(IAAC) Obj: 61 Cyg (Struve2759, Piazzi's Flying Star) - Inst: 70mm f/6.8 Pronto altaz refractor
Observer: Lew Gramer, Jim Cooper, public program audience
Your skills: Intermediate (some years)
Date/time of observation: 22:00 Local, 16/17 Aug 2001
Location of site: Pigeon Key FL USA (Lat 25N, Elev 1m)
Site classification: Exurban
Sky darkness: 6.8 <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: 7 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 70mm f/6.8 Pronto altaz refractor
Object(s): 61 Cyg (Struve2759, Piazzi's Flying Star)
Category: Multiple star. Variable star.
Class: K5, K7
Data: mag 5.22 6.03; sep 29.7"; pa 148o
Position: 210654.572 +384444.83
I rarely observe objects for their historical signifi-
cance, not because I'm uninterested but only due to a
lack of detailed knowledge about astronomical history!
But tonight I had the benefit of a fellow observer's
extensive reading and memorizing, to be able to view
the first star ever to have a proper motion measured;
also a star whose proper motion is among the largest
known, at a breathtaking 5.2" per year; and what's yet
more, a binary whose wobble indicates the probable
presence of a planetary system around the pair! (61
Cygni may also be the BINARY with the largest known
proper motion - but don't quote me on that one. :>)
This most "abstractly" fascinating binary stars was
none other than 61 Cygni. And add to all of that the
fact that 61 Cyg is actually quite a stunning little
pair of REDDISH orange stars (almost like a "doubled
garnet star") in the Pronto, and it makes for a very
intriguing small-telescope star party target indeed!
Jim found 61 very quickly in the W "wingflap" of Cyg,
just over a degree NE of mag 3.5 multiple Tau Cygni.
My thanks to Jim Cooper and his magisterial observing
lists (and his encyclopedic memory), for giving me my
first glimpse of this most historical of nearby stars.
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