Friday, June 24, 2011

Serpents Double Treasures & Post 3rd Quarter Moon 6/23/11

We are in a string of nice weather with cooler than normal temps. Last night was one of those nights to grab since the pickings have been slim over the past 6 months. First observation was the setting sun - my it stayed twilight around here till almost 10 p.m local time! Then the temps really started to drop and a lite jacket was required.

Saturn and Gamma Virginis are now beginning to separate as our Earth moves further away from Saturn in our orbit about the Sun. It has been fun to watch them close in on each other and now separate.

All day I had had been thinking about a double star observe in Serpens Caput with it being in good position early evening in the south. My sky gets worse as you move toward the south west with Reno city lights doing its part in sky decay. So now is my time to handle the wiggly serpent and tease out doubles both easy and hard. Here is some of what I looked at with AT106 as my observing buddy for the evening:

Sturve 1930 : just below M5 is a nice triple with a pale yellow primary and reddish secondary, and a dim third party to the dance of ? color.

6 Ser is a tough one to split at 3" or so. The primary is a lovely pale yellow and the second slightly dimmer star is bluish. This system is also located right below M5.

Delta Ser is a gem if your skies are good and seeing is steady! At 4" it is close with a big mag difference between the two stars but the colors of yellow/pale blue are striking! THIS IS A GOOD ONE!

Beta Ser offers a real nice mag difference with very subtle colors of a brilliant white and pale blue. At 32" in the split it is a easy bag for anyone starting out on doubles!

There were more but these are easy captures for any level patio observer! Serpens is loaded with doubles but most are tough splits or really wide ones! The wide ones can loose the contrast of the colors but I do try to tease out the details! The close ones do require good skies, reasonable optics and patience. One double last night had me for 45 minutes fighting for a glimpse of the second - a pretty red one at that! Oh my is that the fall sky I see rising in our east and northeast at 12 a.m?

Luna started my day at 6 a.m after a evening of Serpent handling & 5.5 hours of sleep. I am gonna be sleep deprived for awhile while I catch up on my observing and answer Mr. Drive By Astro's not to kind text messages in the wee morning!

This new bag of jolt ( courtesy of my son Jeremy!) should help me clear out the cob webs!

With Luna one day past third quarter and the tilt opening in the south and west there was lots to see - just move the shadow line in the pic toward Plato and you will get a feel for the view this Thursday morning. So in between views the Patio universe Guy is also the Landscape Universe Guy as lawn, scrub and pond care is required this morning.

Amazing how astronomy can fit into everyday routines!

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