Monday, August 6, 2018

catching up from a couple nights...

Friday night the seeing was so poor I couldn’t see any bands on Jupiter!  So low power views only.  I noticed Jupiter was approaching (or maybe had just passed) a star that was not much brighter than the moons, and I wondered if it would occult soon.  There should be plenty of opportunities for Saturn occultations since it’s passing through the heart of the Milky Way now.  Saturn looked ok once it cleared the meridian tree; there was a shadow of the planet just showing on the rings.

Mars and Venus were on opposite horizons, about as high up.  Both flickered.  Venus was brighter but Mars was very bright indeed!  I haven’t observed it yet this opposition…

Using 71x I panned up from northern Scorpius and saw some nice groups of stars and a few doubles, including a striking 2+1.  A lot of red-orange stars in the area; but I wonder if that was because of the wildfire smoke haze.

Later I swung over to M3.  It was a hazy star in the finder, barely resolved at 71x in the scope, but 170x showing resolution but no sparkle.  Sky hampered by the smoke.

Sunday night the seeing was somewhat better, about 6/10, with a little better transparency 3/5.  I observed a few doubles, trying to point the scope up into the dark hole in the western sky I have from my yard:

Mu Boo / STFA 28 / STF1938: Tight 3 delta mag fainter yellow pair with a bright white A – which I remember is also a close pair but not splittable.  I tried it with the Challenger a couple months ago.  A surprise to see it since I forgot it was a 2+1 pair. [STFA 28 is the wide pair, SFT 1938 is the close pair; CHR 181 is the spectroscopic binary for the A star.]  277x
15H 24M 29.54S +37° 22' 37.1" P.A. 171 SEP 109 MAG 4.33,7.09 SP F2IVA+G0V DIST. 34.69 PC (113.16 L.Y.)

STF 1965: Bright white, well separated, ~1 delta mag. 277x
15H 39M 22.68S +36° 38' 09.0" P.A. 307 SEP 6.2 MAG 4.96,5.91 SP B7V+B9V DIST. 145.14 PC (473.45 L.Y.)

STF 1964: Well split ~2 delta mag but B I suspect is pair as it is an elongated orange smear at 277x.  At 553x it is split, light orange.  I’ve observed this before; B is a BU pair… [Actually just STF CD]
15H 38M 14.14S +36° 14' 49.7" P.A. 19.7 SEP 1.51 MAG 8.06,9.02 SP F5 DIST. 27.59 PC (90 L.Y.)

Cou 610: Tried pretty hard at 553x with apodizing screen, but dances too much.  Used 6mm ortho with barlow, 738x, and the best I can say is it is olive shaped, but very tentative.  Seeing still 6/10 not good enough.  What kind of night did Cocteau have? [Separation at discovery was 0.5" so it should be easier now at 0.8"]
15H 32M 55.78S +31° 21' 32.9" P.A. 199 SEP 0.8 MAG 4.27,6.29 SP B6VNNE DIST. 115.07 PC (375.36 L.Y.)

STF 1937: Orange shimmering mess at 553x, needed to step down to 277x to see better, but still not sharp.  Close orange pair, equal mag, snowman shape since not well resolved to split. [No wonder.  Separation at discovery was 1.1”, it’s 0.5” now!]
15H 38M 14.14S +36° 14' 49.7" P.A. 19.7 SEP 1.51 MAG 8.06,9.02 SP F5 DIST. 27.59 PC (90 L.Y.)

STF 1950: !! Very fine orange pair 2 delta mag, ~1.5”.  Seeing poor enough to be difficult to fine focus, but once I can B appears fine and delicate.  277x.
15H 29M 58.46S +25° 30' 31.1" P.A. 92 SEP 3.3 MAG 8.07,9.23 SP K4III DIST. 485.44 PC (1583.51 L.Y.)

This last observation was kind of a high point, so I decided to pack it in a little early.  I did take out my 7x35 binoculars to try and find M31, but it was lost in sky glow.  I was able to pan about and see Ptolemy’s cluster, the small and great Sagittarius star clouds, and even the Lagoon – I think there was less smoke.  Nothing very bright or spectacular but a nice reminder it’s there…

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