full moon persuit, good idea.

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GazofCorra,

Although apparently single points of light most stars are actually 'double stars' (two separate stars or 'components') that orbit each other. When I say 'most' I'm not sure of the ratio, however I know that our Sun being a single star is 'unusual' in this way.

Double stars are also known as 'binary stars' or 'binary systems' and are made up of 2 (or more) components. The example I give is Almaak in Andromeda which looks like a single red / orange star however when viewed under magnification through a telescope its possible to see both the red giant and its companion white dwarf, a fantastic sight, and it is this visual separation which is termed 'splitting a double'.

Another example mentioned in this thread is Mizar, the second star in the 'handle of the plough' in Ursa Major, which is actually a double star with its companion being called Alcor. It is said that a long time ago Arabian armies tested their troops eyesight by checking to see if they could see (without any visual aid) both Mizar and Alcor.

Both Almaak and Mizar are examples which could be deemed 'easy to split' due to the distance (or degrees of separation) between their component stars, with more difficult doubles having less distance between them requiring higher power magnification. I'm sure I am not the only one that finds this type of challenge both addictive and rewarding!

HTH

Neill

Neill thank you for taking the time to explain that to me, i will now go and read up on binaries, red giants and white dwarfs.

So much to learn :o

BTW...sorry for butting in on your thread jimmy and congratulations.

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A good sighting. Castor is indeed a lovely double.

I'd never been particularly interested in doubles till I stumbled across Beta Monocerotis quite by accident whilst scanning the skies. An absolutely stunning triple system. Worth checking out before it disappears for the season. I now attempt as many really close doubles to push the scope, collimation and seeing to its limits.

It's worth downloading the Washington Double Star Catalogue for use in Carte du Ciel. I use it for finding some of the more obscure ones. There are a lot of them out there to keep you busy.

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BTW...sorry for butting in on your thread jimmy.

Hey, no worries! That's what the forum is all about surely. Prompting discussion and development of a theme. You were totally on topic with your question and it has led other members to provide even more info for me to digest and advice to take. :o

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It's worth downloading the Washington Double Star Catalogue for use in Carte du Ciel. I use it for finding some of the more obscure ones. There are a lot of them out there to keep you busy.

Is there a link anywhere on how to do this?

I have downloaded WDS2006.5.exe from The Way I See It > Washington Double Star Catalog 2006.5 and installed it. It has created this folder: C:\Program Files\Ciel\cat\ which contains lots of .dat files.

Now however, I can't see how to make Cartes du Ciel use this data.

Cheers,

Chris

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Is there a link anywhere on how to do this?

I have downloaded WDS2006.5.exe from The Way I See It > Washington Double Star Catalog 2006.5 and installed it. It has created this folder: C:\Program Files\Ciel\cat\ which contains lots of .dat files.

Now however, I can't see how to make Cartes du Ciel use this data.

Cheers,

Chris

It's a long time since I set it up but if I remember rightly, you go in to Setup > Catalog > Add. Then you direct it to the location of the catalogue. I think you also need to go into Setup > Catalog > CdC Stars and tick the 'Washington Double Star' box.

The file path for my data is C:\Program Files\Ciel\cat\wds and the folder contains loads of files numbered 01.dat, 02.dat, etc.

Hope that makes some sort of sense!

Edited by lukebl
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