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Binocular Stars

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SET's picture
Binocular Stars

I must admit that I haven't paid that much attention to the Binocular activity and stars that Sebastian Otero has put together. I had some free time today, so I checked it out. My gosh, Sebastian has put together a wonderful list of stars. The VSP is now set up to plot star charts marked "Binocular Star". Make sure you also choose the "a" scale. You can adjust your limiting magnitude, but the default is 9.0. many you do not even need anything dimmer than 7.5 comp stars.

So, I printed out probably 75 charts or more. Many of these stars I have never heard of before. Most are semi-regular stars. They are perfect for visual observers. The nice thing is; you don't even need a telescope.

Download Sebastians spreadsheet with all the stars named. Print as many as you want. What a nice and inexpensive way to contribute to variable star astronomy.

My compliments to my good friend Sebastian!

Chris Stephan  SET

Robert Clyde Observatory

Sebring, Florida USA

It is a nice job

The crew that put the bino program together did a nice job.  I've observed a couple of them - and of course it's been cloudy since.  Binocular observing is a completely relaxing pursuit, and that's what I need more of than hard scientific labor.  Getting out under the stars with a chair, a chart, binos, a red light and my iPhone to send in obs - that's the ticket.  I feel like I'm in touch with the sky a little more than I was before.  Nice. 

Sebastian Otero
Sebastian Otero's picture
Binocular charts and sequences

Hi, Chris,

Thanks for your words :)
Don't remember to thank all of the Sequence Team for the huge amount of work spent on making sequences for these 153 stars. Without each of the volunteers of this team, it would have been impossible to have these sequences ready in such a short time.

About the charts themselves, instead of choosing a pre-defined chart scale, we recommend different chart sizes and limiting magnitudes for each of the targets. This will make observing as comfortable as possible, with all comp stars just included at the best possible chart size.

Instead of just checking the web version of the Binocular Program star list, go and download the spreadsheet. There you will find even more detailed instructions on what to do regarding special charts (some stars have large ranges and need to different charts and a couple are so bright that require special strategies).


daveastro's picture
I like this program because

I like this program because it will mean less setup time for me. Instead of dragging the telescope out and eyepieces I just need minimal equipment. It also means I can learn more of the sky and not worry about the orientation of what I'm seeing.

Keep up the good work - I see a huge effort in moving this organization forward, evidenced by the improvement of programs and other activities.

Dave Gray

Herr_Alien's picture
Orientation will still change

[quote=daveastro]not worry about the orientation of what I'm seeing.[/quote]

There are cases where (due to Earth rotation) North is not actually "up", but rather "left" (when that star field is rising) or "right" (when it is setting), and you will still need to rotate the star map accordingly.

daveastro's picture
Printing of charts

I have printed out some of the charts using the VSP setting of Binocular. However some of the charts some to be only plotted with one or two comp stars. Examples of these are:-

-          Rho cas, shows 2 comp stars in the range of 4.9-7.2

-          BL Ori, shows 1 comp star

-          W Ori, shows 2 comp stars in the range of 5.9-7.5

I have tried various chart sizes A, B,C and leaving the field blank, however I don’t see additional comp stars. I’m obviously doing something incorrect. Any assistance would be appreciated.


SET's picture
Binocular Star Chart Help

Dave ,

I just did one for W Ori as an example. It has lots of comp stars. Here's the steps:

Type in star name on VSP

then hit "Return and Replot"

then click "A" chart

scroll down and you will see it tell youo fields of view FOV 900, limiting mag of comp stars 9, 75 for resolution.

Scroll to bottom and click on "Binocular Chart".

Make sure you click "No" for if you want other variables plotted on the chart. 

Now you should have a nice pretty chart!

Remeber that you can set the dimmest comp star to other values. I did 7.5 on many, 8.5 on many.

Good Observing!

Chris Stephan   SET

Robert Clyde Observatory

Sebring, Florida

HTY's picture
Suggested field of view and limiting magnitudes

That right hand column in the list of binocular stars shows suggested fields of view and limiting magnitudes to select for each star.  You don't have to use one of the predefined scales. I've printed a few binocular charts using those suggestions and they usually work out pretty well. If not, they serve as a good starting point for customizing the chart to your needs.

.....Tim (HTY)

daveastro's picture
Thanks for the advice. I had

Thanks for the advice. I had not been using the suggested parameters listed in the far right column. I  now find there are plenty of comp stars printed with the variable star on the charts.


Thanks again,


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