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Observations - 8/01/21

4 months 5 days ago #109898 by flt158
Observations - 8/01/21 was created by flt158
Observations 8/01/21

Good evening, one and all.

On Friday evening 8th January 2021 from 16.30 to 18.30 I was out observing with my William Optics (WO) 158 mm F/7 apochromatic refractor and its corresponding WO 70 mm f/6 small apo. It was seriously freezing even during these early evening hours. The temperatures decreased from -4 to -6˚ Celsius. I had not experienced such cold condition for many a year. Therefore plenty of outer layers was the order of my time. After all there was a slight 13 kilometre north easterly breeze which was steadily decreasing. Some years ago I did buy a very warm North Face multi layered coat for such occasions. There was no debate as to whether to wear it or not!! I wonder what the temperature was at midnight?!
Sunset occurred at 16.26 UT. Thankfully from 53 degrees north, the Sun is setting 2 minutes later each evening now.

None of these celestial wonders are first time observations for yours truly. Sadly as the constellation of Aquarius had become too low I had no opportunity to hunt down Neptune. The blue gas giant will have to wait until later in the year. I am going to try and observe each of the Solar System’s planets during 2021.

All double stars can be checked out on www.stelledoppie.it for free.

1. I started off with Mars which was invisible when I managed to find the planet with my 70 mm apo using 11X. I could see it with my own eyes at 16.52 UT alright. Its mostly yellow with the slight hint of orange colour was a non twinkling star at that low power. At 40X I did make out a small yellow disc. At 112X, I did notice an X shape in the centre. The seeing was not the best at 225X. But I could see the North Polar Hood which was white. When I came into the house I discovered I had seen Sinus Sabaeus, Mare Serpentis and Margaritifer Sinus. These darker areas were shown on Guide 9.1 DVD and www.sky&telescope.com . As there was some shimmering happening I refused to go higher in magnification. At the time, Mars was shining at a magnitude of -0.1. Its distance was a little over 145 million kms from us. Its angular diameter of a mere 9.6”. So I was very pleased to have gotten so much detail when it was so small. One other thing I should state: Its 88.7% lit gibbous phase was very evident at 167X and 225X. So much of the planet had been "chopped" away.

2. As the stars were now beginning to appear I accidentally bumped into a very strong orange star which I immediately figured was TX or 19 Piscium. This carbon star doesn’t vary much in magnitude from 4.8 to 5.2 and is part of the Pisces Circlet. I first observed TX Psc way back on the 5th January 2001 with a previous reflector. And it most certainly is one of the brightest carbons in the entire sky. On Friday night I used 11X, 40X and 112X to greatly admire its beautiful colour. Also I have a memory from the past, maybe about 3 or 4 years back, when our Moon was positioned less than 2˚ from TX Psc. Maybe we might have such a conjunction some time. The ecliptic does pass through Pisces after all.

3.It turned out I stayed within the confines of Pisces for these other 3 gems. Alrischa (Alpha Piscium) is a true binary. Magnitudes: A = 4.1. B = 5.2. Sep = 1.85”. PA = 261˚. I could the 2 stars which were not fully split at 112X. But joy was to be had at 140X and 167X. There was the tiniest of black gaps between the 2 white A-class stars. What a superb sight it was! It’s not too far from Mars positioned in an almost straight down southerly direction.

4. Zeta Piscium is further west of Alrischa. Both planets Venus and Mars passed by this true binary during 2020. Magnitudes: A = 5.2. B = 6.3. Sep = 22.8”. PA = 63˚. A delightful sight in the 70 mm apo. The 2 stars split at a mere 11X. And it looked very good at 40X in the main scope.

5. Very close by we have another true binary. Magnitudes: A = 6.4. B = 7.3. Sep = 32.7”. PA = 84˚. Again another fine close split at 11X. Indeed I then discovered these 2 doubles are in the same 6 degrees field of view at the lowly power of 11X. There are not exactly a double-double as there are plenty of field stars in between them however.

6. Finally, who could not resist a peek at the M45 the Pleiades open star cluster?But what I was not expecting was to see a magnitude +6 satellite passing down through the centre of the Pleiades!

Thank you for reading my latest report. It’s my 3rd of 2021. It’s a long way to go to match my 73 nights of 2020. (Laugh). But I was very happy to acquaint myself with each of these dear friends. The heavens were telling the Glory of God last Friday night.

Wishing you all clear skies for January 2021.

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

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4 months 4 days ago #109901 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Observations - 8/01/21
What a brilliant observational report Aubrey. Your report on Mars was particularly good. It has been a few weeks since I took a look at Mars. Back then it was only beginning to show its gibbous phase, so you've made a compelling case for me to take another look at it as soon as possible. Would you believe I set up my scope on two separate occasions in 2021, but never managed to look through the eyepiece!

Alrischa sounds delightful, and that satellite flying through the 'Seven Sisters' was a real coup - very nice! 

73 observations is a remarkable feat, but with three already under your belt you're flying! 

On that, I'm looking forward to reading your reports on the planets throughout 2021!

Clear skies, 

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

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4 months 4 days ago - 4 months 4 days ago #109902 by lunartic
Replied by lunartic on topic Observations - 8/01/21
Aubrey, you mentioned buying a coat some years back for the cold nights.  One of the best things I bought some years back were a pair of salopettes, they are insulated and windproof.  Even on those cold nights up at the Sugarloaf, my legs are warm.
Keeping warm is essential, nothing will curtail your observing session and send you back indoors faster than being cold.
Paul

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
The following user(s) said Thank You: flt158, Until_then-Goodnight!

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4 months 4 days ago #109903 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Observations - 8/01/21
Thank you, Darren, for your great encouragements.
I'm thinking of checking out other carbon stars in the constellation of Pisces.
I have only observed TX and Z Piscium - the latter of which I observed in November 2015. But there are others to seek out.

There was one night recently when I did set up the scope because the weather websites were claiming we were going to get clear skies over Dublin. Sadly there were incorrect. So there is nothing new about setting up our scopes only to discover we were not going to have a clear night. You're not the only individual who has experienced that, Darren. And I'm sure others could tell us their tales of woe!

I'll not be free to observe for the next 3 nights. It's going to be overcast anyway. But from Thursday night onwards I will put up "Galileo" if the skies are clear.

And on that note, I wish you all clear skies,

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

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4 months 4 days ago #109904 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic Observations - 8/01/21

lunartic wrote: Aubrey, you mentioned buying a coat some years back for the cold nights.  One of the best things I bought some years back were a pair of salopettes, they are insulated and windproof.  Even on those cold nights up at the Sugarloaf, my legs are warm.
Keeping warm is essential, nothing will curtail your observing session and send you back indoors faster than being cold.
Paul


Thank you, Paul. 
I do have a good pair of leg warmers. 
One of the reasons I didn't go out observing after 8 pm was I had other things to do. 

But I do thank you for your tip!

Very kind regards, 

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

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4 months 2 days ago #109905 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic Observations - 8/01/21
Hi Aubrey,

You're more than welcome. I really hope the weather improves for Thursday as I'm itching to get back out under the stars...it's been too long. 

Best of luck for those carbon stars!

Clear skies, 

Darren. 
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