Observations - 02/01/21

2 weeks 1 day ago #109883 by flt158
Observations - 02/01/21 was created by flt158
Hello everyone.

Despite the freezing 0 degrees Celsius conditions with an even more freezing slight breeze (which was decreasing) I did venture out with many layers of clothing on me for nearly 2 hours on Saturday 2nd January 2021 - from 16.45 to 18.30 UT. My William Optics 158 mm apochromatic refractor was used to seek out some celestial gems from my back garden.

All figures can be checked out on www.stelledoppie.it

1.Whilst Vega was barely visible with my eyes in the northwestern sky I started by looking for its 2 optical companions. Magnitudes: A = +0.1. B = 9.5. E = 9.5. C isn't visible at all and for some strange reason there is no D. Separations = 83.7" and 86.6". PA's = 184 and 39 degrees. Of course I have observed B and E many times over the years. But it's almost a tradition for me to see if I can still make them out. I'm also not particularly good at making out the blue colour of some stars. But I am very grateful I can still see the blue-white hue of Vega sufficiently well and all 3 stars were visible at 40X and 112X.

2. Is there an amateur astronomer who does not know Epsilon 1,2 Lyrae - even one who doesn't admire double stars? I have known both these true binaries since I first observed them in 1977 with a homemade 6" reflector. I split them all those years ago at precisely 100X. The northerly pair Epsilon 1 Lyrae is otherwise called STF 2382. Magnitudes: A = 5.2. B = 6.1. Sep = 2.3". PA = 344 degrees. Epsilon 2 Lyrae is called STF 2383. Magnitudes: A = 5.3. B = 5.4. Sep = 2.4". PA = 74 degrees. Epsilon 2 is the easier to split as its 2 stars are closer in magnitude when compared to Epsilon 1. But I had no difficulty splitting both pairs at 112X using my 10 mm Pentax eyepiece. I must state no matter how many times I observe Epsilon Lyrae it still greatly arrests me and stops me in my tracks. It is such an ultimate privilege that our Earth is placed in the right place to see these 4 stars in an almost perpendicular position with the tiniest black space between both pairs. Surely there is a God who created these beauties in space. All 4 stars are white to me. And just for fun, there is an optical companion called TYC 3122 1635 1 sitting north of the double-double whose magnitude is 10.4. Therefore - No! There is not a nova occurring. Lol.

3. Zeta Lyrae is a true binary and is also called STFA 38. Magnitudes: A = 4.3. B = 5.6. Sep = 43.7". PA = 150 degrees. Effortlessly easy to split at 11X with my William Optics 70 mm F6 apo which I use as a finder scope. But to figure out its colours I increase up to 167X. Yours truly sees the primary as golden-white and the secondary as blue-white. But it's okay to differ if anyone wishes to do so. STFA stands for Wilhelm Struve supplemental catalogue.

4. STF 2380 a true binary a little bit further away from the first 3 objects I have shared with you so far. But it is relatively easy to find. Magnitudes: A = 7.3. B = 8.7. Sep = 25.5". PA = 8 degrees. Easily split at 40X of course. I found its colours to be G8 yellow and blue-white.

5. UC 240 is a true binary. Magnitudes: A = 8.9. B = 11.4. Sep = 63.6". PA = 314 degrees. I first observed these 2 stars at 112X. But I soon discovered I could see the tiny secondary at 40X. I have to state UC 240 doesn't set my life on fire. However that's no harm. I was glad I could tick it off my list. UC stands for United States Naval Observatory.

6. Finally STT 352 is a true binary which I had observed before. Magnitudes: A = 7.9. B = 9.4. Sep = 24.2". PA = 221 degrees. Easily split at 40X.

As I stated earlier the freezing slight breeze had stopped by 18.30 UT. Therefore I wasn't going to leave out the scope any longer than necessary.

The next time I am out observing I'm planning to check out Mars, Uranus and Neptune - the latter I didn't get to see in 2020.

Comments are very welcome as usual.

Clear skies from Aubrey.
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1 week 6 days ago #109887 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Observations - 02/01/21
Hello Aubrey, 

What nice observational session you had last Saturday. The area in and around Lyra is a delightful part of the night sky. So, I was delighted to read your wonderful report on it. 

That blue - white hue of Vega is striking alright, and as for the double-double: Wow! I'm not familiar with the other objects you observed, but I'd be keen to look at them, particularly NGC 2380 as the colours sound very nice. 

Best of luck with planets! 

Clear skies to you, 

Darren. 
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1 week 6 days ago #109888 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Observations - 02/01/21
Thank you, Darren, for your encouraging remarks.

You might just adjust that designation for STF 2380.
I wouldn't want to seeking out some strange deep sky object.

I have no idea as to when we are going to have the opportunity to do some observing any time soon. We appear to have so much cloud these nights. Plus there is the additional problem of zero degree temperatures.

But thankfully our sunset times are getting later by 2 minutes night after night.

I reckon I will be wearing less layers of clothing the next time I will be observing some gems in Lyra, i.e, the summer. Bring it on!!

Imagine!!

By the way, I'll have to be quick in spotting Neptune in Aquarius as soon as the Sun goes down.

Mars and Uranus are no sweat these nights.

Clear skies from Aubrey.
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1 week 5 days ago - 1 week 1 day ago #109889 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Observations - 02/01/21
Between leaving eyepieces behind me, and strange NGC designations, I'm just not safe to be let out at the moment. So, it's probably best that there are very few opportunities to get and observe the night sky : ).

Seriously though, many thanks for pointing that out as I would have been on a wild goose chase so to speak!

All the best,

Darren.
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1 week 3 days ago #109894 by Fermidox
Replied by Fermidox on topic Observations - 02/01/21
I hope all the real astronomers are out tonight :D

-5.4 here at the moment...

Finbarr.
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1 week 2 days ago #109895 by donalmcnamara
Replied by donalmcnamara on topic Observations - 02/01/21
Yes last night was super. Even though cold there was not as much dew as Thursday night. Went back to basics and the Plaedies was very pleasing and the Orion Nebula was the best I have seen.
Regards
Donal
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