Last night and this morning were just gorgeous here in Michigan. A cool, calm, moonless night with good seeing and transparency- it doesn't get much better.
I started the night doing my Chinese fire drill routine, monitoring CVs for outbursts until about 2AM. Then I took time out to visit some old LPV friends in Hercules.
R Her was first up. I really had to dig hard to see it. The 10mm Ethos at 300x did the trick. It is near minimum right now. I called it 15.0. This sequence is actually pretty good, but it could use a comp or two fainter than 14.9. If it had been hazy or the moon had been up, I doubt I would have seen it.
A few other LPVs in Her have issues with the sequences. I can't wait for APASS to finally fill in this region of the sky for the chart team. Hercules has a lot of great stars, but some of these sequences are poor. SS Her was a tough call. I made it out to be 10.0, but I had to exclude the 102 comp from my estimate because it looked too faint to my eye. So I used the 104 and 95, which is a pretty big gap. This one is a pretty interesting customer. It has maxima that seem to vary between either 10.0 or 8.5. It has a relatively short period of 107 days, so you get to see lots of action in a season. I don't think you can over-observe this one.
W Her presented a bit of a challenge too. There is an incovenient gap in this sequence between 124 and 133, so naturally, that is exactly where I needed to make the call last night. I called it 12.7, and that seems to fit the light curve perfectly, but I wasn't near 100% confident at all on that estimate. More like 80%.
Later on I ran into another gap even larger. RV Her has a gap in the sequence between 100 and 112! That is simply too many steps to subdivide in my mind's eye to make an estimate. I prefer 0.2-0.5, but I can deal with up to around 0.7 in a pinch. Anything greater than that and my confidence drops significantly. This is another one of those Miras that has maxima that swing between 9.5 and 10.5. I called it 10.5 this morning, but the light curve is pretty sparse. It's on the rise, but is this max or will it go up to 9.5?
RT Her was a nice challenge. It was faint, around 14.3. Luckily it sits alone forming a nice elongated triangle with a 140 and a 146 comp. So once you pick it up and can see the 146 you're in business. A couple weeks ago this bugger was down around 15.5, so I was covering it with K35 on AAVSOnet. Its on the rise, so now is a good time to pick it up.
TV Her was faint, and quite a challenge at 14.8. All in all it was a satisfying session. Tonight I plan to do UMa and Dra as well as Lyra LPVs. That ought to keep me busy for hours.
What are you observing?