Nick Cox

Observing 17-18 th October.

Swadlincote 17-18/9/18 Vixen 102 on heq5pro pro mount.

What 4″ of aperture in light pollution can do.

It is a constant source of amazement and pleasure to observe targets from here. We are surrounded by some nine streetlights , neighbours with security lights and no curtains. Using poles and dark throws has quartered off an observing area. It’s also on the hedgehog highway, they have been known to trundle past through the tripod legs.

The night started very favourably with Saturn below a low yellowish Moon. Mars was still wobbling. It was great to set up about eight and finish about two. Some beautiful targets. I haven’t done the research on their stories yet.

It’s often enjoyable just to look at them. I turned to Cygnus as it passed the zenith and again caught NGC 6811 , ” the hole in the cluster” . There was good dark sky action with M27, the blue snowball, Eastern Veil and even a core to NGC 7331.

Here’s a few targets off the beaten track.

Lacerta gives the most stunning background , set in the stream of the Milky Way. Of the open clusters , NGC 7209 is an old favourite. There are some pretty delicate pairs in NGC 7394 and NGC 7245.

Onto a few binaries here , the inline h ( Herschel)1735 being triple. I was very surprised to catch a tiny field star next to the pair of 8 Lacertae. 13 Lacertae is a ticklish challenge.

Then a Star Trek to the northern constellations. NGC 7510 in Cepheus is a wondrous cluster. There is a dusty triangle at low power, like fairy dust ! NGC 7686 gave a beautiful bright shape in Andromeda. I started on the Perseus binaries . Straight away theta Persei gave the most challenging tiny spec of a companion. ΟΣ 81 and DOO 7 I caught in the same view.

No great aperture here (4″), no great magnification , going from x42 to x77 with one at x182. Next time out it’ll be trying out the Baader astrometric eyepiece, to verify some separations and ensure the capture of those elusive faint multiples, under ,

clear skies ! Nick.

M34 multiple stars.

when you look at M34 it’s most appealing feature is the mass of multiple stars on view. I have details of those in M44. Open clusters are mainly young stars .

New stars are formed in the gas and debris loaded arms of spiral galaxies, you can observe new stars in the Trapezium of the Orion Nebula.In the early universe star formation gave a ratio of binaries to triples of 60:40. Later this evolved into a ratio of 65 binary : 25 triple : 35 singles. Gravitation pulls apart open clusters , one of the biggest we can see is Ursa Major . The whole of the plough is a moving cluster apart from the first and last star.

I got the whole wide view , but found a more detailed drawing showing the main multiple stars. Just using a 4″ scope , these are very accessible.

Next time I”lol use some more magnification to get these stars and increase the contrast. I also had look at Sigma Cassiopeiae, a lovely delicate view, under clear skies ! Nick.

“Bogardus” , out of the glare.

12/9/18 Swadlincote.

A visit from a friend bearing his 120 ed Equinox and clearing dark skies. The clarity and sharpness of the views was astounding. One example which really opened out was the multiple “Bogardus”, theta (θ) Aurigae. Easily spotted by eye , put some magnification to it,

W. Hershel spotted the wide companion. There is a close companion which pops out of the primary diffraction disc.

The primary is 285 x brighter than Sol, giving a radius of x5.4 greater. It has a magnetic field a thousand times that of Earth. It’s 175 light years distant , the B companion( same size as Sol) is 185 AU distant and has a 1200 year orbit.The distant companion is not gravitationally bound.

It’s a delight to catch the close companion as the main star is 75 times brighter ! We caught this initially at very lower power , this is at x138,


Andromeda multiples.

Beautifully placed for comfy viewing , Andromeda holds some hidden binary treasures.

Σ2987 (SAO 52795) is wonderfully delicate.

Catch ΟΣΣ244 (SAO 52912) with it’s very fast proper motion with ΟΣ493 in the field of view.

8 Andromedae (SAO 52871) is an orange star in the triple group. It’s a multiple up to F.

ES2725 (SAO 52899) caught in the same fov as ARY3.

Almach is a sheer colourful joy. On one poor night it appeared as orange and green.W. Herschel called it his “most beautiful object”. Orange blue is normally seen here.

Σ79 (1h00.1  +44 43′) a wonderful pleasing bright pair.

59 Andromedae (SAO 55331) a lovely bright pair.

Σ3050 (SAO 73656) gives twins.

Alpheratz is x200 brighter than our sun. It’s companion is the highest content mercury – manganese star.

Σ79 I drew again on a better morning.

Σ162 (01h50 25  +47 58′) a lovely triple here.

Σ249 ( SAO 37971) some 38 times brighter than our sun.

Some cracking views , certainly visit Almach .It’s a cheery warm winter scene , under clear sky !


31/08/18 Aquila binaries part 2.

Swadlincote C6r and 8″ Newt.

Aquila. Rich in binaries is a happy hunting ground for multiple stars. I set up both the 200f6 Orion Optics Newtonian and the 150 Celestron refractor. The skies were not the best with poor seeing allowing to get to 1.4″ and an unsteady 1.2″ in 36 Andromedae.

However it was a great test for the old school design Vixen LVW eyepieces. The 42mm (2″)is still available from First Light Optics. It’s smaller than you think. The field stop is amazing , right up to the edge of the bottom thread . The LVWs are Lanthanum glass and the design is 8 elements in groups. They have 65 degree fov. and a generous 20mm eye relief. The 42mm weighs 545g, 22mm (1.25″)346g, 5mm (1.25″)465g. The 22mm is considered the gem of the set and gave that crisp wow in both scopes.

Target on such a poor evening was Aquila and return to multiple and binary stars. In a wide low power mode,the multiples Σ2547 (SAO 162847), Σ 2545(SAO 162843)and LV 21 (SAO 162829) were caught together.Quite surprised to be catching the fainter companions.
57 Aquilae is beautifully bright.
π Aquilae (SAO 105282) is a lovely orang gems ,classic showpiece, prise the A apart for a tight 1.4″ split.
Huge moon soon appeared with a misty glow in the east , time to pack up ,
Clear skies ! Nick.

Position of Pi Aquilae.



200 f6

LVW selection , hiding a Nagler ! The graphics are printed on and easily come off with regular use.

Top end 42mm

Bottom end 42mm LVW.

Multiple stars, 17 Lyrae and Aquila.

slim chance to get there before the huge Moon bleached out the sky.Aquila is well placed for comfy seated for observing. Altair is a fine wide binary. Attention to some multiple and binary stars. It’s a wonder that larger apertures can catch faint magnitude stars. One numerical change in magnitude is a change of x2.51 in magnitude. However this is exponential, 2 magnitude difference is 2.51 squared ,3 is 2.51 to the power of three.

17 Lyrae gives a wonderful high power view of this multiple. The companions are a manageable search.(SAO 67835) A is 2.2 x Sol diameter.

23 Aquilae is an eruptive variable giving a yellow and astounding blue companion. A huge A has a diameter of 22.3 Sol. Separated by 364 AU. (SAO 124487)

28 Aquilae is a pulsating variable, the A being x3.6 Sol diameter.(SAO 104722)

Now for a very very fast moving star, 31 Aquilae. There are 4 stars here not gravitationally linked . Herschel did not include it in his list of doubles as A was well away from other stars.(SAO 104807)

Hoping next time out to catch the low field view that includes Σ2547, Σ2545, LV21 and Σ2541. Clear skies ! Nick.