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Okay, let's try this again....

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#1 Michael Rapp

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 01:24 PM

Oops. I'm sure I'm not the first variable star observer who tried to do too much, too fast. Without realizing it, I was trying to observe variables that were too faint, or too difficult to find, or in too crowded a star field to make identification easy.

And there is nothing more frustrating that setting up a heavy equatorial mount on a weeknight in the hot summer and realizing that you don't have any energy left to find the star!

So, let's start over.

For this to be fun (for me), this needs to be more on the easy side of the easy-challenging continuum, and much of this necessarily deals with the equipment.

Binoculars, of course, are lightweight and give a wide field of view, but I tired too quickly of the constant lifting and refinding the field. Sure, I could add a binomount, but now I'm in the same weight class as a small telescope.

So, I have my 66mm refractor on an alt-az mount. It gives a nice wide field of view, which is even up-right due to an amici prism diagonal. The slow motion controls on the mount allow me to star-hop with ease. Yes, this is the scope I should be using. I can also move the scope around my yard without a second thought to navigate around trees. As it is alt-az, no worries about re-polar aligning.

Next, the targets. On a good transparent night, my skies are Mag 4.5, closer to Mag 4 usually. Let's do variables that are brighter than mag 10, maybe even Mag 9. Probably brighter than Mag 8 to start with. The variables also need to have a good selection of companion stars within or very close to the field of view. Constantly panning over several FOV widths is tiring with my particular mount.

Lastly, like everyone, I'd like my observations to be potentially useful, so taking the AAVSO's guidance, that seems to indicate LPV variables.

So there is my reboot with variable stars. :)

#2 jgraham



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Posted 21 September 2013 - 10:03 PM

You might want to find a copy of David Levy's "Guide to Variable Stars". He gives an excellent introduction to the topic and a nice list of starter variables.

#3 lee14


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Posted 22 September 2013 - 08:44 AM

The AAVSO has all the resources you will ever need to observe and estimate LPV's. David Levy's book is indeed an excellent start. The AAVSO has a manual for making visual estimates here: http://www.aavso.org...bserving-manual . You can inspect and download charts from the website to match whatever scale works best for your scope's field of view and the variables' magnitude. I use a light box to back-illuminate my charts, I find it more practical than using a laptop, easily held in one hand it's better for alternating between the eyepiece view and chart.


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