I started out doing the star alignment with the Argo/Servo CAT, but it would not take -- when I tried to find an object it said not aligned. This happened twice, before I got the message to redo the first step. Then I was able to land at an object within half a degree -- it was at the edge of a low-power eyepiece. But then I had the same problems as before: The object would drift out of the eyepiece and when I use the handpad to try to center it, the object would overshoot. I kept at it for about an hour, trying to get it to work efficiently, but I felt I was losing observing time and eventually I just gave up. Since the object I wanted would be off the field I still needed charts to find it. And I had more trouble with the handpad than I did having to bump the scope manually to keep an object in view in an undriven scope. I'll try again tonight but so far I am not happy with this system!
When I grew frustrated I went over to the 10-inch for some Milky Way scanning, and felt better at the simplicity of using that scope. Tonight I need to use binoviewers on it. I went back to the 20-inch and did some deep sky, but it was not satisfying -- transparency was on the poor side -- and switched to doubles instead. SQM was 21.5 -- hurt by transparency and the Paseo Robles light dome to the south east. Seeing was 6/10 until about 11pm then improved to 7/10 until I stopped observing around 2:30 am.
UGC 12163: This was the galaxy I was looking for last time I was out at Pinnacles when I noticed a double star. Using 333x the galaxy had a quasi-stellar nucleus (which tipped me off it was a galaxy and not a star) with a very faint small round halo which brightened with averted vision. It is a Seyfert 1 galaxy, and close-up DSS2 shows a disturbed barred spiral with brightenings on the NW and SE arms -- might both be background objects? After observing it I went on to the doubles which surround it:
CHE 406: Orange A, faint B seen direct vision, well split
22H 42M 49.63S +29° 43' 42.7" P.A. 202 SEP 16 MAG 9.13,13.60 SP M0
BKO 665: A is blue-white; B seen averted vision only. well split.
22H 44M 12.90S +29° 36' 37.3" P.A. 23 SEP 17.7 MAG 7.80,13.60 SP M0
I noticed another double 45" to the direct north of the UGC galaxy, near equal, 13.5" separated PA ESE. The star to the west is [SRB2001] 3 and to the ESE is not identified in SIMBAD or GAIA, so I can't tell if it might be a physical pair. SIMBAD says SRB2001 3 is just a star, no note of multiplicity.
I went back to CHE 410 to attempt to see the 5" separated 16th magnitude star I noticed before on the DSS2 -- even though it seems not to be a double. At 333x I immediately saw the 19" separated 13th magnitude B star flash with averted vision as before, but did not see the 16th mag star -- seeing was flaring the star. At 667x the 19" B star ceased to be flashing AV only and became a steady DV object. I had a hint of the 5" separated star, which I felt as a small point brightening in the correct PA about 25% of the time, but don't feel I have a good enough sighting to claim it. Perhaps seeing will be better tonight.
NGC 7303: 205x. Very faint, diffuse, irregularly bright core & edges, weak concentration, faint nucleus; 3:1 ENE-WSW. Lies in a general vacancy of stars. Very faint double star 1.9' to the SW. Photos show a highly disrupted halo with several knots and a great swooping arm to the NE, which should appear more interesting in larger apertures and higher magnification.
NGC 7292: Diffuse 3:1 with brighter core, but no nucleus -- seems to be a foreground star near where the nucleus would be. To SW is a group of four 11-12th magnitude stars, three in triangle. [Saw the foreground star which is not identified in Aladin.] The halo is larger and rounder in DSS2.
UGC 12011B: Hazy quasi-stellar nucleus, round halo which glows brighter and grows larger with averted vision. Near an 11th magnitude star 1.7' to the NW. [This is a pair of galaxies, both Bmag 14, so I am not certain of what I saw. I did not resolve two nuclei.]
Ray 15: Group of around 12 stars, varying magnitudes. Four brightest form a square, two to the south appear double. 205x. [Check this one later, can't find in Aladin]
AGC 10: Part of a wider split system, but can't resolve the 0.2" pair, though elongation is suggested. [AB,C is the wider pair, 7.62/9.81 4.3"]
19H 44M 56.78S +10° 46' 30.6" P.A. 140 SEP 0.2 MAG 8.43,8.42 SP B3IV-V
J 124: Two faint stars around where one is listed [Seeing both AB and AC, 13.5 and 13.7, 20.5" and 21.5", nearly the same PA 254 and 220.]
NGC 6837: Very faint, small knot of stars. Seems not much different than other small clumps around, detached but not much concentrated. 205x [I should have used lower power to set it off from the background more.]
UGC 11512: Seen at the edge of direct vision [B mag 14.4, SB spiral]. Brightens with averted vision. 3:1 N-S, gradually brighter core, irregular surface brightness. In a box of four stars, one of which [SW corner,TYC 1080-572-1 vmag 10.64] is double PA to N, 11.25" 1 delta mag.
NGC 6840 & 6843: Both open clusters are poor, loose, with some a medium brightness range and not well separated. Why the NGC designation? [John Herschel discovered them, but seems they are not true clusters, just some random brighter stars in front of the richer Milky Way background.]
NGC 6858: Another disappointing cluster, mostly bright stars, bean shaped N-S, rather large. Pretty orange 9th magnitude star to east in field. 205x.
BU 428: A couple of faint stars, wide separation, cant tell what might be it... [not seen, 0.8"]
20H 06M 43.37S +12° 56' 12.1" P.A. 356 SEP 0.8 MAG 7.55,9.13 SP F4III
NGC 7312: 205x. 2:1 E-W oval halo, very faint, need averted vision to pick up, then can hold with direct. Gradually brighter to middle. [DSS2 shows a beautiful barred spiral with a bright oval core. SBb, v13.4]
NGC 7374A: My notes say "Oval, very diffuse, gradually brighter to middle" but this is actually a small galaxy with an IC pair -- so not seen, I think.
NGC 7386 area [WBL 688 galaxy cluster 360 mly distant]: 7386 is second brightest and second largest, 3:2 NW-SE, with a bright core, moderately bright and fairly large [S0, v12.3]. 5.6' to SSW is NGC 7385 which is bright and large, NE-SW halo & bright core [E2, v12.0]. SIMBAD says quasar 4C.11.71 z=0.026165 is in the core of this galaxy -- radio loud AGN]. NGC 7387 was a small oval glow 5.3' SW of 7386 [S0 v14.0]. NGC 7389 was small, faint, NW-SE 3:1 with a brighter core and lay in the middle of the group. NGC 7390 was very small, very faint, round at the SE corner of the group [S0 v14.2]. NGC 7383 was at the SW corner, also very small, very faint and round [SB0 v13.7]. So that's six NGC in the area. I had sense of some other extremely faint, non-stellar smudges, which were likely even fainter galaxies, but they did not come through.
NGC 7479: ! Long bright central bar running N-S then a strong arm sweeping to the west then north in a great mist of halo which grows larger with averted vision. Eastern arm is much weaker and needs averted vision to see. There's a faint [v13.1] star just to the north tip of the bar. The SIMBAD layer in Aladin has an insane number of orange squares, indicating specific objects.
STF 2675: Bright white and 3 delta mag light orange B, well split. 333x
20H 08M 53.32S +77° 42' 40.9" P.A. 120 SEP 7.2 MAG 4.39,8.34 SP B9III
HEI 7: Just glimpsed a speck in the diffraction ring when seeing stills; very tentative. 333x
20H 37M 21.54S +75° 36' 01.5" P.A. 271.4 SEP 0.58 MAG 7.68,10.48 SP K0V DIST. 27.59 PC (90 L.Y.)
ES 137: AaAb not round but really messy seeing, but at 2.26 delta mag is would be really tough at 0.3". AB is an easy wide split. BC is a faintest averted vision flash of a split. [BC data here.] 333x
21H 19M 13.50S +61° 51' 43.0" P.A. 72 SEP 2.8 MAG 10.30,13.00 SP B8
ES 138: White-yellow and blue, 4 delta mag, wide. 667x
21H 20M 25.42S +60° 41' 14.2" P.A. 279 SEP 10 MAG 6.78,13.00 SP F6III
HU 964: Very close but split clean. Bluish B in first diffraction, ~1", 5 delta mag. 667x
21H 29M 20.54S +67° 03' 03.6" P.A. 269 SEP 1.3 MAG 6.90,12.60 SP A0III
BU 690: Bright orange and very faint westerly B, wide split. There are several other faint stars in the area more widely split (7 star system). 667x
21H 43M 30.45S +58° 46' 48.2" P.A. 259 SEP 19.3 MAG 4.27,12.30 SP M2IAE+K2I
HDS 3132 = 15 Cep = STT 461: AaAbI want to say this is out of round but it resolves to one point, not two, so very doubtful. 667x
22H 03M 53.86S +59° 48' 52.5" P.A. 144 SEP 0.5 MAG 6.82,9.87 SP B1V
BU 702 = Delta Cep: Slight brightening in the diffraction ring, westerly. Another off to the bottom left. [10 star system, so the second pair likely part of this system. Doubtful I saw AB, delta mag too extreme -- need a 36" refractor and 1200x] 667x
22H 29M 10.25S +58° 24' 54.7" P.A. 282 SEP 21.8 MAG 4.21,13.00 SP F5IAB
BU 1092: Notched! Near equal. With seeing. 667x
22H 36M 08.65S +72° 52' 51.1" P.A. 220.5 SEP 0.37 MAG 8.30,8.30 SP F5 DIST. 84.46 PC (275.51 L.Y.)
STT 484: Not seen, just flares. Near equal nearby, what is it? [I was perhaps just looking at the wrong star. When I type the coordinates into Aladin it takes me to a near equal pair just as I described in my notes. This star and its pair show multiple diffraction spikes which indicate multiplicity. There are 6 stars in the system. I need to try this one again.]
22H 56M 13.13S +72° 50' 14.5" P.A. 95.6 SEP 0.32 MAG 7.57,9.47 SP A2 DIST. 178.57 PC (582.5 L.Y.)
BU 180: Exceedingly fine split at best moments, hairline, 1 delta mag.
23H 07M 09.99S +60° 49' 57.1" P.A. 131.3 SEP 0.52 MAG 7.95,9.23 SP A5IV DIST. 255.75 PC (834.26 L.Y.)
BU 1148: Not see B; strange since I should be able to. Maybe something wrong with magnitude measure.
23H 27M 17.22S +65° 37' 15.8" P.A. 76 SEP 2.1 MAG 6.84,12.60 SP K0