Double Star 61 Cygni, 12x70 Binoculars Tests,
Posted: 22 July 2014
Opened: Monday, 21 July 2014, 1933 MST
Conditions: Mostly clear
Unforecasted clear skies arrived on Monday, 21 July, which made me very happy. Shortly after opening the observatory, had a visitor checking on things:
1949 MST: Mars, 83X and 222X. Some white areas were visible at both poles using 222X. No other surface details visible. Gibbous phase very evident.
1953 MST: Saturn, 222X. The moons Titan, Rhea, and Tethys were visible. 1956 MST: the moon Dione became visible. Seeing was not perfect but at brief moments of good seeing Cassini Division and planet and ring system shadows were very crisp. 2005 MST: seeing became worse. There were still some clouds in the sky.
2010 MST: double star Albireo, 222X. Very pretty.
2027 MST: Used GC Wi-Fi Adapter and SkySafari Pro to command the telescope to slew to the double star 61 Cygni. The view of the close faint star was better this night using 222X. The double star system has a large proper motion away from the faint star (see Sky & Telescope, August 2014, page 50). Using 83X the faint star was more difficult to see due to the brightness of 61 Cyg A.
At 2040 MST saw four satellites simultaneously in the same area of the sky. Three were polar orbiting moving south along the Milky Way. The other satellite was in an equatorial orbit moving east through Cygnus. All were about the same brightness.
2044 MST: began preparing to image 61 Cygni. Mounted the D7000 DSLR at prime focus + 2X PowerMate. Did a focus test using Deneb with a Bahtinov Mask. Then imaged 61 Cygni using various exposure settings. The best one was 5 seconds at ISO 1600:
The faint star is just to the right of 61 Cyg A. I will image the double star again in one year; the separation from the faint star should be greater then, showing the large proper motion of 61 Cygni.
2110 MST: Did some more testing of the replacement Celestron Cometron 12x70 binoculars. I handheld the binoculars for the tests. The view of the globular cluster M13 (Hercules) was good near the zenith. But the globular clusters M4 (Scorpius) and M22 (Sagittarius) were very nice views through the 12x70. Did a tour along the Milky Way; lovely sights.
I then viewed M4 and M22 through the 8" LX200-ACF, 83X.
2134 MST: slewed to IC1284 (diffuse nebula in Sagittarius), then NGC6589, then NGC6595. All were faintly visible in the same FOV using the 2" 24mm UWA eyepiece (83X). I began setting up for imaging. Added a f/6.3 focal reducer. Did a focus test on Antares with the Bahtinov Mask. Did a couple of framing test exposures and located a good guide star. This is a 5 minute, ISO 6400, guided exposure (cropped from the full-frame image):
IC1284 and IC1283 is the large red nebula on the left. NGC6595 and NGC6590 is the nebulosity to the right and lower, with NGC6589 to the right and upper.
2224 MST: did sky quality measurements. The Unihedron SQM-L reported 21.13. Dark Sky Meter Pro (iOS app on iPhone 5s) reported 21.58. Both readings were impacted by the Milky Way overhead and illuminated clouds over Tucson to the south.
2249 MST: observed IC1284/NGC6589/NGC6595 complex at 83X. Sagittarius was now higher in the sky; the nebulosity was easy to see using averted vision.
Next, viewed M22 (globular cluster), 222X; good view. I then did a tour of DSOs in the constellation of Scutum, 83X: NGC6664 (open cluster), M26 (open cluster), M11 (open cluster), and M6712 (globular cluster). Slewed to M16 (Eagle Nebula); using averted vision at 83X good structure was visible.
2300-2330 MST: did star hopping at 83X in a search for Pluto using SkySafari:
At times I thought I could see Pluto popping into view with averted vision, but it was never a constant view. I have seen Pluto in the past with the 8" telescope.
Viewed M31 (Andromeda Galaxy), 83X. Its companion galaxies M32 and M110 were also viewed.
I then did some more Cometron 12x70 binoculars observing (handheld). M31 was especially nice; M32 and M110 were easily seen. The Double Cluster was a pretty sight. But the highlight was NGC7789 (Caroline's Rose) in Cassiopeia. The open star cluster appeared as a large fuzzy patch.
I had last imaged NGC7789 in November 2010 at prime focus. I decided to re-image it with a focal reducer. Did a Bahtinov Mask focus test on Alp Cas. This is NGC7789, 2 minutes, ISO 4000, unguided (slightly cropped):
0020 MST: viewed NGC7789, 24mm eyepiece + focal reducer; excellent view of the open cluster. Did a tour of DSOs in Cassiopeia using the 24mm eyepiece + focal reducer: NGC129 (open cluster), NGC147 (galaxy), NGC185 (galaxy), NGC225 (open cluster), NGC457 (open cluster), NGC559 (open cluster), M103 (open cluster), NGC654 (open cluster), NGC659 (open cluster), NGC663 (open cluster), NGC7635 (Bubble Nebula), and M52 (open cluster).
0040 MST: clouds in the south were getting higher in the sky. Began closing.
Closed: Tuesday, 22 July 2014, 0100 MST
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