Double star observing lists

  • mykc
  • Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Main Sequence
  • Main Sequence
9 years 9 months ago #101983 by mykc
Double star observing lists was created by mykc
Dave Lillis has challenged the double star aficionados on this forum to compile an IFAS double star observers list/challenge. While there are many such lists on the web, constructing our own would be an interesting project. I have almost completed a list of "double doubles" which I will post here sometime before Christmas, and I would be interested in helping build an IFAS list of the "best" double stars. Some questions to start with:

Anyone else interested in contributing?

What criteria would be use?

How can we use the forum for a collaborative project like this?


Skywatcher 120 mm ED on a CG5 mount.
Orion UK 300mm Dobsonian

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

9 years 9 months ago - 9 years 9 months ago #101992 by stevie
Replied by stevie on topic Double star observing lists
I would certainly be interested in contributing, but we would have to decide what the criteria for inclusion will be.

Consider the two double star observing reports this week. Each has around 12 - 15 double stars listed, and they are from one obscure constellation (Lacerta), and one very small constellation (Lyra)

How many will there be in Cygnus, or Cassiopeia?

Just some questions which occur to me, no doubt there will be others.

How big should the list be?. Should we have just one list, maybe top 200, or several lists, by season?

Who will the list be aimed at? Beginners, or more experienced. Should we have two lists? Could we add it/ them to the observing challenges?

Should we have a rule that the actual double star must have been observed by the person who submits it? There's no point in just making a list from Mullaney or the WDC. Should the observer describe the double star with their report?

What other info should be supplied (RA/DEC, position angle etc?) . Or would that be too complicated?

Should we split the constellations up between the people who are going to compile the list, and pick the best 5 or 10 doubles in each?

There can be as many as are interested in doing so actually compiling reports, but we are going to need an editor (or a small committee) to whittle it all down to the final list.

One final thought. Does anyone ever look at the observing challenges? Is it about time we updated them, and encouraged people to do them? Maybe have an award for those who complete a challenge, or partially complete one? We have a Messier observing challenge on the NIAAS website, although I have to constantly remind people about it and ask them to update their records.
Last edit: 9 years 9 months ago by stevie.
The following user(s) said Thank You: lunartic_old, mykc

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

9 years 9 months ago - 9 years 9 months ago #101993 by lunartic_old
Replied by lunartic_old on topic Double star observing lists
Personally speaking, I believe that it should be a list that has actually been observed by the contributor, there are many constellations that I have not observed, Cetus, Cepheus, etc., therefore, I would not be in a position to recommend anything from these constellations.

Initially the list should be aimed at beginners, we want to attract observers to double stars, there is no point in suggesting a pair of 10th mag. white stars with a separation of 2". We want the showpiece pairs to really get people hooked, Albireo, Izar, etc., a second list can be compiled at a later date if there is a desire for one.

200 doubles is more than enough for a first list, 50 from each season. Colours, magnitudes, separation and co-ordinates should be included, we should lay off the OBAFGKM classification, simply saying a yellow and blue pair will suffice. Stating the type of equipment that the double can be split using might be useful, naked eye, binoculars or telescope, it may say requires a telescope, but you can guarantee someone will split them with binoculars. :)

To borrow from two other forums, The Astronomical League and The Astronomy Forum, the former offers a certificate and badge for the completion of certain lists, okay, the badge might be out, but a certificate can be arranged. The latter also offer challenges and they list a members successful challenges on their site next to the member's name and avatar, again, I'm sure the computer boffins can arrange this.

A member taking up the challenge will have to provide proof of their observations, again, a template can be devised where the information is added along with a sketch, I can hear the cries of despair, a sketch? :bigshock: Come on guys, it's easy to draw doubles, their just dots. B)

I would be more than happy to contribute to the compilation of such a list and help in any way possible.


Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.

Rich Cook
Last edit: 9 years 9 months ago by lunartic_old. Reason: Speling, oops! spelling.
The following user(s) said Thank You: mykc

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

9 years 9 months ago #101994 by RandomPillars
Replied by RandomPillars on topic Double star observing lists
I've no real experience with doubles apart from casually observing a couple of the obvious ones. But id love to get into it and to have a reference point here and a challenge- that would be excellent. Ill help out, of course, if I can.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

9 years 9 months ago #101996 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Double star observing lists
Hey Guys,
For those who mightn't have seen them before, IFAS have a binocular + novice + messier challenges on the front page, this then would the fourth such IFAS catalog. You can have a look there for inspiration.

Whatever way it is done, it has to be easy to use and follow in the field.
There is a wealth of binary/multiple star reports and knowledge here, it would be a shame to leave it scattered across the forums, it should be put together.

If it was me, I'd list them by constellation, so that's about 50 constellations as seen from Ireland, the vast majority of the constellations you could do in one A4 page. how the constellations are ordered is detail for the authors to decide, probably by RA/season,same thing really..

Each binary/multiple star should have the following
1, name, bayer letter, number or whatever catalog would be useful + spectral classification (OBAFGKM..)
2, RA\DEC co-ordinates for those who don't have goto.
3, its description (and separation estimate if possible) as seen by the observer, stating the equipment used and seeing conditions and date, the persons initials could be at the end of the description for credit, the initials/names could be listed in the first page or so.
4, some context such as orbital period, are they opening/closing or any first observed historical info would be interesting, if there was room for it.
5, either on the same page or the facing page, have fov circles for diagrams that could be drawn by the observer, it doesn't take much to draw double stars lol

As you go down the page, they stars get harder to split or observe. This shouldn't be a copy and paste exercise from other catalogs (except for section 4 maybe), it would be far more useful for the description to have been seen by the authors.

Even if only 200 doubles/multiples were initially done, more stars can be added later in further revisions.

That's it really, simple and easy to use in the field.

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

9 years 9 months ago #102134 by stevie
Replied by stevie on topic Double star observing lists
I had been thinking about this again, and decided to have a look at the challenges already in place on the Home page. Turns out, I can't get access to any of them, they all show that an error has occurred.

Any chance we could get this fixed?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.120 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum