By Dave Fuller on 8/25/2014 2:18 PM
Unlike the previous double star, HD 213067, our next double star is a bit harder to locate, but it's worth seeking out. For one, it's not just a double star at the eyepiece, it's a triple star. HD 215812 / HIP 112559 is a 7.2 magnitude star located northeast of Sigma Aquarii. But it may be easier to find by locating Lambda Aquarii, a star that can be found pretty easily by extending the "Nashira -> Deneb Algiedi" line in Capricornus out ~20 degrees (learn how to measure distance in the sky here).

Find double star STF 2944

At Lambda, an average finderscope of 6x26 or larger can show where to go, because at 3.7 magnitude, Lamdba is easily seen now. Moving northward in the direction of Zeta Pegasi, a 7 degrees field of...
By Dave Fuller on 8/25/2014 9:35 AM
When looking at planetarium software for objects I discuss in weekly Eyes on the Sky videos, I often see interesting objects I wouldn't necessarily find if I were looking for them in the night sky. That is because I am usually looking at the software with a wider field of view than I can usually see through an eyepiece. In addition, this summer has been absolutely terrible for observing where I am located; some forest fires up in Canada coupled with weather systems that keep a near constant cirrus-to-full-stratus-cloud cover has made it hard to get much good observing accomplished.

So while looking for the appropriate star hop waypoints to find Neptune in the sky, I noticed there were some interesting sights nearby to the last landmark - ummm... skymark? - to reach Neptune, Sigma Aquarii. Now that star itself has a bit of an interesting look to it, what with a triangle...
By Dave Fuller on 8/18/2014 2:40 PM
Theta Serpentis is somewhat off the beaten path; over 7 degrees from 3.4 magnitude Delta Aquilae and more than 15 degrees from Altair and Cebalrai, it isn't exactly in a well-traveled area of the Milky Way.  But it does reside along the plane of our galaxy from our perspective, and that makes both the journey to it - plus some other objects nearby - a worthwhile one to make.

Start at Altair, dropping south to Detla Aquilae, and look for Cebalrai in Ophiuchus, a star that has it's own interesting deep sky objects nearby. From there, it's more than a full binoculars or finderscope field of view to reach the star, so using some other stars close by to get our bearings is helpful.

Delta Aquilae to Theta Serpentis star hop graphic

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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.