Early morning delights !

Up and set up by 3. Clear to start with, a quick check on M51 showed both cores and the “bridge”, nice. Just a scoop of galaxies , kicking off with the “whale” NGC 4631 in Canes Venatici. Then up to Coma Berenices,
M64 (” black eye”), elongate with a bright core.
M85 A star like Centre.
M88, faint.
M91 , by averted.
M98. Faint by averted.
M100, by averted. Then the bright globular M53 and the fainter NGC 5053.
Had a look at M13 and M92 as Hercules was high with Lyra not far behind. Jupiter just wobbled around with the moons nicely strung out. I turned back to Hercules for binaries,
Kappa showed a lot of colour at x50.
Gamma showed a wide delicate companion.
Σ2025 showed a nearly equal pair at 2.1″. A more delicate pair at
Σ2063, giving a wide and colourful view, as did 42 Herculis.

Cloud pulled in from the south, just managed some views of Lyra and a real show case sight of β Lyrae (Sheliak). This is a wonderful scene at low magnification, the multiple group looking like a mini cluster. All the main stars of Lyra apart from gamma are binaries. I think β provides the most stunning view with its contrasting companions. This is of the great sights.

Components of Sheliak.
The components are so close together that they cannot be resolved with optical telescopes, but can be detected through spectroscopy. Beta Lyrae’s components are a blue-white class B7 V and a white class A8 V main sequence star, with surfaces of 13,000 and 8,000 K, respectively. The two stars are close enough that material from the photosphere of each star is pulled toward the other, drawing them into an ellipsoidal shape. The tidal forces that distort both stars can cause streams of matter to flow from one onto the other, and apparently into a disk around the fainter of two. Such mass transfer is profoundly important in the lives of double stars.

Beta Lyrae is both an eclipsing binary and a visual multiple. The third component, with an apparent magnitude of +7.2, lies at an angular distance of 45.7″. It can easily be seen with binoculars, and is of spectral type B7 V. It is about 80 times as luminous as the Sun, and is also a spectroscopic binary, with a period of 4.34 days. There is still another component, of magnitude 9.9, separated by 86″, that appears to be part of the β Lyr system, with has a luminosity 7 times the Sun’s.



Usually I use 4″,5″ and 6″ refractors on binary stars.Dew is often a problem if you set these up cold without dew heaters having been in action. It was a pleasant experience to get super results with the Orion Optics Newtonian. The two vaned secondary spider gives very clean star views. Had seeing and transparency been better , smaller separations would open out easily.Some tight collimation being requisite .

Given our recent dreadful run of weather, it’s worth keeping an eye on the forecast and catching the early hours. About 5, the whole sky filled with heavy cloud, which cleared leaving a heavy frost after 7.

clear skies !



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