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Binocular Universe: Northern Exposure

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#1 Charlie Hein

Charlie Hein

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:36 PM

Binocular Universe: Northern Exposure

By Phil Harrington

#2 PhilH



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Posted 08 March 2013 - 05:25 AM

Hi all,

I thought I'd share a report about viewing NGC 188 through binoculars that I received from Marcin, a reader in Poland:

Hello Phil,

I quite frequently observe NGC 188 through my 10x50 under rural skies as a subtle but obvious glow framed from one side by the arc of several faint stars (8mag).


I wonder if any other CN members might comment on the visibility of NGC 188 through their binoculars.

#3 Mark9473



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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:34 AM

Hi Phil,

Todd alerted me to your request, and indeed he did remember correctly that I once posted a brief report on seeing NGC 188. Here's what I wrote in 2008 about this observation made in 2005:

If there's one thing at which the constellation of Cepheus excells, it's rich star fields; but there's not much bright & famous to look at when it comes to DSO. So when last night proved very clear (NELM ca +5.5), I put out my Swift 20x80s on their tripod to hunt down some faint stuff.

I started out with NGC 188, an open cluster just a few degrees from Polaris. In the 20x80s I could detect something was there, a very faint glow with a scattering of extremely faint stars. If I had just been sweeping this region, I would never have noticed it. Literature shows the brightest stars are mag +12.1, so I was pretty impressed to see any at all. There's supposed to be 150 stars down to mag 18, but these are of course out of reach of my 20x80s.

A nice bonus close to NGC 188 is a beautiful double star with two clear white stars of about equal brightness. It's a fairly wide pair but really stands out nicely. Uranometria plots the 9th mag double star just under a degree south of the cluster.

#4 buddyjesus



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Posted 09 March 2013 - 04:19 PM

can comment on the difficulty of finding it with a scope on a GEM mount. Toughie as it is so easy to screw up when that close to the pole, but maybe it is just me. I will get Caldwell 1 someday!

#5 PhilH



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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:27 AM

Just a head's up, it was pointed out to me that the web version of this article is missing some text. The single line that mentions "Thuban" should read in full:

While Polaris is currently the pole star, the 26,000-year wobble of Earth's axis, called precession, causes the Celestial Pole's aim to trace a 47° circle in the sky. For instance, during the building of the pyramids nearly 4,600 years ago, the North Pole was aimed toward the star Thuban in Draco. Fast forward 5,200 years from now and the pole will be point near Alderamin in Cepheus.

The PDF file reads correctly. I've alerted our web master for the need to fix the HTML file.

Thanks to Marcin from Poland for the head's up on this.

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