Cassiopeia - what a constellation!

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nigeljoslin
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Cassiopeia - what a constellation!

Post by nigeljoslin »

Focused on Cassiopeia, last night, both literally and figuratively! What a constellation it is! Especially with seeing so good and the sky so dark that the Milky Way was bewitching with its regions of light and dark.

I first turned the 14 inch Dob to Iota Cassiopeia, that lovely triple. I love the arrangement of the stars, the main star being flanked on either side by a tiddler. I then had a look at Psi Cassiopeia, a nearby quadruple system. Looking at 110x, the brightest star appeared a beautiful orange, with a faint blue star next to it. Upping the magnification split the faint blue star into two, but I was unable to see the fourth component, a faint, mag 14 companion to the primary star, apparently. One for another day, or rather, another night.

Onto the clusters. NGC 129 was looking very attractive, with its sparkling chains of stars. Next, the spectacular Caroline’s Rose, NGC 7789, with its dense stars and velvety background, mesmerising at 165x through the 10 mm Radian.

The tight cluster, M52 was my next object, its prominent yellow star near one edge, flanked by the main dense field of fainter stars, beautiful again at 165x. A nudge of the scope and the addition of a UHC filter in the 15 mm NLV, and the star at the centre of Bubble Nebula, NGC 7635, was flaring at me. A minute or so of gazing and to my excitement, I was making out the bubble, my first time! It was faint, very faint; I had to keep averting my vision, but the longer I looked the more visible it became. Not nearly as bright or detail-filled as the bubble in Aquila, NGC 6781, but beautiful for its delicacy.

Sticking with nebulae, I headed for the Pacman Nebula, UHC filter now fitted to the 25 mm Xcel LX. There it was, of course, but I wasn’t looking through the instrument of choice with a minimum magnification of 66x!

Back to unfiltered viewing, NGC 633 was next on my list, a bright, rich cluster that appeared slightly nebulous. Perfection at 205x. I lingered in this region for NGC 659, a small fuzzy circle of stars that was well worth a look with higher magnification.

The Christmas Tree Cluster, M103, as always, was a pleasing sight. And then finally, I observed the Owl Cluster, NGC 457.

Cassiopeia, what a constellation!
Skywatcher 350P f4.65, Skywatcher StarTravel 102 f5, Adler Optik 9x63 binoculars
brian livesey
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Re: Cassiopeia - what a constellation!

Post by brian livesey »

As you say Nigel, Cassiopeia is a fine constellation and, of course, being circumpolar, it can be observed all year round. Thanks for not calling the Owl Cluster the "ET cluster".
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nigeljoslin
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Re: Cassiopeia - what a constellation!

Post by nigeljoslin »

Ha ha! Hmmm, so I see. Those eyes.

But, yes; I definitely prefer `Owl Cluster'.
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nigeljoslin
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Re: Cassiopeia - what a constellation!

Post by nigeljoslin »

Had another look at Psi Cassiopeiae, last night, in an attempt to split the orange primary star. This would be a challenge, it being only 2.4 arc seconds from the main star and magnitude 14.

At 400x, the bright sparkle of the main component was a problem, but I may have glimpsed it after a good long stare. I have to say `may have’, though; the ghost of imagination can haunt at such fringes of visual acuity! The small lump I seemed to be seeing was right up against the main star, located towards the other two stars in the system.

Looking on the internet later, I am unable to find any information to verify the magnitude 14 companion's position. Ho hum!

Good fun, though.
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brian livesey
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Re: Cassiopeia - what a constellation!

Post by brian livesey »

Have you tried using an occulting bar on your eyepiece when trying to resolve a faint secondary star?
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nigeljoslin
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Re: Cassiopeia - what a constellation!

Post by nigeljoslin »

I haven't, Brian, no. But the thought did cross my mind as I was looking. The nearest I have done is move an object to the edge of the field of view, but then that comes with the cost of loss of fidelity.

Thanks for the thought. I shall have to think about making a bar, perhaps out of foil or something like that.

Best wishes,

Nigel
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PaulB
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Re: Cassiopeia - what a constellation!

Post by PaulB »

That is a nice report, Nigel.

I am envious because here in Chesire East, the skies have been awful.
Paul Anthony Brierley
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nigeljoslin
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Re: Cassiopeia - what a constellation!

Post by nigeljoslin »

Thank you, Paul, and sorry to hear about your skies. I have done quite well, this season, although I often do because we just about live in the coastal strip of west Galloway, which seems to do okay for its winter evenings. That said, I remember several years ago, we had a cloudy, very wet winter, and I didn't do astronomy for weeks!

I am guessing that you are in such a period, now....just the way it sometimes works out. Hearten yourself with the fact that your time will come! You're just having one of those periods.

Best of luck for your future observing,

Nigel
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Tom
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Re: Cassiopeia - what a constellation!

Post by Tom »

I was able to observe it from the south of France back 5 years ago and that night it became of one y favourite. Definitely worth spending some time on!
jeff.stevens
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Re: Cassiopeia - what a constellation!

Post by jeff.stevens »

NGC 457 is one of my favourites. Somewhere, I recall reading it being referred to as the Skiing Man. But then, “that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”, I think.

You’ve inspired me to take a look at my next opportunity.

Lovely to read your descriptions, Nigel.

Best wishes, Jeff.
nigeljoslin
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Re: Cassiopeia - what a constellation!

Post by nigeljoslin »

Thanks, Jeff. I took a peak at the Owl Cluster, aka ET Cluster, aka Ski-ing Man Cluster again, last night. very distinctive, isn't it, with its bright eyes and outstetched wings, or however else you may perceive it.

Happy observing,

Nigel

P.S. Didn't bother with the occulting bar last night, Brian, as seeing wasn't so good, a little hazy due to very recent clouds.
Skywatcher 350P f4.65, Skywatcher StarTravel 102 f5, Adler Optik 9x63 binoculars
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