[AZ-Observing] Re: [amastro] Getting Sirius!

  • From: "Wayne (aka Mr. Galaxy)" <mrgalaxy@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: amastro@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 20:27:05 GMT

15480 Empire Rd.
Benson, AZ 85602
hm ph: 520-586-2244
Hi Scott, and the others who tried Sirius with smaller apertures, 
One of these years I will make it to the Winter Star Party. Unfortunately, it's 
on the wrong coast and my work situation is more restrictive since I changed 
jobs (should have kept the old one!). Although I have been a regular attendee 
of the RTMC and Texas Star Parties for many years, I may have to miss them 
again this year. I hate it when that happens... 
Congrats on getting Sirius B and verifying my position and distance estimation! 
I also was able to pull it out of the glare of the primary with 400x (9mm 
eyepiece with the 2x Barlow),  but was surprised that our area was able to 
support 600x. I tried magnifications lower than 400x, but no luck. The 
Trapezium area was absolutely amazing at the high magnification, which was near 
the 50x per inch threshold. The E and F components were easy (they usually are 
seen even at the low powers), but I cannot for the life of me see the G 
component, though I see several other faint stars outside the Trapezium, maybe 
the H component which I think is a wide double. G probably just needs more 
aperture than what I have.
Scott, I'm interested in your WDS calculator. I saw the neat orbit diagrams on 
the current WDS site, but not something to compute orbits. What did I miss?
From the non-reports I guess no one has been successful in seeing Procyon B 
with any-sized amateur scope lately. 

Clear skies, 
Wayne (aka Mr. Galaxy)


---------- Original Message ----------
From: "Scott Ewart" <scotte12@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <amastro@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: RE: [amastro] Getting Sirius!
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 2009 19:46:26 -0500

Wayne,
You should go to the Winter Star Party. Last week, I saw The
Pup easily every night, though not all the time. I found it was even easier
in twilight, as the diffraction spikes were less noticeable. But I also
found that it didn?t need that much power, at least with my 12.4? Newt. 200
? 300x was all you really needed for a nice view. Too much power can
slightly blur or spread the light from the pup to make it less distinct.
And I was amazed that I could still see it at 100x. It?s currently at 8.5?
separation at 93° P.A.
Now Procyon is a different story. According to my trusty WDS
binary orbit calculator, Procyon B is only 2.2? at 201° (it won?t reach 4?
again till 2016, and won?t peak at 5.12? till 2028), but the mags are listed
as .38 and 10.8. Not that faint, and about the same 10 mag difference as
Sirius. Nevertheless, I have yet to see it, though I have tried.
There was one night at last year?s WSP that I was able to
cleanly split (classic figure 8) a .34? double, and one night at my former
home in Philadelphia that was able to see elongation (egg-shaped) in a .24?
double with my 8-inch Dob. Those are my personal bests.

Scott Ewart


From: amastro@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:amastro@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
Wayne (aka Mr. Galaxy)
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2009 4:48 PM
To: amastro@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [amastro] Getting Sirius!


15480 Empire Rd.
Benson, AZ 85602
hm ph: 520-586-2244
Though the weather has not been wonderful in our part of the world, it is
improving. 
I have been trying to catch Sirius B for quite awhile with no success, I
think mostly because I was waiting too long into the night. As an experiment
I brought out the telescope around sunset to let the optics adapt to the
ambient temperature, and having carefully cleaned the optics a couple weeks
ago, I thought this would be a good time to attempt some close double stars.
For all the observations below I used my 13-inch f/5 with a 6mm eyepiece and
a 2x Barlow for a magnification of about 600x. It was about 7pm local time
and the sky was clear, with a little breeze, but most importantly it was
dusky, not dark, especially for the observation of Sirius. My telescope is
not motor driven so that it was an interesting challenge to observe at such
high magnification. 
First, I tried M42. The star images were crisp as seen through my telescope.
The E and F components well separated, but try as I might, I could not see G
inside the Trapezium, though I saw several very faint stars embedded in the
weak, wispy nebulosity. 
Since M42 looked good, I decided to try observing Sirius once again. I was
surprised to see the B component without difficulty and was amazed at how
far (and how faint!) the companion star was from the primary. I held the
companion with direct vision continuously and moved it around the field to
make sure it wasn't a reflection or artifact of some kind. The B component
was due east (or was it west?) of its lucida, no color was detected. Luckily
the companion was not superimposed on the diagonal mirror support
diffraction spikes; it would have been impossible to see it if that were the
case. The table I consulted after the observation lists the separation of
the two stars as 5 arcsec though I think it was closer to 8 arcsec. I
enjoyed the sight so much I stayed on the stars for about 30 minutes. 
Since I did so well with Sirius, I thought I would try Procyon, though the
sky was probably too dark by then, the glare from the primary would hinder
observation of the secondary star. I could not detect the companion in this
case, even though the separation is listed at about 4 arcsec, Procyon B is
about magn 13. Has anyone on the list been able to see the companion with a
moderate-sized amateur scope? Large scope?
I was successful with several of other fairly challenging double/multiple
stars last night: beta Monocerotis, Castor, zeta 1 Cancri (the closest pair,
about one arcsec), and gamma Leonis. 
Although I didn't observe it last night, I have been able to resolve Porrima
(gamma Virginis) a couple months ago. That was a challenge, but a neat sight
to see. 

Clear skies, 
Wayne (aka Mr. Galaxy)
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