What’s the DSC-60 Project?
The DSC-60 Project is a little project in which I intend to observe the Astronomical League’s “Double Star Club” list of 100 choice doubles using a 60mm telescope. In the Double Star Club (DSC) rules described here , it says a 60mm telescope is the minimum they recommend. A quick look at the list of 100 stars tells me 60mm should be enough for most of them, though some will be a challenge and a few, I’m pretty sure, I can’t split with a 60.
I am also creating a new category – you’ll find it in the drop down menu “select category” on the left of the page – in which I’ll put all of the observations made for this project. However, in the category they will appear in chronological order. The Double Star Club list is in a very handy right ascension order, so I will also link each observation to this post – but in that same RA order making it easier for those actually doing the Double Star Club project to compare notes. If you’re going for the Astronomical League certificate – or just using their list – we encourage you to add your own thoughts in the comments form with each post. And, of course, you may be using something other than a 60mm scope, may have a different way of star hopping to the target, and undoubtedly will experience the double differently in some way than I have.
As we do with other observations, I will include star charts with these and suggested star hops. The Double Star Club list can be done with a “go to” scope, but they recommend it be done by star hopping. I heartily agree. Neither John nor I use “go to.” For us finding a double is part of the challenge and fun. (We love computers – but we want them to help us, not take over what we enjoy doing.)
Each post will be easily identifiable because it will be headed simply “DSC-60:” followed by the name of the star as the name appears in the Double Star Club list. The post will then describe that observation. If it is a star John or I have already observed and described, the post will be very brief and link to the existing description. If it’s a star that hasn’t yet been described here it will follow the same format as the other posts, except it will be devoted to a single star, so generally shorter.
The 60mm scope
My wife is fond of warning visitors to Driftway Observatory (our backyard) not to get too attached to any one scope, She’s right. It’s so easy to buy and sell on Astronmart and Cloudy Nights these days that I’ve bought and sold more scopes in the past decade than I ever dreamed of owning. But I am settling down some to a few “dream” scopes and one of them is a 60mm Unitron 128 – sort of. (OK – if you read this space earlier you would have found me singing the praises of the 60mm Televue Apo – and I was sincere about that scope and still think it’s great – but it’s not the stuff of my teenage dreams from long ago – dreams I still have.)
John loves these old, long focal length, achromatic refractors and for good reason. My reasons aren’t quite so good. I love the Unitron 128 because I craved it as a teenager. I lusted over the ads for it in Sky and Telescope and kept wavering back and foth between wanting it and wanting the RV-6 Dynascope. I finally opted for the light gathering power of the 6-inch Dynascope over the rugged elegance of the 2.3-inch refractor and never learned what I was missing until about a year ago when I got the Unitron 114. That’s the 60mm alt-az version.
Well it was good. But that wasn’t what captured my heart 40 years ago. It was that cool-looking equatorial mount – the 60mm Model 128 – especially with a clock drive. In the Sixties no self respecting amateur astronomer would think of owning a scope on an alt-az mount. The cat’s meow was the German Equatorial Mount – GEM – and Dobsonian weren’t even a pipe dream yet, except perhaps to John Dobson. So recently a Unitron equatorial mount for the 60mm came up for sale and I grabbed it. Now I have the alt-az and the Equatorial mount and one scope to use on one or the other mount – in other words I have a Model 114 and a Model 128.
So I sold the wonderful little – thoroughly modern – TeleVue 60 and what I got for it just about covered the cost of the Unitron EQ plus a new clock drive made for it that the Astronomy Shoppe sells. (That last piece hasn’t arrived yet as I write this, but I have a whole lot to learn yet about how to get themost out of that GEM. Jhn says it looks almost Victorian with all it’s controls on long, straight rods. He’s right. But I don’t go back that far. It looks to me like my dream scope – complete with Unihex and four original Unitron eyepieces of a three different optical designs. That seemed to be their standard approach. So there’s a 26mm Ramsden, an 18mm and 12.5 Kellner, and a 9mm Symetrical.
And that, in a nutshells, is the equipment line up for the current work on the DSC-60 project.
One caution: Don’t be put off by the equipment I use. I’m on my 70th trip around our star and at the stage where I am indulging myself. There are plenty of excellent, 60mm refractors that are optically just as good, if not better, than the Unitron – and they cost considerably less.I
DSC club observed list
That said, here’s the linked list of Double Star Club stars I’ve observed to date for this project – in right ascension order. It is obviously super short to begin with, but this page will get updated with each new post.