October 24, 2017

Astro-Challenge: Haunting the “Ghost Double.”

The “Ghost of Gamma…” (Created by the Author in Starry Night).

Sometimes, the new and the unexpected lies just inside the field of view of the familiar. This week, we’d like to turn your attention to a hidden double star in the field of a star party favorite.  Halloween means sidewalk astronomy season, as we show off the delights of the universe to high-fructose corn syrup-filled suburbanites. Hey, it’s wonderful that a pagan Cross Quarter tie-in holiday (as in a celebration approximately midway between the equinox and the solstice) gets some play in this day and age. [Read more...]

AstroEvent: Herschel 3945-A Clone of Albireo.

  

A “pretty pair…” (Photo by Author). 

Probably the most famous star party doubles are Alcor & Mizar in the Big Dipper and Albireo in Cygnus. Both provide a good, wide separation, and in the case of Albireo, a good color contrast. Plus, double stars provide a good “punch through” of the light pollution haze for down-town astronomy, and may save the show when the Moon or planets aren’t above the horizon and even the best nebulae such as M42 evoke remarks like “what, you mean that fuzzy smudge?” [Read more...]