by Tom Campbell
|Location||Iola, Kansas (Long: 95°24'W Lat: 37°55'N)|
|Equipment||Discovery DHQ 8" dobsonian|
|Eyepieces||1.25" Plössls - 25mm (49x), 15mm (81x), 10mm (122x), 6mm (203x), 4mm (305x)|
|Time||11:00pm - 12:00am CDT (04:00-05:00 UT)|
|Seeing||Mostly Stable (7/10)|
|Weather||Temperatures in the lower 60s. There was little or no breeze.|
|CORONA BOREALIS||Nu, Sigma, Zeta|
|DRACO||Nu, Omicron, Psi, 39, UX, Kemble 2|
With the nearly first quarter Moon high overhead as twilight neared an end, I knew that my Herschel galaxies were out of the question from my back yard. So instead, I gathered up the last couple of issues of Sky&Telescope to see what objects were featured. As it turned out, most of the observing articles were about double stars. In the moonlight, doubles seemed the best course to take, so I thought it was fitting. I hand-picked several of those listed that I either hadn't seen yet, or else I hadn't visited in quite a while. I began in Corona Borealis, but the glare of the Moon in that region of sky made me retreat Draco, the land of the Dragon.
|NGC 6210||Hercules||Planetary Nebula||11:00pm CDT|
|Box Nebula||RA: 16h 44m 30s||Dec: +23° 48'||Mag: 9.3|
The best view tonight was at 305x, where it appeared somewhat rectangular. The nebula was bright and small, and at low powers, it appeared nearly stellar. No details were visible. The nebulosity was too bright to see the central star, and my O-III filter didn't improve its appearance.
|Nu||Corona Borealis||Double Star||11:10pm CDT|
|Struve 29||RA: 16h 22m 22s||Dec: +33° 48'||Mag: 6.5, 6.7|
This double is wide, and easily split at low power. 81x offered the best view because it reduced the glare from the stars and made it easier to see colors. One star appeared yellow, and its companion was yellow-orange. If the stars were closer together, this pair would look nicer, but still, the colors were nice.
|Sigma||Corona Borealis||Double Star||11:15pm CDT|
|Struve 2032||RA: 16h 14m 42s||Dec: +33° 52'||Mag: 5.8, 6.7|
This pair could barely be split at 49x. The best view was at 125x, where there was a nice separation and the colors were easier to detect. The primary was yellow-white and the companion was a little fainter and also yellow-white. This pair actually looks like a double star and is bright enough to show off at star parties.
|Zeta||Corona Borealis||Double Star||11:20pm CDT|
|Struve 1965||RA: 15h 39m 24s||Dec: +36° 38'||Mag: 5.1, 6.0|
This double could barely be split at 49x, and the best view was at 125x. Both stars appeared white, and one was about a magnitude fainter. There wasn't anything remarkable about this pair, but it still was a nice view.
|Kemble 2||Draco||Asterism||11:30pm CDT|
|RA: 18h 35m 55s||Dec: +72° 23'||Mag: 8.5|
This asterism of fairly bright stars resembled the letter W. The middle star appeared orange, while the other stars were white or yellow-white. The best view was at 49x.
|Nu||Draco||Double Star||11:35pm CDT|
|24, Struve 35||RA: 17h 32m 16s||Dec: +55° 10'||Mag: 4.9, 4.9|
I like to refer to this double as the "Eyes of the Dragon." Both stars were bright white and of equal magnitude. The pair was wide, easily split at 49x with a lot of space between. Compared to other stars in the field, this double was much brighter, staring back at you from the depths of space.
|39||Draco||Triple Star||11:40pm CDT|
|Struve 2323||RA: 18h 23m 54s||Dec: +58° 48'||Mag: 5.1, 8.0, 8.1|
The two brighter stars of this triple system were widely separated at 49x. The brighter component was white and the secondary star was blue-white. The third component was detected at 88x, but 125x provided a nice view of the faint star nestled in closely to the brightest member. This third component appeared white or blue-white and was about three magnitudes fainter than the brightest star. The three stars were almost, but not quite, in a straight line.
|Omicron||Draco||Double Star||11:45pm CDT|
|47, Struve 2420||RA: 18h 51m 12s||Dec: +59° 23'||Mag: 4.7, 7.9|
This double was wide and easily separated at 49x. In order to see the colors better, however, I needed to boost the magnification to 88x. The primary was a searing yellow and the fainter companion appeared blue. This was a pretty double, even though the blue star's color wasn't as intense as in some other blue/yellow pairs.
|UX||Draco||Carbon Star||11:50pm CDT|
|HD 183556||RA: 19h 21m 36s||Dec: +76° 34'||Mag: 8.6|
This carbon star appeared deep orange and really intense. Several other stars were in the same field at 49x, but this one really stood out because of its color. I always like to stop and look at carbon stars, and this is a really nice one.
|Psi||Draco||Double Star||11:55pm CDT|
|31, Struve 2241||RA: 17h 41m 54s||Dec: +72° 09'||Mag: 4.6, 5.8|
This pair was wide and nicely split at 49x; however, the best view was at 88x. The colors for these stars were subtle; at first glance, both appeared white. By defocusing the eyepiece slightly, the star patterns smeared and the colors became easier to detect. The brighter star appeared pale yellow and the slightly fainter companion was pale blue.
The dew was overpowering my simple homemade dew heater, so I called it a night. I'll need to adjust the resistor values to work better with my 9V battery power source. Still, it was a pleasing and peaceful hour under the stars.