Double Star Program Thread

Double Star Program Thread

Postby sfast » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:57 am

I've just gotten started on the Double Star Program, and it's a nice change from looking for faint (or bright) fuzzies. It's got 100 double (or multiple) stars that you should find and draw a simple sketch. A lot of the stars are easy to find because they are stars that make up the constellation stick figures. There are some really fun color contrast doubles - before I started this list, the only color contrast double I had seen was Albireo's blue and gold. If you don't know the constellations yet, this is a good one to do because you will learn them as you go.

One warning, though - some of the doubles are listed with a Struve number, and most atlases don't show Struve numbers. So you'll need to do a little research on those before you go out to the field (or you can do as I did and guess which star it is based on the coordinates until you find it :) ) Bill Pellerin wrote a good article on Struve in the September Guidestar http://www.astronomyhouston.org/newsletters/guidestar/shallow-sky-object-month-struve-2470-2474.

Polaris was also fun because it's got a seven magnitude difference between the pair.

I've gotten 15 so far.

I think you could probably do the entire list from a reasonably dark site in Houston like a park, although I have only started the list so I can't say for sure. But there are a few with very close separations that require high magnification and good seeing.

What experiences do you have with the double star list? Who is working on it now? What's the smallest aperature anyone has used?

Steve
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Re: Double Star Program Thread

Postby edward-fraini » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:14 pm

I just finished this program. The most difficulty I had was that when looking through the eyepiece at some of the target fields there was a beautiful double star in the center. BUT what I was looking at was the AC pair and not AB. So be very careful that you note the current separation and double check you have enough power to convince yourself you are looking at the real AB set. Another comment I would make is some of the splits are really close and I found out the hard way that acceptable collimation turned out to be not good enough. Spend the time to get it set really really good and check it as the night gets cooler. You will be rewarded!

Ed
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Re: Double Star Program Thread

Postby rene-gedaly » Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:13 pm

I started doing the binocular double star program and just don't get it. You can't resolve almost anything so I'm not sure what the point is except learning the sky and which stars are double or multiple star systems. Hey, maybe that's reason enough.
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Re: Double Star Program Thread

Postby edward-fraini » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:19 am

Some additional word of advice, I am working with the double star administrator now to get my observations approved. Here are some issues that have come up that will make the process smoother if you address them ahead of time.
1) You should use star names in your log AS LISTED IN THE ASTRONOMY LEAGUE DOUBLE STAR TABLE. (I used the SkyTools names, from a stx file on the forum)
2) Report them in the order as shown as well (order in SkyTools is different)
3) Be fairly accurate in the reporting of PA and Separation. (I sometimes had difficulty establishing where north was in the eyepiece and visualizing the PA so some observations were not acceptable. I seem to have more trouble when the splits are very small, I am in the process of re doing some)
4) Transposing your notes and drawings into an Excel sheet will help the administrator(my handwriting is notoriously poor, so print clearly or go the excel route)
5) Consider re doing your drawings based on field notes and drawings at the comfort of your desk, where you can be more precise with PA, star size, and separation

Mike, the administrator, has been very help in the process and I see how these steps make it much easier for him.

Ed
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Re: Double Star Program Thread

Postby william-kowalczyk » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:10 pm

A short note on using skytools for recording observations. Once you complete one of these programs you can export your observation logs directly from the log browser feature. All you need to do is select the log browser icon just below the nightly planner tab and then click on the export button in the browser dialog. Once there you choose the list you completed and export. Before exporting: There are check boxes below the list select and I choose the fields that the program requires. The list should be exported as a 'Tabs' file format (top of the dialogue). All the files are exported to a basic txt file. Once the file is saved you can open the text file and copy the contents over to excel for formating and sorting. If anyone needs help with this I would be glad to help; I can be contacted via email [email protected]

Clear Skies -Bill
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Re: Double Star Program Thread

Postby sfast » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:26 pm

Rene, are you supporting your binoculars on something and still not able to resolve any of them? I'm not good with binoculars, but I would think then you could get at least some of them. Steve

rene-gedaly wrote:I started doing the binocular double star program and just don't get it. You can't resolve almost anything so I'm not sure what the point is except learning the sky and which stars are double or multiple star systems. Hey, maybe that's reason enough.
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Re: Double Star Program Thread

Postby rene-gedaly » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:42 pm

Sky tools agrees that almost none are splittable for me. Now I do customize for my experience level and age which does get factored into what's most likely viewable. But that still doesn't make sense since I'm able to see many faint fuzzies with those same binoculars. Maybe I do need to put them on a tripod but I don't prefer it, I like the freedom of handheld. My plan is to ask someone to use my binoculars to see if they can split them. Or maybe I just picked nights with poor seeing.

Something just occurred to me. Binoculars are essentially a pair of refractors, and as such, are subject to chromatic and spherical aberration, maybe? This wouldn't affect the faint fuzzies but could resolvability. They are a pair of relatively expensive Nikons, but who knows.
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Re: Double Star Program Thread

Postby william-kowalczyk » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:25 am

Thanks for the detailed log information Ed. Took all of your notes into account for this program, cleaned up my notes, and just submitted my observations via email.
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Re: Double Star Program Thread

Postby william-kowalczyk » Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:09 am

Looks like the tips you posted worked out. Certificate is on its way :-) Thanks again Ed.
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Re: Double Star Program Thread

Postby edward-fraini » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:13 pm

Congrat's!!

I appreciate your sharing your excel log sheet for the carbon star program. Anticipating what magnification will be required by referencing your notes will be a big help. The field descriptions were interesting as well.

Next time out I will launch into the carbon star program.
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