Backyard astronomy in the suburbs

STF 928, STT147 and a carbon star looking like burning red copper

On the 18th of March 2022 I aimed my telescope at Struve 928 in Aurigae. I cranked up the magnification to 83x, and I got a very pleasant surprise in my field of view. I got a split of the yellowish-white double STF928 with a separation of 3.5". In the same field of view to the south-east I saw another beautiful triple star, STT147. Thebright a-component looked deep yellow. But the real, unexpected showstopper for me was a star that looked like burning reddish copper. This proved to be the carbon star UU Aurigae. What a beauty! I am always amazed how beautiful these carbon stars are when seen visually through a telescope. UU AUR is of spectral type C6,3 and has a B-V index of about 3. Amazing beauty. On the sketch below, you see UU Aurigae as the bright orange-red stare on the right. The sketch was made ate the telescope on white paper with pencil. Later indoors the sketcht was digitalized in Affinity Pro. South is up an d east is to the right. The observation was made in a 150mm newtonian with a 9mm Morpheus eyepiece. Magnification is 83x and the field of view is 55'.

STF 2010 (H V 8) in Hercules

I love to observe double stars, and one of my favourite lists is to observe is the Herschel 500 by Bruce MacEvoy. On the night of the 12th of June 2021, around 23:30 local time (Landgraaf, Netherlands), I observed Marsic, a beautiful and colourful double star in Herculis, with my 150mm Newtonian. Marsic has a separation of 27" and a position angle of 159 degrees. The view was at its best in the 25mm Zeiss eyepiece, with a magnification of 30x and a 1.7 degree field of view (approx). The magnitude 5.1 A-component looked definitely yellow. The magnitude 6.2 B companion looked yellowish as well, but with 3mm at 250x I found it more orange, especially when I slightly turned the view out of focus. It's colour was somehow deeper at this magnification. I also noticed a trapezium-like or keystone-like asterism to the north of the double. A very pretty view.

The sketch below was made with pencil and paper at the telescope, and later processed with Affinity Photo. South is up and west is to the left.

Messier 3, a beautiful stellar city

In Canes Venatici you can observe one of the most beautiful globular clusters visible from the Northern hemisphere, Messier 3. On may 30th 2021, around 00:15 hours, M3 was visible high in the southwestern sky. The seeing was good, the transparency excellent (4 out of 5). Of course, by the end of may, the nights are more or less grey instead of black. However, the view of Messier 3 through the Dobson on this evening was simply beautiful. The sketch below is just a very basic impression of what I saw, a shimmering ball of light in a triangle of brighter stars, with stars spread out all over the cluster, from the outer rims right into the clusters centre. What a view! The cluster was well resolved into individual stars, but many weaker ones kept popping in and oud of view, especially when using averted vision. It also grew about 1/3 using averted vision. M3 clearly showed a bright core surrounded by a halo of stars that gradually got weaker towards the rim of the cluster.

Apart from the glorious Messier 3, the deep yellow star (HD119081, K3III Giant) at the top left was quite beautiful to see, as was the little arc of stars going from M3 towards the brighter star bottom left.

In the sketch South is up and west is to the left. The instrument used was a f/5.3 300mm Dobson, combined with a 17mm Nagler eyepiece. This results in a magnification of 94x and a field of view of 52 arcminutes. The sketch was originally made at the telescope with pencil on white paper, and later scanned and processed in Affinity Photo.

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