Astrophotography by David Gares

Double Stars

Solar System
Open Clusters
Globular Clusters
Double Stars
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Observing Tools
Imaging Tips
My Equipment
Observing double (or binary) stars is a great way to beat light pollution in urban skies.  Though they lack the appeal of the deep-sky objects you see in magazines, they are a lot easier to observe visually than "faint fuzzies".  There is an understated elegance in many of these pairs, particularly those with color differences.  Albireo (pictured below) is simply magnificent in any telescope, large or small.  Because Albireo is so bright, this image did not capture the gold and blue colors nearly as well as an eyepiece view.  I also foolishly left the LPR filter in place.
My observing list includes many double stars for urban observers (see Tools).  The tighter doubles are used to validate optics and test visual acuity.  I've found that night vision is detrimental; go ahead and look at something bright before observing binary stars.  You want to reduce your eye's pupil size a little to maximize clarity and color reception.

Double Star Albireo
(Click image to enlarge)


 Object Details:  
 Type:  Double Star
 Constellation:  Cygnus
 Apparent Magnitude: 3.1, 5.1
 Separation:  34.4 arc-seconds

 Image Details:
 Date:  July 25, 2004
 Site:  Harahan, LA
 Exposure:  CCD, 25 x 5 sec.
 Filters:  Orion SkyGlow LPR
 Processing:  MSB Astroart 3.0
 Telescope:  10" Meade LX200
 Reducer:  Meade, f/4.3
 CCD:  Starlight Express MX7C
 Autoguider:  Unguided