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R Leonis observed

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#1 flt158

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Posted 08 April 2022 - 05:38 PM

Hello everyone.

 

Thursday night 7th April 2022 was clear. The clouds moved into the Irish Sea. So I set up my William Optics 158mm f/7 apochromatic refractor at about 8.30pm. My finder scope is a WO 70mm f/6 apo. It is set at 11x. 

 

For many years I have known about the variable star R Leonis. But it’s only now that I have finally observed it for the first time. Ever since I heard a fellow Irishman talk about this fascinating star at an astronomy weekend in the 2000s I have studied the star from various sources. My Celestial Handbook by Robert Burnham covers all the important details on R Leonis. Seeing I have been observing some doubles in Leo, is it not about time I observed this very famous star that is about 5˚ west of Regulus? It's positioned very close to the south of 18 and 19 Leonis. What a sheer beauty R Leo is! Its spectral class ranges from M6 to M9.5 as it varies in magnitude. Do you ever get tired at looking for M class stars and discovering they are merely orange? Well, the star R Leonis is definitely a very red star. Indeed I reckon it’s the reddest star I have ever observed! It brings great delight to see a non-orange star all magnifications even from 11x with my small apo. With my main scope at powers 40x, 112x, 140x, 167x, 225x and 280x I can safely say that R Leonis is red all the way. I will be giving it an estimated magnitude of precisely 9.0 over on www.aavso.org .

 

Thank you for reading my latest report.

 

Clear skies from Aubrey.


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#2 KMA

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Posted 09 April 2022 - 07:03 AM

R Leo  min.jpg Here are my 10 visual observations of R Leo

catching minimum.

6inch f10 refractor with 30mm eyepiece used.

best wishes

KMA


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#3 flt158

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Posted 09 April 2022 - 07:36 AM

Thank you very much, KMA. 

I'm so glad you observed R Leonis on 10 occasions in 2021. 

 

I would love to see this extraordinary M class star at its minimum and, come to think of it, would love to see it near its maximum. 

Even owners of small telescopes or binoculars would have a super time of observing R Leo. 

 

Clear skies to you my friend from Aubrey. 



#4 Bean614

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Posted 09 April 2022 - 08:47 AM

Thanks for the write-up Aubrey!  Like yourself, I have also ignored R-Leonis for far too long.  While not a zealous 'Star' observer (Doubles, Variables, etc. just don't rock my boat!), I LOVE Carbon/Red Stars!  Last night, because of the approx. 50% illuminated moon, I was 'testing' a different Camera tripod for my Grab-N-Go ST80.  The Manfrotto/Bogen was certainly more stable than a similar one I was using, and I remembered your post.  Regulus was high, approaching the Meridian.  SkySafari was most helpful being used as my 'Chart' for the evening.  With a 7-21mm Zoom EP, I had to really stare to be sure I had it.  Going to 7mm (a mere 57X) it was obvious I was on R Leonis!  Even at THAT low magnification (That Zoom stays in the Diagonal on that scope, and that's ALL I use with it--- out the door in one piece!) the extreme 'redness' of the thing was VERY impressive!  My backyard skies are Bortle-4 (frequently better) and I really enjoyed my observations.  After that, the 'new' tripod having earned its place under my ST80, I just moved over to the Moon and caught the last few minutes of the Lunar-X.  Nice, quick, enjoyable, worthwhile 'Testing Night'!


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#5 gustavo_sanchez

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Posted 09 April 2022 - 09:12 AM

Will try to observe it myself tonight if the weather allows
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#6 flt158

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Posted 09 April 2022 - 09:27 AM

Thanks for the write-up Aubrey!  Like yourself, I have also ignored R-Leonis for far too long.  While not a zealous 'Star' observer (Doubles, Variables, etc. just don't rock my boat!), I LOVE Carbon/Red Stars!  Last night, because of the approx. 50% illuminated moon, I was 'testing' a different Camera tripod for my Grab-N-Go ST80.  The Manfrotto/Bogen was certainly more stable than a similar one I was using, and I remembered your post.  Regulus was high, approaching the Meridian.  SkySafari was most helpful being used as my 'Chart' for the evening.  With a 7-21mm Zoom EP, I had to really stare to be sure I had it.  Going to 7mm (a mere 57X) it was obvious I was on R Leonis!  Even at THAT low magnification (That Zoom stays in the Diagonal on that scope, and that's ALL I use with it--- out the door in one piece!) the extreme 'redness' of the thing was VERY impressive!  My backyard skies are Bortle-4 (frequently better) and I really enjoyed my observations.  After that, the 'new' tripod having earned its place under my ST80, I just moved over to the Moon and caught the last few minutes of the Lunar-X.  Nice, quick, enjoyable, worthwhile 'Testing Night'!

Thank you, Bean 614, for your excellent report!! applause.gif

It's utterly outstanding!

I am extremely pleased your that you have a good camera with your new Grab-N-Go system.  

I wish you great success!

 

I too observed the Lunar X and the Lunar V on Friday night. 

If you wish to, I have reported this fascinating event over on the Lunar Observing forum. 

 

Also I see one other observer on www.aavso.org has agreed with me that R Leonis is of magnitude 9.0 right now. 

I'm very pleased that sometimes I get these magnitudes right. lol.gif

 

Clear skies from Aubrey. 



#7 Bean614

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Posted 09 April 2022 - 09:29 AM

"I am extremely pleased your that you have a good camera"   Nope!  99.9% Visual.


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#8 flt158

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Posted 09 April 2022 - 09:29 AM

Will try to observe it myself tonight if the weather allows

Good man, Gustavo!

I wish you every success in seeking out R Leonis. 

Maybe you can check out estimating its magnitude. waytogo.gif 

 

Clear skies from Aubrey.  


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#9 flt158

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Posted 09 April 2022 - 09:31 AM

"I am extremely pleased your that you have a good camera"   Nope!  99.9% Visual.

Oh sorry!

You are testing a new tripod with your ST80. 

Thank you for correcting me. 


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#10 Bean614

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Posted 09 April 2022 - 10:03 AM

Yes, it's just a lightweight 'camera' tripod, making it truly G-N-G!


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#11 Rutilus

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Posted 10 April 2022 - 04:48 AM

Took this image last night with my 150mm f/8 achromat refractor. Single 3 second exposure with 

f/3.3 focal reducer and Canon DSLR camera. Sky conditions were very hazy, but managed to 

capture several stars (magnitude 12.5 to 14.0) around the two ninth magnitude comparison stars.

 

Visually in the eyepiece R Leo appears redder than shown in the image. Magnitude estimated

at around 9.0.

Attached Thumbnails

  • R-Leonis-09-04-2022.jpg

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#12 flt158

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Posted 10 April 2022 - 07:57 AM

Hello, Rutilus. 

You are always very welcome to give us your excellent images - especially this one of R Leonis.  

Yes. I agree with you that R Leonis would appear redder when viewed with an eyepiece.

But I'm still very pleased with your image.  

And I'm greatly thrilled that you have estimated its magnitude as +9.0 - precisely the same as yours truly.  . 

I'm now wondering if it will become brighter during the coming weeks. 

It all simply means I will need to observe this gorgeous star again and again.

 

Clear skies from one of your biggest fans, Aubrey.    


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#13 Rutilus

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Posted 10 April 2022 - 02:26 PM

Hi Aubrey - The long period (mira type) variables have always been my favorite type

of variable star.  The first one I ever observed was Chi Cygni, and I have loved observing

them ever since.


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#14 *skyguy*

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Posted 10 April 2022 - 04:28 PM

I've only had one run-in with R Leo and it was purely accidental. It happened when I picked a random star in my guidescope to initialize my goto scope. I use an 80mm f/4 achromatic refractor for guiding.

 

With R Leo being unknowingly in the scope's filed-of-view, all I saw on the computer monitor was a huge, fuzzy object. At first, I thought I might have I found a new comet. Next, I checked a star atlas in the area around this "new" object. Hmmm ... R Leo was at this location. R Leo? R Leo? Yes, that's a very red star and my guidescope showed it as a large bloated and fuzzy object. Unfortunately, achromats do a poor job of bringing red and blue light into sharp focus and this star was a great example.

 

What a let down!

 

It's not nice being fooled by Mother Nature!

 

R_Leo_Bloat.jpg


Edited by *skyguy*, 10 April 2022 - 04:29 PM.

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#15 flt158

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Posted 11 April 2022 - 01:22 PM

Hello Sky Guy!

I don't believe I have chatted with you before. 

And how I'm so thrilled with your story and even your black and white image!

You must have gotten R Leonis in your left hand image when the variable star was very near maximum magnitude. 

Do you know when this was?

 

I'm enduring a full week of cloudy skies right now. 

But as soon as I get the next clear night, I will return to R Leonis. 

 

Clear skies from Aubrey. 



#16 Dadoo

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Posted 11 April 2022 - 08:38 PM

Thank you for the report that R Leo is currently at mag 9! I have started following a few variable stars with my 50mm binoculars, and my limiting magnitude is about 8.0. So, with R Leo, I have been waiting for it to appear, and have not seen anything yet. I suppose soon it shall be visible for me! For those morning observers out there, Chi Cygni is quite bright at the moment.
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#17 flt158

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Posted 12 April 2022 - 06:43 AM

Hello Dadoo. 

I'm sorry R Leonis isn't visible with your 50mm binoculars. 

 

But it's official!

According to www.aavso.org R Leonis is getting brighter. 

So even folks with binoculars ought to see it a smidgeon south of 18 and 19 Leonis. 

 

Clear skies from Aubrey. 



#18 jim kuhns

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Posted 13 April 2022 - 08:48 AM

Leslie Peltier first observed Leonis on March first 1918.


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#19 Bean614

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Posted 13 April 2022 - 02:36 PM

Took this image last night with my 150mm f/8 achromat refractor. Single 3 second exposure with 

f/3.3 focal reducer and Canon DSLR camera. Sky conditions were very hazy, but managed to 

capture several stars (magnitude 12.5 to 14.0) around the two ninth magnitude comparison stars.

 

Visually in the eyepiece R Leo appears redder than shown in the image. Magnitude estimated

at around 9.0.

"Visually in the eyepiece R Leo appears redder than shown in the image"....!

 

Yes indeed!!  My wife seems to have referred to it accurately----- "Looks like a small, deep red Tiddly-Winks disc".


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#20 flt158

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Posted 13 April 2022 - 05:02 PM

Your wife is certainly bringing back extremely distant memories for me, Bean 614. lol.gif

Tell her she's a clever girl! waytogo.gif

I must mention her description of R Leonis to my wife. 

 

I had clear skies tonight Wednesday. 

But the gibbous Moon was sitting very near the centre of Leo. 

 

Best regards from Aubrey. 



#21 Rutilus

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Posted 14 April 2022 - 06:30 AM

But it's official!

According to www.aavso.org R Leonis is getting brighter. 

So even folks with binoculars ought to see it a smidgeon south of 18 and 19 Leonis. 

 

Clear skies from Aubrey. 

Aubrey - good to know that R Leo is getting brighter, I hope to observe it for as long as possible

over the next few weeks.

Yesterday I spent the day in the shed making a filter adapter for use with my achromat refractor,

and did some imaging of R Leo last night in spite of the nearby moon.

 

I also tried to capture the UGSS type star X Leonis. Located just one degree east of R leo, 

and very close to the star 21 Leo. I might have just managed to record a faint glimpse of it.

Hopefully it will go into outburst in the next week or so.

21 Leo is also a double star (J 389) with a faint seconday of mag.13.2, while the camera picked

it out, I think I will have to use my larger SCT for a visual look, as the primary is magnitude 6.8.

Images taken with my 6" f/8 achromat and DSLR camera.. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • R+X-Leo.jpg

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#22 flt158

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Posted 14 April 2022 - 10:08 AM

I'm with you, Rutilus!

I cannot wait to get back out under clear skies to re-observe R Leonis for as long as possible. 

We have become partners in observing this fascinating red star. 

I'm quite amazed you bothered to do some observing in Leo on Wednesday night - even though the very bright gibbous Moon was positioned in Leo. 

But I'm glad you did.

You may well have imaged X Leonis here. Thank you, Rutilus! goodjob.gif

 

I'm supposed to have clear skies on Easter Monday. 

 

It's also great to have the following observers seeking out R Leonis: Bean 614, KMA, Dadoo, Jim Kuhns, Sky Guy and Gustavo to name a few. 

Others are very welcome to join us of course. 

 

By the way, I also wish to thank all 400 amateur astronomers who have read this post so far. 

 

Clear skies everyone from Aubrey.  


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#23 Rutilus

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Posted 18 April 2022 - 02:13 AM

Hazy skies again last night. R Leo was easily seen in the eyepiece of my

9x50 finder scope. The red colour was showing very nice. The variable was

fainter than a nearby magnitude 7.5 star, but I would say that it is  around

magnitude 8.0. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • R-Leo-17-04-2022.jpg

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#24 flt158

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Posted 18 April 2022 - 11:14 AM

Lovely image, Rutilus!

Our star R Leonis is very attractive in its redness. 

 

It sure is getting brighter. 

It won't be long before it reaches parity with the 6.4 magnitude 19 Leonis. 

 

I'm still waiting to get a clear night to see it. 

 

There was far too much cloud last Good Friday night. 

 

Best regards, Aubrey. 


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#25 flt158

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Posted 19 April 2022 - 06:01 PM

Hello Rutilus and everyone. 

 

I'm with you, Rutilus!

I observed R Leonis tonight (Tuesday - 19th April)

I'm finding that its colour is orange in its centre and red around its diffraction disc. 

It most definitely is a very beautiful sight. 

I'm now estimating its magnitude as +8.0. 

And I have recorded this magnitude on www.aavso.org. 

That's up from magnitude +9.0 some 12 nights ago. 

My - what a star!

 

I'm supposed to have another clear night tomorrow night. 

Of course you can guess what star I will be observing again. laugh.gif

 

I'm now wondering when it will reach parity with 19 Leonis. 

A very good astronomical friend called Darren was observing R Leonis at the same time as me. 

We both agreed with +8.0 magnitude. 

 

clear skies from Aubrey.  


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