January 2017 observations so far

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5 months 1 week ago - 5 months 1 week ago #106403 by flt158
flt158 created the topic: January 2017 observations so far
Hello, all. These are some of my observations from 1st to 13th January 2017. As ever, I use a 158 mm William Optics apochromatic refractor and a 70 mm small apo as a guide scope with diagonals fitted. My north is mostly up and east is to the right.
Sunday 1st January. I only had time before the rain came to observe the first of two planetary conjunctions. Mars (mag: +0.9) was a mere 30 arc seconds from Neptune. I had no problem fitting in the 2 planets at 40X in a 2" 28 mm eyepiece. Even when Mars has a very small disc, it stills shows us a strong orange colour.

Monday 2nd January. My problem this time was not rain but the dreaded dew which attacked my scopes after 7 o'clock. 1. However Venus was 1 degree from Iota Aquarii. The star had a blue tint. Both planet and star were fitted in the same fov at 40X. A 4 day old Moon was nearby with Earthshine and it was positioned between Venus and Mars.
2. I revisited Mars and Neptune and noticed with Guide 8 that there is a double star near Neptune: Stf 2935 can be split at 140X. A is +6.8, B is 7.9. The separation is 2.4 arc seconds; the PA is 306 degrees. What a nice surprise.
3. I used 225X and 280X on Neptune to reveal a blue disc.

Tuesday 10th January.
1. Observed -4.4 magnitude Venus at 112X and 52% illuminated.
2. I had discovered a few days earlier that the famous Y shaped asterism was north of Venus. I thought that I should take the opportunity to have a look at Zeta Aquarii. And what a splendid binary it truly is. Back in 2000, its separation was only 1.8 arc seconds, but now it is 2.2" and it is easily split at 112X. The magnitudes are 4.3 and 4.5. It also looks stunning at 140X. It has a rare name: Sadaltager. The PA is 159 degrees.
I called it a night when some drizzle arrived.

Thursday 12th January.
A 2nd planetary conjunction in 2 weeks! Venus and Neptune were only 25 arc minutes apart. So even with my 6.7 mm eyepiece at 167X, both planets fitted in the same fov.

Friday 13th January. Remarkable clear night even with quite a strong wind. The telescope was busy for 3.5 hours.
1. Started with Venus with its 50% phase. Its disc is quite decent in size: 24.7 arc seconds. At 167X, I noticed that the northern cusp was brighter than the rest of the planet.
2. Mars had a tiny orange globe even at 167X.
3. I thought then I should see how many carbon stars I could observe in one night. It turned out to be 6. These were UY Andromedae, SU And, VX And, AQ And and Hip 4252. The latter was hardly orange at all. But it did show me the way to a very tight double. More about that in a moment. The 6th carbon star was the strong bright orange Z Piscium. That first one UY And was extremely faint -about magnitude +10. But it was a dim strong red. It was just as well it was right next to a +7.8 mag called TYC 2832 1097. It is strange that this star is across the border into Perseus. The 2 stars are only 5 arc minutes apart. My favourite carbon star in Andromeda is without a doubt VX Andromedae. It is bright enough to be viewed even at 11X in my guidescope. It must be magnitude +8. There is a nice triangle of stars nearby.
4. The last object I wish to discuss with you is 36 Andromedae. Its separation is a very tight 1.1 arc seconds. And the PA is 330 degrees. The magnitudes are +5.5 and +5.9. So it is easy to find in any finderscope. Of course the real challenge is splitting it. Even at 167X, there is only 1 star. But 225X, I see there are 2 stars but they are not separated. So out came my 4 mm William Optics eyepiece which gives me 280X, and despite the wind which was now decreasing a little, I could see a tiny black gap between A and B. This could well be my favourite new binary of 2017! I must try it again next autumn. Why don't you give it a try now folks? It is still high in the western sky at 10 pm. I hear that we do have some clear skies coming on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Maybe I will be giving 36 Andromedae another visit this time in more stable conditions.

That's it from me.
Thank you for reading.

Clear skies,
Last Edit: 5 months 1 week ago by flt158.
The following user(s) said Thank You: michael_murphy, Kinch, Fermidox, mariosi

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5 months 1 week ago #106404 by john5
john5 replied the topic: January 2017 observations so far
As usual great report Aubrey.
Have been bit lazy myself on observing front lately but hopefully your observations will re-motivate me! Is that a word ?

Have a good year .


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  • flt158
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5 months 1 week ago #106405 by flt158
flt158 replied the topic: January 2017 observations so far
It is great to hear from you, John.
Why not have a shot at Venus?
It does sport a lovely strong white.

I am definitely going to Cosmos 2017.

In the meantime, see if you can use high magnification to separate 36 Andromedae.
Or anyone else for that matter.

Yeah, I like that word re-motivate.


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