The Pup from London

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David Arditti

I looked for the first time tonight for the pup from my observatory in Edgware, Outer London, Lat. 51N. I did not read the Observers’ Challenge and deliberately did no research in advance to tell me where it should be, in terms of PA, so as to get an unbiased result.

I looked for the Pup at culmination with a C-14 at 300x and 480x. I tried normal monocular observing, I tried using two eyepieces with a Denkmeier binoviewer, and I tried the addition of a dispersion corrector, set to correctly remove the spectral dispersion for the altitude. In all cases I could clearly see what I thought was the Pup, and I estimated its PA as 75 deg. by eye. It was easiest to see at the higher magnification, but once seen with that, could be seen at the lower magnification as well. It could be seen as well with one eyepiece as with two, but less well with the dispersion corrector: I imagine the the loss of light from the prisms in the corrector negated any benefit of concentrating the light better, but with the binoviewers, loss of light was countered by the benefits of binocular viewing.

My C-11 is always used for CCD imaging and has a Hyperstar system in place, so for visual purposes my next telescopes down in size are a 10″ Newtonian and a C-5, but they are on a mounting in a location from which Sirius is obstructed by a fence, so I could not try to see it with them.

I did try with my Celestron 100mm f9 ED doublet refractor that is mounted with my C-14. Using a magnification of 346x, having identified the Pup through the C-14, I intermittently thought perhaps I could see something at the correct PA, as an enhancement of the diffraction rings, but at other times I thought not, and I could not convince myself ultimately.

So my conclusion is that from London the Pup is very clearly visible with 356mm aperture, and would certainly be visible in a smaller telescope – maybe, at a guess, down to 200mm.

It’s now occurred to me that as I have my C-5 (127mm SCT) mounted on a dovetail, I can move it to the mounting I have the C-14 and 100ED on, so I could test the C-5 on the Pup in future. Past experience has been that the C-5 is less effective on doubles than the 100ED, because of more light in the diffraction rings due to the large central obstruction, so, despite giving a brighter image, it seems unlikely it would show the Pup.