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stray's 2013-2014 sketchbook

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#1 stray1

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 11:16 PM

Hello!

Been awhile since my last submission (not even sure if I remember how). Observed and sketched SU Andromedae this evening as part of a long-delayed carbon star project through the Astronomical League.

Hope it shows up.

:grin:

-stray-

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#2 frank5817

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 09:10 AM

Mark,

These carbon stars are always stunning to see at the eyepiece. This one is bright and looks great.

Frank :)

#3 Asbytec

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 10:36 AM

Mark, good to see you back. Your dark skies really pay off, look at all the stars in your FOV. What a beautiful rendition of a carbon star nestled in the midst of them.

Let's see some more sketching, and you're just in time hopefully to get some Jovian observing in during the coming months. I hope so.

#4 niteskystargazer

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 12:27 PM

Mark,

Nice sketched of SU Andromedae :).

CS,KLU,

:thanx:,

Tom

#5 stray1

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 01:35 AM

Frank and Tom, thanks for the comments and, yes, these carbon stars are simply beautiful. My next target is WZ Cassiopeiae.

Norme, yup...I'm back. Good to see you. :D

Just for the record, approximately 1/3 of the stars in my SU And sketch are AVs (9+ Mag) and really pushing the limits of my eyes and equipment). This entire area of the sky appears empty to the naked eye in Bortle 7. I think this project is going to prove to be quite a challenge as Tristan (2012) has some of the variables listed at 13+. I'll have to hit them at their brightest or I'll miss them completely.

As for Jove: I've already glassed the Big J a couple of times using a Meade Jupiter 60mm that I purchased from Bill Vorce at Telescope Warehouse earlier this year. Additionally, I picked up a couple (25mm, 10mm) Antares Plossl EPs for the same. MAJOR improvement over the "$3"EPs that came with the rig. Not only do the NEB and SEB resolve much "thicker", I am also seeing shading in the NPR. I think I can also detect festoon bases along the S edge of the NEB; not sure though as J is still low in the sky and I am having to observe while standing...not exactly stable...lol.

I think that I'll probably stick with the 60mm during the early part of the season (to train the eye) before switching over to the 90mm. Hopefully, some of the details that I missed last season (e.g., GRS) will become apparent this year.

Time will tell.

:grin:

-stray-

Ref
Tristan, A. (2012). Carbon Stars. Kansas City, MO: Astronomical League.

#6 Asbytec

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 06:06 AM

:grin:

#7 stray1

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 01:12 AM

WZ Cas has two good things to offer: a beautiful, brilliant golden orange carbon star and an equally lovely azure companion. In addition, it is a very easy find.

About the sketch: When it comes to this particular rendering I admit to "cheating" to obtain the image. For example, the four stars that form a parallelogram in the upper left edge of the sketch were actually pushing toward the outside limit of my FOV. Similarly, the yellowish star (that I believe to be HIP 181) was not in view while WZ was centered in the EP. I simply defied the laws of physics for arts sake and "compressed" them by a few million light years because I believe they add to the overall composition. Finally, the smaller stars indicated by single pixels are AV. There were quite a few more, but I did not have the time (or desire) to include all of them. Lazy.

In terms of my Carbon Star Observing Club Log I will not include these features. WZ, the companion, and that chain of five stars should suffice.

Next Up: SAO 109033. Easy to locate coming off of Algenib in Pegasus. I've already "scouted" it out using 10x50s and AV.

Thanks for looking.

:grin:

-stray-

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#8 Asbytec

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 01:30 AM

Stray, that's another nice FOV. Love the blue and yellow stars in contrast. I think you captured the beauty well.

#9 stray1

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 02:16 AM

Norme,

Thank you for the kind words :) I should have also mentioned that I've "enhanced" WZ and companion for clarity sake. They do not appear so large at the EP.

I am not really sure if this pair constitutes a true binary or is simply an optical. Haas (2006) makes no mention of it; however, Mullaney (2005) describes this as "Dim but striking; red and blue!" (p. 102). If a true binary this is really a treat! Does anyone know?

:grin:

-stray-

Ref

Haas, S. (2006). Double stars for small telescopes. Cambridge, MA: Sky Publishing Corporation.
Mullaney, J. (2005). Double and multiple stars and how to observe them. London: Springer-Verlag.

#10 Asbytec

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 06:35 AM

I don't know, but Mullaney seems to get the description right as did you. Even enhanced, it shows up "sriking" on my monitor. Is the bright star at the bottom yellow or am I seeing things? Plus, a few other blue stars left and above? What a colorful FOV, much like the first night I observed through my old 18" dob...the colors.

#11 stray1

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 11:48 PM

Yes, blue stars to the left and above. I "thought" they looked blue at the EP but was unsure. Ran it past Stellarium for confirmation. Plus, there are a couple of blues in that chain of five; however, did not notice this while observing...they looked white to me.

Stellarium rates the yellow star lower right as pale orange in color, but it looked golden to me. It's color was the main reason that I cheated on my FOV to include it.

I guess I'd best start wrapping my head around star spectral classifications if I want to get this right...lol.

:grin:

-stray-

#12 Asbytec

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 12:55 AM

And stick to the color scheme, there are no lavender stars, so they argue. :grin:

#13 stray1

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:51 AM

Finally, some clear skies and a chance to continue with the carbon star project. Was kind of cold and damp and my binos fogged over a time or two but otherwise it was a rewarding observation session.

SAO 109003 was first on the list. All I have to say is, if this particular star was not on the list of required observation I would have never gone looking for it. It is a banal little star in a banal star field. No detectable color. No bells-n-whistles. Nothing.

Next Up: VX And; right up there near M31.

:grin:

-stray-

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#14 stray1

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 01:17 AM

Following hot on the heels of 109003 comes a blaze of crimson glory. VX And rests to the N/NW of M31 and was well worth the mild discomfort of slewing my rig near vertical and hunching over the EP in my trusty, low slung beach chair.

Orange-red in color with hints of mahogany and brown, VX is sort of dark to the eye but with a subtle hint of daffodil at its core. After the triple-Z (ZZZ) session that was 109003, VX is truly a stellar treat.

Unfortunately, my sketch does not do this outstanding carbon beauty justice, hence I highly recommend you taking a gander for yourself. You certainly will not regret it.

Next Up: AQ Andromedae; also near M31, sort of bracketed between Mirach and Alpheratz.

Thanks for looking!

:grin:

-stray-

ps--four down; ninety six to go...

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#15 niteskystargazer

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 03:11 PM

Mark,

Nice sketches of SAO 109003 and VX Andromedae :).

CS,KLU,

:thanx:,

Tom

#16 stray1

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:18 PM

Hello!

Well, this evening's session did not exactly go according to plan. I had intended n tagging three carbons; however, the first--AQ Andromedae--proved quite elusive. One of the biggest problems was the near full Moon which just happened to be close to my target area near M31. The sky was really washed out making locating thru my 50mm finder difficult. Additionally, there are two (HIP 1996 and HIP 1769) red stars in the general vicinity which added to the confusion. After about an hour and a half of observing, thinking things did not quite look right, trekking into the house to reference Stellarium, trekking back to rig, getting back on target, etc, etc, etc, I was ready to call it quits.

Then, a tiny light bulb popped on over my spinning head, barely visible in the overbearing moonlight. MAKE A SKETCH, STUPID and take it inside with you when you check Stellarium. It worked. Using said sketch I realized that the object in my EP was HIP 1996 and that AQ And was a simple FOV swing to the N.

In the washed-out sky it appeared as a tiny point of color; not red, not orange but somewhere in between. It was one of the most beautiful carbon stars I have bagged to date and worth every minute of frustration it took to find it!

In the sketch below, the color I chose to represent it is "Scarlet" (per Wikipedia: Shades of Red page). After all of the work, I needed something that was actually close to what I observed, rather than arbitrarily choosing a shade of red/orange from my paint pallet. While not perfect, it is pretty darned close.

Technically, this is one of my more accurate observations. What you see below is what you should see if you decide to take a gander for yourself. I highly recommend that you do!

Next: NSV 15195 (Andromedea) and maybe more weather and time permitting.

Thanks for looking!

-stray-

Five tagged; 95 to go. Whew

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#17 Asbytec

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 12:08 AM

I can see your interest in red stars, that one is "frankly, scarlet..." (ok, ok...)

And you had 9/10 seeing. You dog... :)

Use your new ortho?

#18 niteskystargazer

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:16 PM

Stray,

Good capture of AQ Andromedae :).

CS,KLU,

:thanx:,

Tom

#19 Chopin

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 11:06 AM

Wow! Carbon stars?!? Very cool subjects for observations, and I love your presentation with the observing sheet.

#20 Michael Rapp

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 10:16 AM

Mark, your thread has inspired me to go after these objects. Everyone who mentions this objects describes them as being red...meaning, red-red, not lots of orange with a bit of white, but very, very red. What a contrast in those star fields.

It looks like a great project for weeknights!

I echo Jason's comment that I love your sketchbook-presentation of them.

#21 stray1

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 01:08 PM

Jason, Norme, & Tom, thanks for your comments. Lately it seems like I'm getting cloudy versus clear skies at a 5-10 to 1 ratio and my current forecast indicates another 5 days of clouds after this morning's clear. Not much getting done :crazy:

Mike, here is a link to the Astronomical League Carbon Star Observing Project: http://www.astroleag...serving-program It includes a list of the target stars.

Thanks for commenting!

:grin:

-stray-

#22 stray1

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 02:32 AM

Tonight presented me with what as been a rarity as of late...fairly clear skies with good seeing and transparency! It was fleeting as I knew they would close just as quickly as they had opened (and they have). Anyway, I went into "commando" mode and broke out the rig for some ad hoc observing (more like taking pot shots between clumps of clouds).

NSV 15196 (Andromeda) has been on my "to do" list for over two weeks so that was my first target. I had to work quickly as heavy cloud cover was moving in from the west. 15196 was directly overhead forcing me to slew vertical. I didn't think that I had time to prepare for a "formal" observation arrangement (i.e, grabbing a patio chair), so I simply dropped to my knees on the asphalt, clipboard, pencil, and red light in hand, and hunkered over the EP.

15196 is another of those "blah" carbon stars. No apparent color; boring. If it wasn't on the Astronomical League's list of required stars I'd never go looking for it. It was just a dim point of light in the EP.

Six down; 94 to go. :p

Next: W Cassiopeiae.

:grin:

-stray-

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#23 azure1961p

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 02:38 AM

Try WZ Cass while you re there - can't miss the red in that!

Pete

#24 stray1

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 02:43 AM

I made this sketch within minutes of the previous. Clouds were beginning to interfere with transparency, but I managed to "eek" this one out in good time. Nice little carbon star. Pale orange, but very pretty. That's what I'm talking about :)

Sketch Notes: the dimmest "stars" in the sketch below are AV. There were a few more to be had but time and transparency were working against me.

Next: Z Piscium.

Seven down; 93 to go (I hope my psyche and body holds out).

Thanks for looking!

:grin:

-stray-

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#25 Chopin

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 10:58 AM

Huh!?! 15196 really isn't all that interesting. :lol: Still a great sketch, though.

W Cas, OTOH, is a beautiful little gem. Nicely captured, Stray.






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