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Cosmic Challenge: Zeta (ζ) Cancri

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#26 Voyager 3

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Posted 10 March 2021 - 11:11 AM

Here's a thought:  Every month, along with the challenge object of the month,  include an interesting double so there's something for those who can't get out to dark skies.

 

Jon

waytogo.gif waytogo.gif +1 .


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#27 Eclipsed

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Posted 10 March 2021 - 01:53 PM

I'm all for Jon's great idea.  I am also in a poor viewing area with no really dark skies, and it's about a Bortle 6/7 zone (suburbs of Cincinnati).  The nearest two good dark sky sites are both about 1-1/2 hrs away from my home, so I haven't even taken the C8 Edge to either site yet.  I have been observing planets, Moon, a few globular clusters and doubles/multiples mostly.  Since the planets aren't in ideal positions (for me that is, as I don't like getting up early in the morning), I have been focusing (pun intended) on some of these great Winter and Spring doubles.  I find them very interesting and I'm always up for a good challenge!  


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#28 Stargazer3236

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Posted 10 March 2021 - 06:06 PM

Here is my take on Zeta Cancri with my Nexstar 8SE OTA taken the other night under good conditions:

Attached Thumbnails

  • zeta cancri_00001 03_27_12Z_Zeta_Cancri.jpg

Edited by Stargazer3236, 10 March 2021 - 06:08 PM.

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#29 Wallyl

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Posted 11 March 2021 - 11:05 AM

Zeta Cancer is also known by the name TEGMAN...and is found on most Celestron telescope keypads (Handcontrollers)---you select...

 

LIST

DOUBLE STARS

Using your arrow keys ...select TEGMAN

 

It is high in eastern sky an hour after sunset...

 

Thank you Phil for for being the topic starter---looking forward to future topics from you.  

 

BTW  Iota Cancer is nearby...it is an easy yellow and blue star double...kind of interesting to view it and then slew over to Almach to compare them.  I find it fascinating to do comparisosns of smiliar objects as it forces me to be a more discerning observer.  Iota Cancer is also on the Celestron Double star list.  I find it interesting to slew between different d-stars to appreciate them more.  


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#30 Wallyl

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Posted 12 March 2021 - 07:47 AM

I did get out last night again with my Nexstar 11 GPS.  The CSC showed "poor" seeing and it was a tad better than that, but not by much.  I slewed over to Tegman (Zeta CNC); using a 13mm TV Plossl (215X) I noticed that one of the double stars looked odd: it was actually two stars, separated by a thin ribbon of dark sky.  It wasn't easy to see as the stars were shimmering.  I have a 6" APO; I dare say that it probably would have shown it "better".   I then viewed numerous objects in the late winter sky...mostly Open Clusters. But I did go back to view Tegman a no. of times.   I also viewed Mars using 215X... just a salmon fuzzy ball of light showing gibbous phase.   Also had to take a peek at nearby Uranus; a soft light green disk.


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#31 Redbetter

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Posted 13 March 2021 - 02:02 AM

The sky finally cleared off in the early evening, so I decided to target Zeta Cnc in the backyard tonight.  Seeing was mediocre.  I started with the 127 Mak at ~233x.  The triplet showed nicely, with the tighter pair forming a nice ~N/S touching duo, the northern component clearly dimmer.

 

I then tried the AT72EDII.  This made the closer binary, Zeta 1, unresolvable, although at 144x there were some indications of the N/S elongation, more of a blurring on the north side.  At 216x this was somewhat more apparent.  It clearly wasn't round like Zeta 2.

 

With the ED80 there was clearly more elongation of Zeta 1 at 200x than with the AT72EDII;  and at 300x there was a hint that there might be a weak notch, more of an unresolved overlapping ghost "double image."


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#32 DAG792

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Posted 13 March 2021 - 02:28 AM

I resolved Zeta Cancri with my 6 inch Starblast last night. The seeing was good, and so I could clearly see it as 'split' at around 150X, but the best view was at around 240X. It's a great triple star, and I think it should be resolvable in even a 4 inch telescope. 

 

Is there a required "amount of power" needed to split a double for a given separation? That is, for Zeta CNC with a separation of 1.1", does one need 240x to split the double regardless of how much aperture one uses? Seems to me that would be the case... but I could be wrong. 

 

Obviously, the magnitude of the stars plays into the equation. hmmm. 

Even though this question wasn't meant for me, but still.

I think that the relevant yardstick here is exit pupil, not magnification. Even if you have perfect(20/15 or even better) eyesight, your eye is typically not diffraction limited above about 1.5-2.5 mm. You can see this by putting in a eyepiece that gives you a 5 mm exit pupil in your telescope. All the stars appear spiky(the effect vanishes after a while because your pupil contracts) and this is not due to the scope, but due to the eye. A smaller scope, however, will be operating at a smaller exit pupil at the same magnification, and thus the image will look 'better'.

I'll give you a real life example. My 6 inch F/5 Newt gives a 5 mm exit pupil at about 30X.

I have a homemade 40 mm finderscope with interchangeable eyepieces. At around 30X, the image appears cleaner, if very dim as compared to the 6 incher.

 

So, I think that you need at least a 1-2 mm exit pupil in any size scope to resolve a near-diffraction-limit double. Of course, I may be wrong, but this has certainly been my experience while observing.


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#33 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 13 March 2021 - 03:44 AM

So, I think that you need at least a 1-2 mm exit pupil in any size scope to resolve a near-diffraction-limit double. Of course, I may be wrong, but this has certainly been my experience while observing.

 

 

:waytogo:

 

My own thinking goes like this:

 

For most doubles, the most aesthetically pleasing view is in a scope where the split is about twice the Dawes limit.  The double-double is about 2.3", twice the 1.15" Dawes of a 4 inch.  The best view will be with an exit pupil of 1mm or less.

 

This is based on experience but there's rational to support it. The first minimum of the Airy disk is the Rayleigh criteria, the first minima of one star passes through the center of the second star. Under these circumstances, the disks are overlapping though it may not seem that way.

 

Double the Rayleigh Criteria and now the minimums are aligned, an optimal condition, doubling the Dawes limit is somewhat less optimal but its in this range where clean splits can be made without pushing the scope too hard. 

 

With a scope that's say an 8 inch rather than a 4 inch, seeing and cool down can be more of and as you say, the eye likes smaller exit pupils so the eye will require more magnification just get a clean image.

 

For a 1.1" double, an 8 inch might be about optimal aesthetically.

 

Thursday night I was able to see the closer pair elongated in my 80 mm F/6 ED doublet at about 200x.

 

 

Jon


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#34 rugby

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Posted 13 March 2021 - 10:47 AM

Zeta Cnc has long been a favourite  spring double for me. This season I used an 80mm SW ed instead of the usual 6-inch refractor. At 200x using a 3 mm Delite the elongation was obvious especially when compared with the C component. Time to try  60mm.

 

I would like to know of those who can see Zeta as a naked eye star.


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#35 Redbetter

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Posted 13 March 2021 - 01:38 PM

 

I would like to know of those who can see Zeta as a naked eye star.

Anyone should be able to see it naked eye in rural sky.  At ~4.6 magnitude combined, I detect it naked eye in the suburbs (red zone.)  


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#36 Wallyl

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Posted 13 March 2021 - 09:33 PM

Was out again tonight w/my Nexstar 11 to view Zeta Cancer,,,,the seeing was so bad that I couldn't split.  Beta Mon is also  available and is a delightful triple that is similiar to Zeta Cancer.  It is included in the Nexstar double star list. 


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#37 Wallyl

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Posted 14 March 2021 - 10:59 AM

Here is a picture of Beta Mon......all the stars are "B" and are white.

 

 post-11137-14071009251692_thumb.jpg


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#38 Eclipsed

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Posted 14 March 2021 - 03:18 PM

Here is a picture of Beta Mon......all the stars are "B" and are white.

I also had a go at Beta Mon (sorry to step away from thread topic!). 
edit: I’ll repost in the Double Star thread!


Edited by Eclipsed, 14 March 2021 - 04:58 PM.

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#39 StarAlert

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Posted 14 March 2021 - 04:33 PM

There is an entire forum dedicated to Double Stars in the Observing Forum. If someone wants to post pictures of Beta Mon it's probably more appropriate to do it there, under a new thread. 


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#40 JoshUrban

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 07:58 AM

Thanks for a great challenge, Phil!  I'm mostly a DSO guy, and often overlook things like this.  Thanks for providing a nice first view.  I was able to split all three components with my 12.5" dob and mediocre seeing from the greater DC area the other night.  Keep up the great work!


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#41 Astrojensen

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 03:03 PM

Just had an hour or so under fairly good skies. Zeta Cancri AB was *just* split at 187x  (6mm Zeiss ortho) in my 102/1122mm ED. I could just barely see the thinnest black line imaginable between them. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


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#42 Eclipsed

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Posted 20 March 2021 - 02:25 PM

I’m going to have another look tonight (if the sky stays clear).  It’s well worth another look and I’m going to try more eyepieces to see what looks the best.  If it’s super clear and stable, another photo is worth a go.  


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#43 Eclipsed

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Posted 21 March 2021 - 09:30 AM

Last night was clear and not too bad as far as seeing conditions.  A little breezy, which causes some jitter when viewing at higher magnifications.  Visually, I was able to just split the tighter pair of Zeta Cancri 1a and 1b.

 

1. Celestron 40mm Plossl (51x):  If I looked just right, I could barely split Zeta 1 and Zeta 2.

2. APM 30mm 2" Ultra Flat Field (68x):  Clearer split of Zeta 1 and 2 but no sign of Zeta 1a/b split

3. Baader 17.5mm Morpheus (116x): Great clear view of Zeta 1 and 2.  Zeta 1 showed a slight elongated shape but I couldn't see a clean split.

4. Baader 17.3mm plus 2x Orion Barlow (232x):  Finally I could clearly see all three stars.  Quite shaky and some atmospheric issues but from time to time a very nice view.

 

Then I snapped a short video using my SvBony camera and the Orion Barlow.  The video had a quite a lot of smudgy images but there were enough very decent images in there to allow some simple processing to get an image.  This was a quicky and I didn't spend much time finessing the image quality:

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Zeta Cancri Image Details.png

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#44 radiofm74

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Posted 24 March 2021 - 02:51 AM

I finally managed it! Average seeing and above the roof of my house, and yet with my 6" Newtonian at my highest power (6mm eyepiece + 2.25 Barlow = 281x) Zeta 1 and 2 Zeta A and B were a clean split. It was a lovely sight, and the challenge taught me a lot about observing doubles: being patient, identifying their tiny Airy disks when at high power, getting help from color differences (not on Tegmine… but on Izar it was key to spotting the secondary). I also think this challenge gave me full confidence in my scope and in my ability to collimate it properly.  It's certainly not a fancy model but given average conditions it managed to split stars not too far from its theoretical Dawes' limit of 0.8".

After Tegmine I've gone for more doubles and had lots of fun – loved Izar and Xi Boo. K Leonis resisted me. The bright moonlit sky may have had a role, as the secondary is so dim.

 

Tonight seeing is forecast to be great and I'll go for another doubles round! Thanks Phil, and thanks to all who contributed to the discussion!


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#45 radiofm74

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Posted 24 March 2021 - 11:24 AM

EDIT: I wrote Zeta 1 and Zeta 2… I meant the two components of Zeta 1 were a clean split… DOH! ;D



#46 radiofm74

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Posted 30 March 2021 - 12:27 PM

Renewed thanks to Phil! I'm just dropping one more message to say that Tegmine has now become a favorite of mine and every time I'm in that corner of the sky I always pay a visit. And what a goldmine of interesting multiple stars that corner of the sky is! Bright Castor right above, blue and white Iota Cnc and lovely 57 Cnc above the Beehive, colorful 38 Lyn just a bit farther North, with its two Struve companions right and left… not to mention impregnable k Leo (my 6" hasn't cracked that one yet!).

 

I am looking forward to the next Challenge!


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#47 Sasa

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Posted 30 March 2021 - 03:37 PM

Thanks Phil for this article. Somehow I missed this very nice triple. I checked it tonight with my 82mm refractor. The wider pair was already visible in 40mm eyepiece at 42x. Switching to 16mm eyepiece (104x) showed the Airy disc of main component slightly elongated in PA~0 in contrast with circle shape of the second component. The 6mm eyepiece (278x) showed then beautiful tripple system. In calm moments I could clearly see that the main component was in fact two slightly overlapping discs. Here is a quick sketch with rough orientation from my logbook

 

zetaCnc_20210330.png


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#48 Eclipsed

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Posted 30 March 2021 - 04:19 PM

Excellent sketch Sasa.  I wish I was more artistic as there are some things that my camera just does not show well (like splitting Rigel).


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#49 Astro-Master

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Posted 31 March 2021 - 02:13 PM

Last night I observed Zeta Cancri in my Stellarvue 105mm triplet F/7 using a TV 3-6 Zoom. 

 

Observing from my back yard in a Bortle 8 zone on a 450 foot hill about 13 miles from the ocean I often get good seeing conditions.  Last night was about 3.5 / 5.  Using the zoom at 3mm (245x) I was getting a hint of a split.

 

Using a quality 2x barlow with the zoom at 250x showed the tiniest of a split, so I zoomed to 300x and the view was better, and another click to 375x for the best view of the night, three perfect airy disks with the tiny space between the A and B components.

 

You got to love the perfect star images in a quality refractor! 


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#50 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 31 March 2021 - 07:29 PM

Ahhhh my favorite. Phil, it's always an honor having you around. 

Steady skies!

DoctorD


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