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July 2, 2010 July 2, 2010

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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Epsilon Lyrae "Double Double" near Vega

Object: Stars

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: 3

Transparency: Excellent

Type: Deep-Sky

Constellation: Lyra

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 degrees

Observing Time: 11:05 pm – 11:25 pm

Notes: A striking pair of stars, Epsilon 1 and 2 LYR near Vega. Both of these stars look IDENTICAL to each other, like identical twins: same luminosity, same color, and everything else!  So far this is the most identical pair of stars I have found while observing through binoculars, separated clearly but still very close together.  Both stars have a caramel-yellow appearance, and their brightness levels are relatively subdued compared to Vega, the usual electric-blue luminosity. Despite this, they have a very unique appearance.  Astronomers sometimes call them the “Double Double”, as they are clearly separated through binoculars, but a little research revealed that this is actually a quadruple star system! Epsilon 1 and 2, therefore, are binary systems in themselves, and the two systems are orbiting around each other in a cosmic waltz.  This system is approximately 160 light years away from Earth, for those adventurous spacefarers out there.

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