Double and Multiple Stars

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.

Cracking tight binaries.

It’s always a pleasure to be out under dark and still skies. Saturn excelled taking x320. Mars showed an ice cap and some dark markings. I was keen to try out the 150 f8 refractor on some super close binary stars. It’s very little use to stare these out . Often averted vision or moving the field of view works. Drawing helps enormously, the eye becomes relaxed as it works to account for the view.

First up a recalled visit to a difficult triple. Struve 2872 in Ophiuchus. The companion split apart , not shy at .8″.

Some stars hold special allure , one being Lambda Cygni. This showed a bright and clean split at .9″.The high magnification holding the splendid view. Still in Cygnus, Otto Struve 410, gave a better .9″ split.

Next a favourite tester , 36 Andromedae, now opening up to an easier 1.2″.

Very pleased to get these fine splits. I had taken the 6″ doublet apart to clean a few fungi on the surface. Fungi can live in the air space. They secrete acid , eating both coatings and glass, a big lump of glass, returning it to the cell, I noticed some markings on the edges. There are 4 linear marks to line up the objectives and a cheerful note of the manufacture date , 31/01/11. It’s somewhat comforting to think that someone took a little care.

A thick rubber ring edges the front of the doublet. Snucking this in evenly gave the correct alignment when the tightening ring was applied. There are push/pull collimation screws / hexbolts on the cell. A quick check with a Cheshire , Barlowed laser and star test showed everything true.

Of particular interest has been the first light reports of the new SW 150 pro ed on Stargazers lounge. This is the next up from the 120pro. However it does not have the same glass bring an ed front element instead of the FPL 53. At £1600 it’s a lot of scope , similar in weight and size to the C6r. However I was happy to pay £300 used and put £100 Crayford on board.

I’ve had many sub 2″ binaries with the 200 f6 Orion Optics Newtonian. However it does benefit from the single straight across secondary vane . This gives good clean stars without spikes, easier for splitting.

Awaiting more clear skies and a continuing look at the bright Vesta , Comet C/21P Giacobini-Zinner and the Perseid meteor shower (12-13th August)