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#1 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 10 September 2020 - 08:33 PM

What would be a good guide to double-star observing with a telescope of 5 inches or less in aperture?  Considering either /Double Stars for Small Telescopes/ by Sissy Haas (Sky & Telescope Publishing, 2007) or /The Cambridge Double Star Atlas/ by Bruce MacEvoy & Wil Tirion (Cambridge University Press, 2015).  Leaning toward the former but both have good reviews.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 10 September 2020 - 08:51 PM.


#2 ButterFly

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Posted 10 September 2020 - 08:51 PM

CDSA is great for that size.  Not too many sub-arcsecond pairs that are crazy.  Burnham's Celestial Handbooks are still quite useful if you can enter designations or transform coordinates.

 

Taki's Double Star Atlas is worth taking a look at.  It comes with a spreadsheet.  Books are constellation oriented just by organization in tables and charts.

 

But of course, SkySafari beats them all with powerful searching features.


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#3 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 10 September 2020 - 09:24 PM

CDSA is great for that size.  Not too many sub-arcsecond pairs that are crazy.  Burnham's Celestial Handbooks are still quite useful if you can enter designations or transform coordinates.

 

Taki's Double Star Atlas is worth taking a look at.  It comes with a spreadsheet.  Books are constellation oriented just by organization in tables and charts.

 

But of course, SkySafari beats them all with powerful searching features.

A printable free guide!  Very nice.  Printing that at home would be cheaper than trying to buy a book.  But not sure what the abbreviations stand for?

 

http://takitoshimi.s...0302_letter.pdf

 

For a printed book from a publishing house, something more than just a list of stars would be nice.  Observing lists are easy to find online too, as opposed to a comprehensive observing guide.  Maybe a little background information on the stars and their observational histories, whether they are physical or visual doubles, and when might the best times to observe be.

 

Like I see SAO 151881 (Sirius) on Toshimi Taki's list, but it looks like the data is out of date, since Sirius B will be at elongation from Sirius A in 2023.  So maybe I should just get the most recently published guide?  It looks like the only printed books on double stars that have been able to reach a Second Edition are the /Cambridge Double Star Atlas/ (2015) and /Observing and Measuring Visual Double Stars/ (R.W. Argyle, Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series, 2012).


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 10 September 2020 - 09:41 PM.


#4 river-z

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Posted 10 September 2020 - 09:30 PM

The Stelle Doppie database is an incredible resource.  I often use to make an observation list according to what I happen to be interested in at the time.  For example, you can ask it to generate a list with stars of a particular type, magnitude, constellation, and separation.  With a telescope of 5" it probably makes sense not to ask it for anything closer than about 2 or 3 arc seconds.

 

https://www.stelledo...2.php?section=1


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#5 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 10 September 2020 - 09:34 PM

CDSA is great for that size.  Not too many sub-arcsecond pairs that are crazy.  Burnham's Celestial Handbooks are still quite useful if you can enter designations or transform coordinates.

 

Taki's Double Star Atlas is worth taking a look at.  It comes with a spreadsheet.  Books are constellation oriented just by organization in tables and charts.

 

But of course, SkySafari beats them all with powerful searching features.

It looks like /Burnham's/ hasn't been updated since 1978....



#6 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 10 September 2020 - 09:36 PM

The Stelle Doppie database is an incredible resource.  I often use to make an observation list according to what I happen to be interested in at the time.  For example, you can ask it to generate a list with stars of a particular type, magnitude, constellation, and separation.  With a telescope of 5" it probably makes sense not to ask it for anything closer than about 2 or 3 arc seconds.

 

https://www.stelledo...2.php?section=1

I was hoping for a printed observing guide that I can read with a flashlight and don't need a computer or phone to use.  :-/  But yeah, might be cheaper to just make my own star lists using databases and computer software.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 10 September 2020 - 09:40 PM.


#7 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 10 September 2020 - 09:48 PM

Just found this in the public domain (from 1879):

 

https://www.archive....e/n15/mode/2up/

 

https://ia800909.us....e01gledgoog.pdf

 

I like that it has observation notes, but the coordinates are for 1880.  Was hoping for something casual and fun, just to get started, maybe learn a little bit about the stars too, with more of a guidebook than just an atlas or catalog.  Then can later upgrade to computer software for more serious observing or more challenging stars.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 10 September 2020 - 09:57 PM.

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#8 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 10 September 2020 - 10:10 PM

From /An Anthology of Visual Double Stars/ (Cambridge University Press, 2019):

 

"Sissy Haas' 2006 publication [/Double Stars for Small Telescopes/] is indispensable for the double star observer who prefers to wander around the sky looking for the best stars to observe [this sounds like me, since I don't really want to look at just one constellation at a time, and I actually find constellation-based guidebooks to be annoying].  Many of the double and multiple stars contained within the pages (and there are more than 2100 systems described) were observed by Mrs Haas using a 60-mm refractor.  A suitable star atlas such as that by MacEvoy and Tirion [the /Cambridge Double Star Atlas/] would be a useful adjunct with this volume...."

 

So that sounds like maybe Haas' book might be the best place for me to start.  Then I wouldn't really need a double-star atlas if I have a regular star atlas instead.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 10 September 2020 - 10:13 PM.

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#9 clearwaterdave

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Posted 11 September 2020 - 01:29 AM

The Haas book is a great start.,The atlas has too many listed that are too close or too far to make it easy to dicide what to look at.,and the info for them is listed in the back of the atlas.,kind of search an hope method.,I like the atlas for it's size.,but not for it's double star help.,

   I find the Interstellium deep sky atlas to have the best double star system for atlas's.,It shows by a line which direction the companion is.,and also it's difficulty in seperation by the lines length.,And it is an atlas well worth owning.,cheers.,



#10 obrazell

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Posted 11 September 2020 - 03:22 AM

The Webb Society has a double star atlas  printed on waterprrof paper. There are five pages that cover the sky and have listings and information on the back. See www.webbdeepsky.com for information.

 

Owen



#11 Tony Flanders

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Posted 11 September 2020 - 07:08 AM

I guess I would recommend the Double Star Atlas if you happen to need an atlas as well as a double-star guide, and Sissy's Haas's book if you do not. They are indeed both excellent -- but of course they can cover only the best and brightest among doubles, in view of the fact that there are tens or hundreds of thousands cataloged, and many more not cataloged.

 

As for tight orbital binaries like Sirius, print simply doesn't cut it, unless you can get a book like Burnham's that actually plots the orbit throughout its entire period. When stars are near periastron, their separation can change fairly dramatically in a matter of months, and no book can be updated that often. For tight orbital binaries, you either need to go online or to use a program or app that has the double stars' orbital elements built into it, and can calculate the positions on the fly.


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#12 desertstars

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Posted 11 September 2020 - 10:05 AM

When I first started using my 8" Newtonian, someone recommended a self-published work by Joe DalSanto, A Field Guide to Double Star Observing. At the time, I bought it either from him directly, or through a club he belonged to - can't recall which it was. I found it to be a fine introduction to the subject and used it extensively as I was learning how to work with the Three-legged Newt. If it's still available, I'd recommend it to someone new of double star observing. A quick check shows that Mr. DalSanto teaches at College of DuPage, a community college in Illinois.


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#13 starblue

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Posted 11 September 2020 - 08:52 PM

Something I haven't seen mentioned is the Night Sky Observer's Guide (pub. by Willmann-Bell, 1998+). Although the emphasis is on DSO's, each constellation chapter starts with a constellation map and the next page contains tables of selected variable and double stars that are all plotted on the map. I don't find the maps suitable to work only from them--you'll need an atlas to provide enough extra stars and the extra magnitude depth to locate the one you're looking for--but you'll know its name and where it is to begin your starhop. RA/Dec are provided too if you prefer go-to.

 

I found them useful enough to go through and photocopy the map and table for each constellation and put them in a binder so I can take just a single page out to the field and not the entire thick, heavy book.


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#14 Swamp Fox

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 12:01 PM

From /An Anthology of Visual Double Stars/ (Cambridge University Press, 2019):

 

"Sissy Haas' 2006 publication [/Double Stars for Small Telescopes/] is indispensable for the double star observer who prefers to wander around the sky looking for the best stars to observe [this sounds like me, since I don't really want to look at just one constellation at a time, and I actually find constellation-based guidebooks to be annoying].  Many of the double and multiple stars contained within the pages (and there are more than 2100 systems described) were observed by Mrs Haas using a 60-mm refractor.  A suitable star atlas such as that by MacEvoy and Tirion [the /Cambridge Double Star Atlas/] would be a useful adjunct with this volume...."

 

So that sounds like maybe Haas' book might be the best place for me to start.  Then I wouldn't really need a double-star atlas if I have a regular star atlas instead.

This would be my recommendation, especially if you already own a star atlas. I'm guessing you own "Anthology" since you quote from it, but if not, that is a nice book as well. Btw, I wouldn't discount Burnham's three volumes as being outdated, that is a classic deserving to be on the shelf of all serious observers! waytogo.gif

 

-Mark



#15 fred1871

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 11:00 PM

Some good suggestions here, along with books that are too dated or too modest in size to be of much use.

 

I'd recommend the Sissy Haas book, as a very useful overview with some notes on aspects of doubles and observing them. It's arranged by constellation, which I find more practical than purely by RA - which, with a pole to pole guide, gives you doubles at -60 and +60 Dec side by side - one will be in view, the other accessible only from the other Hemisphere (depends on you living which side of the Equator). The Haas book is not as good as could be for the quicker binaries, but most of those are very close pairs, so it's not a big deal for most. It is an excellent listing with basic data and observational notes on most of the brighter and more interesting doubles across the whole sky, North Pole to South Pole.

 

The Cambridge Double Star Atlas is useful for quick locating of pairs on a map, with some notes on them in the latter part of the book. Two Editions - the first had information already out of date for too many pairs, and a sub-optimal choice, missing some good'uns and including some of little interest. However the introductory material on doubles and observing was good.

 

The Second Edition included various good doubles that were previously missed, but foolishly tried to leave out optical doubles. That's fine for astrophysics - but not for an observing manual. Various outstanding optical pairs were lost, such as h 4945 in Canis Major. A further problem is that we don't always know which pairs are merely optical, so some exclusions were based on assumptions. As well, the introductory materials are a mix of the standard and the idiosyncratic, hence could be misleading for the newbies.

 

So both editions have their virtues, and their deficiencies. I have both, use them for the maps, which are the usual excellence by Wil Tirion, but wish the choice of stars in each had been done better.

 

For more detailed material on doubles and observing, Bob Argyle's Observing and Measuring Visual Double Stars (preferably 2nd Edition) is excellent.



#16 RocketScientist

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 07:53 PM

What would be a good guide to double-star observing with a telescope of 5 inches or less in aperture?  Considering either /Double Stars for Small Telescopes/ by Sissy Haas (Sky & Telescope Publishing, 2007) or /The Cambridge Double Star Atlas/ by Bruce MacEvoy & Wil Tirion (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

These two books complement each other very well.  It's hard to beat Haas' book with detailed lists of doubles giving both data on position, color, spectra, etc. and observer notes.  But Haas does not provide any charts for most of the list, so you need an atlas to go with it.

 

The CDSA is a good general reference sky atlas as well as a dedicated atlas for doubles, but it doesn't provide the detailed information in the Haas book.



#17 Tony Flanders

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 05:41 AM

Some good suggestions here, along with books that are too dated or too modest in size to be of much use.


I'm not sure how a double-star book could be dated. Seems to me that visual double-star observing is something that has barely changed since the invention of the flint/crown achromat. Probably the majority of double stars observed by amateurs today were cataloged by FGW Struve in 1827.


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#18 payner

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 09:48 PM

Great suggestions have been provided. I will add Burnham's 3-volume set should be added to any amateur astronomer's bookshelf, and used. It does plot some star orbits and you'll pick up on the enthusiasm/passion that drove this man. I'll add Sissy Haas' book as one every double star enthusiast should have on hand.

As for atlases, there is no definitive one, but a number of good to excellent ones. As has been mentioned, don't discount the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas. I find it a great all-around atlas.



#19 fred1871

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 08:39 AM

I'm not sure how a double-star book could be dated. Seems to me that visual double-star observing is something that has barely changed since the invention of the flint/crown achromat. Probably the majority of double stars observed by amateurs today were cataloged by FGW Struve in 1827.

Too dated is the Crossley, Gledhill etc item from the late 1800s. A good resource for those of us who are involved with the history, but not all that useful as a current guide to observing doubles for the backyard observer. The Webb Society Atlas struck me as rather slight. Others may find it useful.

 

Methodology of observing (visual) doesn't change a lot, but information on doubles does, for a great many of them. Again, for the current observer, something like Haas is useful in giving basic data that's not too much out of date except for some binaries that are short period, or were, like Gamma Virginis, near periastron when she put the book together.

 

Struve? yes, a large proportion of the brighter doubles for Northern observers. But more up to date information on those that have changed since the early 1800s is what observers now, approaching 200 years later, will want.




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