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August 27, 2010 August 29, 2010

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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The Elusive "Arrow" in Delphinus the Dolphin's Head Area

Object: Constellation

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: 3

Transparency: Good

Type: Deep Sky

Constellation: Delphinus

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 Degrees

Observing Time: 11:20pm – 11:30pm

Notes: Found this interesting formation of stars, while scanning the skies near Cygnus.  At first I didn’t know how to find it in my star map, there were no useful reference points.  After looking and searching for a lengthy amount of time in Stellarium, I’m now pretty certain that this is the head area of Delphinus, the Dolphin, a faint constellation closer to the horizon from Cygnus the Swan.  It looked like a downward-pointing arrow at first glance, but the constellation diagram in Stellarium and other star maps depict Delphinus’ head as a diamond– probably this was the source of confusion.  This constellation is relatively hard to find, but a very rewarding experience overall, because this is the first time I viewed this constellation at all.  Delphinus isn’t visible using the naked eye from my observing site.  I’m planning to revisit Delphinus later to take a closer and more detailed look, in my haste to identify the pattern itself I don’t think I did it complete justice yet!

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August 6, 2010 August 7, 2010

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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The Dense Starfields between Deneb and Sadr in Cygnus

Object: Stars

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: 5 (Best I’ve seen in a while)

Transparency: Excellent

Type: Deep-Sky

Constellation: Cygnus

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 Degrees

Observing Time: 10:15pm – 10:35 pm

Notes: The rich star fields in the neck of Cygnus the Swan, between Deneb and Sadr.  At the beginning of my observing session I was looking for the “Keystone” in Hercules; didn’t find it, I’ll try again another night.  The Keystone is too large to fit inside a FOV of 4.8 Degrees, so I will not see it all in one field.  I then turned to the Summer Triangle and the respective constellations of the three brightest stars: Altair, in Aquila, Vega, in Lyra, and Deneb, in Cygnus.  The first star I observed was Vega in Lyra.  I tried to make out Lyra’s distinctive kite shape, as seen in the star charts, but I didn’t see it and was brought back to only seeing the epsilon lyrae star group, Vega, and delta-1 LYR in a distinctive triangle formation– see my “July 2nd, 2010” Posting for details.  I later found out that <again> Lyra the constellation is too large to fit inside my FOV, which was surprising since it looked relatively diminutive in the charts.  As a final destination for tonight, I marveled at the magnificent starfield in Cygnus, pictured above…I’m guessing a little over 100 stars were visible, which was quite a treat.  Seeing and Transparency were quite awesome too tonight.

June 18, 2010 June 18, 2010

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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Stunning Blue and Red Star Pair in Cygnus

Object: Stars

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: 4

Transparency: Good

Type: Deep-Sky

Magnitude: 3.80 (Brightest in FOV)

Constellation: Cygnus

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 Degrees

Observing Time: 12:10 – 12:25 am

Notes: Tried to find M29 in Cygnus at first (this is my first time trying to hunt for a DSO that is relatively obscure, compared to the Orion Nebula), then I lost the constellation stars altogether.  Found this incredible pair of stars though; after a quick reference back home, it turned out I was still in Cygnus after all.  30 CYG and 01 CYG make one of the most stunning star pairs I have EVER seen! Only a tenth of a degree apart, 30 CYG is electric-blue and 01 CYG is a warm red– this is a must see for everybody, I highly recommend it.  To find this pair, first orient yourself in Cygnus with its backbone vertical and head on top, then jump about 6 degrees right from Deneb; you’ll see this magnificent pair jump out at you.  Amazing.

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