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Observing >> Variable Star Observing and Radio Astronomy

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PCygniii
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Reged: 12/09/11

Loc: USA
What's your favorite Variable Star?
      #4969903 - 12/16/11 04:28 PM

I have to admit my favorite variables are big, freaky, unstable and unpredictable stars like Rho Cas and P Cyg. For all we know they've already gone supernova and the photons of their massive implosion are hurtling towards at the speed of light even as we speak... But I also like quiet stars too like R Cam, a circumpolar Mira that was my first AAVSO estimate. Curious to hear what your favorites are and why.

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jmarc
newbie


Reged: 11/20/07

Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: PCygniii]
      #4970077 - 12/16/11 06:26 PM

V UMI. Not very interesting star, but I like the drawing of this field of stars. And I can find it easily all the year

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jgraham
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Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: jmarc]
      #4970155 - 12/16/11 07:16 PM

SS Aur... I love this star. It normally glows way down around magnitude 16, then every couple of months it explodes up to magnitude 10ish. The first time I caught it in outburst it took me a while to recognize the field because there was this really bright star that wasn't there before!

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Rich (RLTYS)Moderator
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Reged: 12/18/04

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Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: PCygniii]
      #4972109 - 12/18/11 07:59 AM

CH Cyg an interesting variable that normally varies slowly and by small ammounts but once in a great while will brighten considerably.

Rich (RLTYS)


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PCygniii
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Reged: 12/09/11

Loc: USA
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: jgraham]
      #4981869 - 12/23/11 07:01 PM

John,

Can you see it (SS Aur) at min with the big scope? Might check this one out.... How big is the big scope in your profile picture, anyway?


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jgraham
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Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: PCygniii]
      #4981891 - 12/23/11 07:17 PM

I observe variables with my DSI Pro III on an LXD75 SN6, in which case I can easily reach all the way down to about 17th magnitude using 60 second exposures through my V filter. Visually, I usually use my LXD75 AR-6, but I don't try to estimate the brightness visually, I never developed the knack for it. Being red/green color blind may have something to do with it. Instead, I absolutely love watching variables wax and wane in brightness. I particularly like those that fade to below my visual threshold (about magnitude 12) and back. In the case of SS Aur it's invisble visually except when it is in outburst. I just love witnessing one of the most violent events in nature!

The scopes in my avatar are two of some two dozen or so homebuilt scopes I've made over the past 43 years. The yellow scope is a 10" f/6.7 on a polar disk mount. The green scope is a monster 16.5" f/6.7 on a classic Dobson mount. I'm rebuilding the yellow scope so that the tube will match the 16.5".


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Bruce MacDonald
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Reged: 01/12/06

Loc: Devizes, Wiltshire, UK
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: jgraham]
      #5028863 - 01/20/12 03:13 PM

I keep coming back to UU Aur. This variable is right in one of my patrol areas for the UK Nova Patrol, and shines a lovely yellow hue, especially when near maximum.

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great lesson
sage


Reged: 04/04/10

Loc: Canada
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: Bruce MacDonald]
      #5029188 - 01/20/12 06:24 PM

Although it is not one of the exciting variables my favorite is W Lyr. It goes from a mag of 7.3 to 13 and has a period of around 198 days. This is my first variable that I could pick out and watch consistently. This may sound stupid but watching this star just makes me better - all of the problems of the day just don't matter - the star is there doing it's thing and even though I know bettter I feel like at that time I am the only watching it.

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Rich (RLTYS)Moderator
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Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: Bruce MacDonald]
      #5029995 - 01/21/12 08:27 AM

Quote:

I keep coming back to UU Aur. This variable is right in one of my patrol areas for the UK Nova Patrol, and shines a lovely yellow hue, especially when near maximum.




I'm somewhat suprised as I would describe UU Aur as a very red variable in my 12x80 binoculars. A beautiful binocular variable.

Rich (RLTYS)


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Rich (RLTYS)Moderator
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Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: great lesson]
      #5030000 - 01/21/12 08:31 AM

Quote:

Although it is not one of the exciting variables my favorite is W Lyr. It goes from a mag of 7.3 to 13 and has a period of around 198 days. This is my first variable that I could pick out and watch consistently. This may sound stupid but watching this star just makes me better - all of the problems of the day just don't matter - the star is there doing it's thing and even though I know bettter I feel like at that time I am the only watching it.




I to have been observing W Lyr for many years. A fun variable to observe.

Rich (RLTYS)


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PCygniii
member


Reged: 12/09/11

Loc: USA
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: great lesson]
      #5034362 - 01/23/12 06:04 PM

Quote:

Although it is not one of the exciting variables my favorite is W Lyr. It goes from a mag of 7.3 to 13 and has a period of around 198 days. This is my first variable that I could pick out and watch consistently. This may sound stupid but watching this star just makes me better - all of the problems of the day just don't matter - the star is there doing it's thing and even though I know bettter I feel like at that time I am the only watching it.




Ah... the calming effect of the stars. I know how you feel.


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Bruce MacDonald
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Reged: 01/12/06

Loc: Devizes, Wiltshire, UK
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: Rich (RLTYS)]
      #5060836 - 02/07/12 06:09 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I keep coming back to UU Aur. This variable is right in one of my patrol areas for the UK Nova Patrol, and shines a lovely yellow hue, especially when near maximum.




I'm somewhat suprised as I would describe UU Aur as a very red variable in my 12x80 binoculars. A beautiful binocular variable.

Rich (RLTYS)




I know it's a carbon star but to my eyes it looks yellow - like a rich egg yolk. But whatever the colour in the eye of the beholder, it's still a lovely sight. As is Mira at maximum which to me looks a peach/orange colour.


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bruno_biIIiaert
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Reged: 04/27/12

Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: Bruce MacDonald]
      #5194829 - 04/28/12 12:15 PM

UX Ori, X Leo and Z UMa

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Rich (RLTYS)Moderator
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Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: bruno_biIIiaert]
      #5196069 - 04/29/12 07:46 AM

Bruno, welcome the the CN Variable Star Forum.

Rich (RLTYS)


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sound chaser
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Reged: 01/13/13

Loc: France
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: bruno_biIIiaert]
      #5630146 - 01/18/13 03:50 PM

Quote:

UX Ori, X Leo and Z UMa




Yes UX Ori for me too, normally around 9.5 then plunges to less than 11.0. I like the Irregulars.
V369 Per is another on my watch list.


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groz
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 03/14/07

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Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: sound chaser]
      #5633091 - 01/20/13 12:17 PM

GSC 3074-0114.

Nice short period, with good swing, roughly 0.8 magnitudes over a couple of hours. Was my first attempt at an intensive time series, and I got a fantastic result. Any time I want to test something new, be it cameras, telescopes, or what have you, I try shoot this one, because it can give 'instant gratification' type of results.


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RAKing
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Reged: 12/28/07

Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: groz]
      #5636385 - 01/22/13 08:35 AM

I like TZ Cygni. It's a type LB and has a nice range.

I also like a couple of Mira types with short cycles: SS Cass and RT Cygni. These two are located within beautiful star fields, which makes them even more beautiful for me.

And of course, I also like SS Cygni (doesn't everyone?) I think everyone looks at this one every night, waiting for it to bloom.

Cheers,

Ron


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Otto Piechowski
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Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: RAKing]
      #5640843 - 01/24/13 02:37 PM

"What's your favorite Variable Star?" has two meanings. The first, the sense in which it is meant here is about the variable stars we enjoy observing at night with our telescopes and binoculars and unaided vision. I have enjoyed the comments here, but particularly the reference to how observing, recording, being aware of such a stars variations over time...how it is soothing.

There is another sense in which this question can be taken; an absolute sense if you will. It seems our own sun, though for centuries its fixed absolute magnitude was used as a standard for measuring the absolute brightness of all other objects, is no longer considered a standard. (See: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/05feb_sdo/)

In the sense that our sun is, also, a variable star, I offer it as my favorite because it sustains our existence; neither too hot, neither too cold, neither too great in its variations....just right.


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Cepheus Elf
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Reged: 08/01/10

Loc: Rainy, Cloudy Lancashire UK
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: Bruce MacDonald]
      #5641151 - 01/24/13 05:52 PM Attachment (33 downloads)

Quote:

I keep coming back to UU Aur. This variable is right in one of my patrol areas for the UK Nova Patrol, and shines a lovely yellow hue, especially when near maximum.




Indeed - I agree that UU Aur is a lovely variable and although a carbon star, it doesn't seem as "red" as say W Ori. Here is a pic of UU Aur I took a couple of years ago with my DSLR and 6" Reflector (f5)

Mick


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Rich (RLTYS)Moderator
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Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: Cepheus Elf]
      #5641970 - 01/25/13 06:05 AM

Impressive image.

Rich (RLTYS)


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RAKing
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Reged: 12/28/07

Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: Cepheus Elf]
      #5642050 - 01/25/13 07:55 AM

Mick,

That is a beautiful image. Could you tell us what your exposure time was?

Thanks,

Ron


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Cepheus Elf
member


Reged: 08/01/10

Loc: Rainy, Cloudy Lancashire UK
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: RAKing]
      #5642688 - 01/25/13 02:19 PM

Thanks Ron and Rich.
Ron, I took the image at the newtonian focus of my SW 6" f5 newtonian using my Canon 350d. I always use ISO 400 and I think this image was a stack of about 5 or 6 30 second exp osures (can't remember exactly as it was a while ago!). It is quite heavily cropped to take out coma affected stars around the edge of the field! I'd been observing the star quite a bit using binoculars and a 'V' filtered SBIG ccd and 55mm lens. I've not observed variables for a while now so I really must make an effort to get back into it!! Carbon stars are my favourites!

Mick (AAVSO code CMY)


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RAKing
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Reged: 12/28/07

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Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: Cepheus Elf]
      #5642993 - 01/25/13 05:12 PM

Thanks! I'll have to break out my Canon and give it a whirl.

I actually swore off imaging because of all the extra gear and work, but I would love to take a few pictures of my favorite doubles, variables, and carbon stars.

Cheers,

Ron


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Astrodj
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Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: RAKing]
      #5651499 - 01/30/13 01:10 AM

I'm a sucker for carbon stars. I love them!

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Philler
sage


Reged: 07/15/13

Loc: Kansas, USA
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: Astrodj]
      #6171311 - 11/02/13 12:36 AM

Although I haven't observed variables for years, my favorites were RU Peg and Z Cam. They both had an unpredictability to them to keep me tuned in.

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MtnGoat
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Reged: 02/18/07

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Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: RAKing]
      #6178642 - 11/06/13 04:58 AM

Quote:

Thanks! I'll have to break out my Canon and give it a whirl.

I actually swore off imaging because of all the extra gear and work, but I would love to take a few pictures of my favorite doubles, variables, and carbon stars.

Cheers,

Ron




I think you should! I was in the same boat. For years obsessed with imaging. Got fairly good given my equipment. But then I realized I was tired of it. Wires and computers, always a fuss.

The Canon I picked up changed all that. For basic shots often a single frame will do ya, like a shot of Alberio I took. 20 secs, done. Perfectly nice shot.

Now I can walk out to the scope with Dslr over my shoulder, snap some basics, and call it good. No fuss. Big improvement for the simple shots anyway.

Oh, and my fav is SS cygni. Easy to find, temperamental but reliably so lol. When I told my girlfriend I'd show her a star she could see change brightness, of course she thought I was nuts. Night after night we'd look, till she could find it immediately in the field on her own. The three stars curved in an arc pointing at it. The two very faint friends in tight.

She started to think I was pulling her leg. No honey, one of these nights you won't be able to find it even though you can see it, because the field will look all wrong. So finally one night, I center it up, it's her turn. Where is it? It's right there. You're tricking me I don't see it. No, find the arc. Hmm, I do see that.... Holy cow it's as bright as the corner star,last nite it wasnt!

All night she went on about seeing a star that changed. She told her friends, no one believes her lol

Edited by MtnGoat (11/06/13 05:09 AM)


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SusanY
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Reged: 02/05/13

Loc: Cape Town, South Africa
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: PCygniii]
      #6208082 - 11/21/13 05:59 PM

Quote:

I have to admit my favorite variables are big, freaky, unstable and unpredictable stars...




Eta Carinae


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MtnGoat
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Reged: 02/18/07

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Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: SusanY]
      #6208356 - 11/21/13 08:56 PM

I wish, Susan!

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The Mighty Mo
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Reged: 10/12/13

Loc: South of North, North of South...
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: MtnGoat]
      #6208375 - 11/21/13 09:08 PM

Looking at my Favorites List and Notes in SkyTools, my three favorite variables are also color contrasted doubles, making them my three favorite doubles.
Albireo
RS Cyg
WZ Cas


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JRiggs
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Reged: 07/08/13

Loc: Western New York
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: The Mighty Mo]
      #6209755 - 11/22/13 03:53 PM

I observed for the AAVSO from 1980 to 1992. Since then I have concentrated more on deep sky objects, but I still can find SS Cygni from memory and always enjoy seeing it in outburst.

Edited by JRiggs (11/22/13 03:55 PM)


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Glen A W
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Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: USA
Re: What's your favorite Variable Star? new [Re: Rich (RLTYS)]
      #6210304 - 11/22/13 09:26 PM

S Per - I always started at the Double Cluster and hopped my way along to it. I haven't check it in years, though. Lack of time!

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