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Nu (ν) Draconis – the eyes of the dragon

Nu (ν) Draconis
RA: 17h 32m Dec: +55°11′
Mag: 4.88, 4.86 Sep: 63.4″ PA: 311°
Distance: 99 ly
Spectral type: A6, A4

OK, I haven’t heard Nu (ν)  called that exactly, but why not? Whoops – stop the presses! Just checked and Sissy Haas calls Nu “The Dragon’s Eyes!”  Darn. And I thought I had a new idea  – the older I get the more I steal – unwittingly, of course 😉

This pair of bright, beautifully matched stars certainly qualifies as eyes and they are easily found in the head of Draco. And look at those stats! In brightness there is just .02 magnitude difference. (As a variable star observer I learned to detect in tenth of a magnitude increments, but nothing smaller with any hope of accuracy.) And the spectral class is almost exactly the same and indicates the pair of white stars most of us report seeing. What’s more, they’re easy and fun to find and an excellent challenge object for hand held binoculars! I’ve seen them with 10X50 steadied on something,  and found them quite easily split with 12X36 IS. They are a pleasure in mounted 15X70s or 20X80s and the 60mm Unitron  I was using this morning almost felt like overkill, even at 28X!. Still, this is what I call a 60mm Jewell! Here’s a finder chart. Click on it to get a larger version.

To find Nu just chart a path between Vega and the Guardians of the Pole. Nu is the faintest of four stars that make up the dragon's head. (Conveniently, these stars are 2,3,4, and 5th magnitude!) Derived from Starry Nights Pro screen shot.

Incidentally, when I Googled Nu I met myself – that is, I found that several posts I’ve put in my observing blog reference it and end up bunched fairly high  on the Google list. For various reasons with various instruments, I have returned to this pair again and again. See the lists of posts here.

Oh – and don’t miss the lesser Dragon eyes – here. We’re talking Nu (ν) and Mu (μ) – binoculars and telescope – oh, and Epsilon (ε) figures into the mix as well. There’s a feast in the beast – for the eyes, at least! (Sorry – couldn’t resist.)

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