Christmas Eve observations 2019

6 months 1 week ago - 6 months 1 week ago #108089 by flt158
Christmas Eve observations 2019 was created by flt158
Good evening, everyone.
I wish you all a very happy new year!
But before 2020 begins let me share with you some observations from Christmas Eve 24th December 2019 from 8.15 to 10 pm. Sky conditions had hugely improved since 5.30 to 6.30 pm. Earlier in the evening all the double stars were a complete mush. 

As you all know I own a William Optics 158 mm F/7 apochromatic refractor and a William Optics 70 mm F/6 small apo. Both are supported on a Berlebach Planet altazimuth mount. Mirror diagonals are fitted to both scopes.
My north is to the left. My east is straight up.

Each of these celestial objects can be found in Cassiopeia.
All my figures can be checked on www.stelledoppie.it
That is except the carbon stars

1. Here's an easy starter: Alpha Cassiopeiae, also called Schedar, is an optical double star with magnitudes 2.4 and 9. The separation is 70.4". The PA is 283 degrees. The primary is yellow. Both stars are easily visible at 40X. It looks very fine indeed at low power.

2. Eta Cassiopeiae has one of those new names which was issued in 2017 by the Working Group on Star Names (WGSN). Achird has magnitudes 3.5 and 7.4. The separation is 13.4". The PA is 326 degrees. The colours are truly magnificent! I make them out to be yellow and almond brown. The spectral classes are G1 and M. Both stars are split well at 40X. But those colours are stunning at 140X and even higher. Achird is my favourite 4th magnitude double star and it is a true binary. The separation is very slowly widening and the PA is increasing.

3. I returned to W Cassiopeiae which is a good orange carbon star and discovered that it had faded - down to 9.6 magnitude in fact. It means if has faded by 0.6 magnitude in 8 days. Amazing! I did record it on www.aavso.org
4. WZ Cassiopeiae is part of that quadruple system STTA 254. The magnitudes are 7.4, 8.3, 9.6 and 10.4. The separations are 57.8", 155.4" and 181.4". The PA's are 89, 324 and 118 degrees. WZ is the brightest star and it is a very distinctive orange star. The secondary is blue. It is a most wondrous star field. Each star is probably an optical. They appear to have different distances from Earth.

5. I must return to this next double star in 2020. It appears I have judged the secondary's colour incorrectly. Stf 16 has magnitudes 7.7 and 8.8. The separation is 5.9". The PA is 41 degrees. A is white; but B I thought had an orange hue. I did have the slightest of black gaps between the 2 stars at 40X. I then increased upwards from 112X, 140X and 167X. But that secondary colour is just plain wrong. It ought to be a simple blue - white star. So the next clear night (when will that be?) I will observe it for a 2nd time. This double is probably not a true binary.
6. Near Stf 16 there is a simple but faint optical double star. ES 42 has magnitudes 8.4 and 9.4. The separation is 7.1". The PA is 207 degrees. Both stars nicely split at 112X. ES stands for Reverend Thomas Espin.
7. Very close by is an even easier optical double star. HDS 44 has magnitudes 9 and 10.3. The separation is 12.3". The PA is 38 degrees. I split it at 40X and 112X. HDS stands for Hipparcos Catalogue.
8. Lastly I finish with a real winner when it comes to carbon stars. NQ Cassiopeiae is now my favourite carbon in the "W". I observed it at 40X, 112X, 140X and 167X. Its magnitude was 9.5. I describe the colour as rich deep orange. It is my observed 5th carbon star in Cassiopeia of 2019. I am aiming to observe a few more carbons within the confines of Cassiopeiae during January 2020.

And on that note I wish you all a Truly Happy New Year and clear skies for 2020!

Comments are always welcome.
Thank you for reading.

Kind regards from Aubrey.
The following user(s) said Thank You: michael_murphy, Fermidox, Until_then-Goodnight!

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

6 months 1 week ago - 6 months 1 week ago #108090 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Christmas Eve observations 2019
Hi Aubrey, 

I hope all is well with you, and very many thanks for submitting another great observational report for us to read. I really do enjoy reading them. What's more, it seems that the time you've spent in and around Cassiopeia over the past while was time well spent - five carbon stars now! 

As for W Cassiopeiae, it's incredible to read about how its magnitude changed so quickly. On that note, how does one measure star magnitude over a given time frame? Is specialist equipment needed?

Also, NQ Cassiopeiae sounds delightful. You really have made a solid case for us to take closer look at this area of the night sky. I can't wait to revisit Cassiopeia in the New Year. 

With that in mind, may I wish you and yours a healthy and happy New Year. 

Kindest regards and clear skies, 

Darren. 
 
The following user(s) said Thank You: flt158

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

6 months 1 week ago #108092 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Christmas Eve observations 2019
Hello, my friend Darren.
No -we don't have to use any specialist equipment at all.
We simply use our eyes.
But I very much use my Guide 9.1 DVD to study the individual magnitudes of the nearby stars which surround such carbon stars.
It takes quite a bit of patience to figure them.
Most carbon stars are variable and it can be a real test to discover the true magnitudes of any of them.
www.aavso.org is serious variable star website.
Many amateur astronomers throughout the world use it.
I will be glad to fill you in with more details if you can find a way to log yourself in first.

Clear skies from Aubrey.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Until_then-Goodnight!

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

6 months 1 week ago - 6 months 1 week ago #108093 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Christmas Eve observations 2019
Good morning Aubrey, 

Very many thanks for your message. Since you first suggested that I keep a log of what I observe, I created a small log book to record my sessions. This activity has added a great deal of enjoyment to the hobby for me. So, I am keen to check out the website you mention. I reckon it will be a while before I submit my own observations of variable stars to the organisation though. I would anticipate one needs a great deal of experience observing variable stars first.

As a new year's resolution I could perhaps begin to observe some variable stars throughout 2020 as way to introduce myself to the exercise. From recent posts it seems like Betelgeuse might be a good one start with, but I'm always open to other suggestions.

As I begin to develop the skill of observing variable stars I could even compare my observations of it with other aavso submissions.  And when I get to the stage of interacting with the website I'll be sure to let you know.

Thanks again Aubrey for showing me another way of enhancing amateur astronomy: you're a wonderful ambassador for this great hobby. 

Through our interactions, I've come to realise that there is no end to the learning process of amateur astronomy, and that's a good thing in my eyes! Thanks to you and rest of the guys here I've learned so much over the past year. 

And speaking of the past year, I see you've posted your favourite objects of 2019 - looking forward to reading about them (and other reports from fellow IFAS members) later today. Sure, I might even post my own list too! 

Kindest regards, 

Darren. 
The following user(s) said Thank You: flt158

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

6 months 1 week ago #108094 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Christmas Eve observations 2019
Hello, Darren.
Your continued enthusiasm is second to none!
Recently I did purchase my new 2020 diary.
So I am ready for the next 366 days.

Do take your time in regards to logging yourself on www.aavso.org
It is quite complex to do so. (Well it was for me).
Don't be afraid of estimating magnitudes of any variable star.
You are a guy who is full of confidence in life anyway.

Betelgeuse is an excellent star to start with.
Amateur astronomers on www.cloudynights.com are giving loads of advice as to what naked eye stars we should use to figure Betelgeuse's magnitude.

By the way, users of www.aavso.org don't appear to communicate with one another too much. Our website www.irishastronomy.org and www.cloudynights.com are far better in that regard.

But the practice of estimating magnitudes of variable stars is wonderful fun.
When you start I would advise you to estimate one star at a time - even one per night at the beginning.

Clear skies from Aubrey.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Until_then-Goodnight!

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

Time to create page: 0.069 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum