See Al­gieba’s com­pan­ion

Sky at Night Magazine - - HOTSHOTS -

Dif­fi­culty level: Be­gin­ner to In­ter­me­di­ate

Even if the Moon is up, or a lit­tle light pol­lu­tion blights your view­ing site, ob­serv­ing mul­ti­ple star sys­tems can be a fun way to chal­lenge your stargaz­ing skills, not­with­stand­ing the fact that many are strik­ing sights in the eye­piece. The spring skies con­tain a fine dou­ble star in the form of Al­gieba (Gamma

(a) Leo­nis) in Leo. To find it, first iden­tify the famous back­wards ques­tion mark that forms the head and mane of Leo, with Reg­u­lus (Al­pha (_) Leo­nis) at its base. From Reg­u­lus fol­low the ques­tion mark up to where it be­gins to ‘curve’ east at Eta (d) Leo­nis. Al­gieba is then the next bright star on the curve. Through a medium aper­ture tele­scope with around 150x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion you should be able to clearly see its fainter com­pan­ion. Ob­servers have noted a yel­low­ish tint to both stars. The il­lus­tra­tion to the right is based on a sketch made with an 8-inch tele­scope.

Al­gieba’s two stars are only 17 times the Earth-Sun dis­tance apart, sep­a­rated by 4 arc­sec­onds on the sky

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