New Years Night observations 2020

3 weeks 5 days ago #108109 by flt158
New Years Night observations 2020 was created by flt158
Hi everyone.
Seeing that I'm not going to see the Lunar X or V tonight, permit me to share with you all what I did observe Wednesday 1st January 2020 with my William Optics 158 mm f/7 apochromatic refractor. I could only observe from 4.45 pm till 6.30 pm. After dinner the dreaded dew arrived and a heavy mist covered the stars in Cassiopeia.
The Sun had set at 4.16 pm.

1. Epsilon 1,2 Lyrae was still invisible when I first observed directly up from Vega at 4.45 pm. Both true binaries were split at 112X. There was barely any black gap between both stars. 140X was also excellent for this magnificent pair. I always recommend splitting the double - double at the lowest magnifications first before going higher. Why not give it a try?

2. Zeta Lyrae was next. It's easy to split even in my William Optics 70 mm f/6 apochromatic refractor at a mere 11X. The magnitudes are 4.3 and 5.6. The official spectral class is A5 for the primary which suggests blue - white; and the secondary is F0 which is yellow - white. Well I thought on this occasion the primary was golden - white. Sissy Haas agrees. The secondary was yellow - white alright. The separation is wide: 43.7". The PA is 150 degrees. It is probably the last time I will observe it until the summer of 2020. Then I'll give the colours another inspection.

3. Vega itself was next. The only thing I need to report is that both its 9.5 magnitude optical companions were seen at 40X and 112X. The separation are 83.7" and 86.6". The PA's are 184 and 39 degrees.

4. Sheliak (Beta Lyrae) has been a favourite quadruple for many a long year. Robert Burnham's Celestial Handbook lists all 4 stars. It is highly possible that none of the 4 stars are in orbit around each other. But never mind! I truly love the closeness of them. The magnitudes are 3.6, 6.7, 10.1 and 10.6. The separations are 45.7", 67.2" and 86". The PA's are 149, 317 and 18 degrees. All 4 stars split at 40X. Why bother going higher?

5. Seeing I was in the area, I thought to observe M57 the famous Ring Nebula. I could see it at just 40X. But the O - ring was good to behold at 112X, 140X and 167X. I could make out that one side of the inner ring was a shade brighter.

6. Into Cygnus now. How could I resist observing Albireo? Our friend Darren (Until then Goodnight) reckons it was one of his favourite highlights of 2019. And who could disagree with that? Every January I do notice that the secondary is "straight" up from the primary - even at 11X. But to get those amazing colours 40X is excellent. 112X is a bit too much of a split. The magnitudes are 3.2 and 4.7. The separation is 34.7". The PA is 55 degrees. The spectral classes are K3 and B9. So orange and blue is what I see. It's sad to realise that both stars are now judged to be simply optical. It's not a true binary at all as once was thought. Boo hoo!

7. Delta Cygni (Rukh) is next. And what an excellent test for sky conditions it truly is. The magnitudes are 2.9 and 6.3. The separation is nearly 2.8". The PA is 215 degrees. I had no split at 112X. And at 140X I could see the secondary trying to "move" away - but again no split. Success at 167X. Superb! I found both stars are white. It is a true binary.

8. Lastly with the scope I did find Mu Cygni. It is very near western Pegasus; and it's not visible to my eyes. A guy called Pat (Plough C) challenged me to split this one about 4 years ago. Pat used to frequent this forum. If you are reading this, Pat, please send us a message. You are always very welcome! The magnitudes of Mu Cygni are 4.8 and 6.2. The separation is now less than 1.5" and getting tighter as each year passes by. The PA is 325 degrees. The spectral classes are F6 and G2. I completely agree with that. F6 is yellow white and G2 is pure yellow. And that is precisely what I saw on New Years night. The 2 stars were not quite split at 112X. And at 140X when sky conditions had improved there was a smidgen of a gap between the 2 stars. 167X and 225X gave magnificent views. The 2 stars are like 2 eyes looking back at us. And those colours are very strong. It most certainly is the best celestial object of the night.

9. But wait! Just one more thing. (I know I sound like Columbo). What's that satellite doing? And there is another and another and another. What's going on? It suddenly dawns on me. I am seeing over a dozen of those Space X Starlink satellites travelling like a long train across the sky. Has anyone seen these? It is my first time.

And on that note, I wish you all clear skies for 2020.

Thank you for reading.

Kind regards,

The following user(s) said Thank You: michael_murphy, scfahy, Until_then-Goodnight!

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3 weeks 5 days ago #108112 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic New Years Night observations 2020
Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your New Years Night Observational report Aubrey. It read so well, and it had a bit of everything in it - even part of the summer triangle, in Winter : )

I was amazed to read the range of magnitudes for the Beta Lyrae quadruple - fascinating! Also, the difference in brightness of the Ring Nebula must have looked lovely through your William Optics apochromatic reflector. And as for Albireo - what can I say - I'll always associate it with you and Mike. Such a great object to observe. 

Congratulations on splitting Mu Cygni, particularly after a four year wait.

Only today did I read about the Starlink satellites. I remembered Paul mentioning that he observed them last year, and they looked impressive in the night sky. So, I was disappointed that I missed them last night (yep, I was out too, more about that later though), but thanks to your report I got a feeling for what it must have been like to see them fly across the sky.

Clear skies and kindest regards,


The following user(s) said Thank You: flt158

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3 weeks 5 days ago #108113 by Fermidox
Replied by Fermidox on topic New Years Night observations 2020
I haven't seen the latest Starlink train Aubrey but I did see the first batch when they went up last year. Seems like there will be no shortage of opportunities to view them from now on though...
The following user(s) said Thank You: flt158, Until_then-Goodnight!

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