Here There Be Dragons

by Tom Campbell


June 6, 2003

ObserverTom Campbell
LocationIola, Kansas (Long: 95°24'W Lat: 37°55'N)
EquipmentDiscovery DHQ 8" dobsonian
Eyepieces1.25" Plössls - 25mm (49x), 15mm (81x), 10mm (122x), 6mm (203x), 4mm (305x)
Time11:00pm - 12:00am CDT (04:00-05:00 UT)
TransparencyClear (8/10)
SeeingMostly Stable (7/10)
WeatherTemperatures in the lower 60s. There was little or no breeze.

Observing Summary
DRACONu, 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 6210HerculesPlanetary Nebula11:00pm CDT
Box NebulaRA: 16h 44m 30sDec: +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.

NuCorona BorealisDouble Star11:10pm CDT
Struve 29RA: 16h 22m 22sDec: +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.

SigmaCorona BorealisDouble Star11:15pm CDT
Struve 2032RA: 16h 14m 42sDec: +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.

ZetaCorona BorealisDouble Star11:20pm CDT
Struve 1965RA: 15h 39m 24sDec: +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 2DracoAsterism11:30pm CDT
RA: 18h 35m 55sDec: +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.

NuDracoDouble Star11:35pm CDT
24, Struve 35RA: 17h 32m 16sDec: +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.

39DracoTriple Star11:40pm CDT
Struve 2323RA: 18h 23m 54sDec: +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.

OmicronDracoDouble Star11:45pm CDT
47, Struve 2420RA: 18h 51m 12sDec: +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.

UXDracoCarbon Star11:50pm CDT
HD 183556RA: 19h 21m 36sDec: +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.

PsiDracoDouble Star11:55pm CDT
31, Struve 2241RA: 17h 41m 54sDec: +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.