I observed from Powell Observatory in Louisburg Kansas Wednesday evening, 15 September at the invitation of a friend and had a fine DSO session despite the 72% illuminated waxing gibbous moon (basically by confining my observations to Cepheus and Cassiopeia on the opposite side of the sky ). I've been spending a lot of time hanging out in the region near Herschel's Garnet Star, thanks to Nuge and his reports/diagrams of STF 2816 and the "pinwheel" cluster (IC 1396) along with comments and observations from other contributors.
SA2K == Sky Atlas 2000 / UM2K == Uranometria 2000
STF 2816 Cepheus
21h39m +57*29' / SA2K: 3; UM2K: 19
AD 5.73/7.53 20.6" pa 339*
AC 5.73/7.48 11.8" pa 121*
The C/D components are easily seen with the 10XL (10/7/5 XW). C was a challenge to resolve with the 82XL+20XW, but could just be seen. Astigmatism factor here. lol Easier with the 14XWs. The C/D stars are light blue and the primary is a warm white. This is a delightful triple. Note: Saturday evening, I observed 2816 with the 82XL+20XWs again (while trying the 82XL out on an OB 5000 head I swapped out for the 608 NitroTech). After confirming the difficulty of the C component with my uncorrected (somewhat astigmatic vision), I refocused and observed with glasses and to my delight found the C component easily seen as a sharp point just separated from the primary. Really a lovely view. More and more I am shifting to observing primarily with glasses rather than without. (Also found that fainter stars are seen with my corrected vision.)
STI 2582 Cepheus
21h39m +57*29' / SA2K: 3; UM2K: 19
AB 8.38/11.42 20.9" pa 187*
B component challenging due to the moonlight. Seen steadily in averted vision with the 100XL+5XW (112x). Primary seems bluish.
STF 2819 Cepheus
21h40m +57*35' / SA2K: 3; UM2K: 19
AB 7.44/8.64 12.9" pa 59*
100XL+7XW Warm white and amber. Magnitude difference seems like more than 1.2x. Well separated.
STF 2813 Cepheus
21h36m +57*28' / SA2K: 3; UM2K: 19
AB 9.21/9.72 10.2" pa 273*
100XL+7XW. Maybe(!) tints of yellow and blue. A neat double with the 100XL.
IC 1396 OC Cepheus
21h39.1m +57*30' / SA2K: 3; UM2K: 19
Distance 2,600 ly; Trumpler II 3 m. Embedded in IC 1396 emission nebula.
100XL-SD+10XW and 82XL-ED+14XW Pinwheel shape nicely framed in both instruments. All stars resolved with hints of enveloping IC 1396 nebula. Pinwheel more of a feeling than a definite shape with these instruments. The pinwheel figure seemed more explicit the following night from my driveway with the APM 16x70 and Oberwerk 15x70 binoculars. Large, sparse, with a large range in magnitude. A fun view for sure.
HD 207328 Cepheus
This is an intensely orange (eg red) giant star that would probably be more admired if it weren't so close to Herschel's Garnet star, much more famous (and massive), one of the largest stars known. Anyway, the color is intense and pleasing even in moderate sized binoculars. Worth picking out.
STF 2840 Cepheus
21h52m +55*48' / SA2K: 3; UM2K: 19
AB 5.64/6.42 18.1" pa 197*
A splendid double with the XL BTs, both stars brilliant white. Just west of the IC 1396 region in a chain of stars extending from 21 Cephei. I subsequently observed this with 10x50/12x50/15 and 16x70 binoculars (Thursday 16 September). All mounted. Seen as two stars in contact with the 10x50, barely resolved with the 12x, and very close but resolved with 15x and 16x70 instruments.
NGC 7281, 7261, 7235, 7234 OCs Cepheus
Had a look at these clusters in the triangular asterism including Delta Cephei. NGC 7235 is the most obvious – a group of 10-12 stars in averted, with a hint of nebulosity from unresolved members. Need to revisit sans moonlight and with a more detailed chart.
NGC 7380 OC Cepheus
22h47m +58*06' / SA2K: 3; UM2K: 19
Discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1787. 100XL+20WX and 82XL+14XW. Easily seen despite moonlight. The cluster has a wedge shape with many faint members in averted between a "V" of brighter stars. Quite lovely. Two nearby doubles add interest to the view. The closer double is warm white with a gray companion (STT 480). The farther exhibits a significant magnitude difference, blue white primary with gray secondary (not catalogued as a double – HD 215907/HD 240068). Nebulosity around this cluster (the wizard or flying horse nebula?) is faint and difficult to see visually but overwhelms and obscures the cluster in astro images.
The open cluster M 52 in Cassiopeia is not far from NGC 7380, along the same line followed from Delta Cephei. One pleasure of binocular astronomy is that in exploring star fields, one begins to realize that often visited DSOs (like M52) are in closer proximity to whatever starfield than had previously been understood (when observing with a telescope and star hopping to specific objects). It really puts the sky into a broader, holistic context. The first few times this happens, stumbling on some well known DSO and being startled to find it so near, is a pleasant surprise. That is followed by getting a better sense of star field layout, actually learning to find one's way through various starfields because they become so familiar, and then finding more and more fine objects -- double stars, carbon stars, pleasing asterisms, subtle clusters, etc. -- that had previously been overlooked despite being within a few degrees of a frequently observed object.
I've spent four or more nights concentrating on this region in Cepheus and adjacent star fields in Cassiopeia, and while this might seem like an extensive list, I've actually logged a number of additional objects (which I plan to report in a subsequent post). That includes a quite wonderful and wide color contrast binocular double that is at the apex of an asterism that looks like a miniature version of Cepheus in Cepheus. (ARY 43).
Thank you for reading (or even skimming) my report.
Edited by Fiske, 19 September 2021 - 04:55 PM.