The Virgo Diamond – Faint Five Star Asterism – A True Observing Challenge

A very  transparent sky with excellent seeing is critical for viewing the fifth star.   

On the night of April 12th, 2012, the humidity was near 25% and seeing was exceptional.  I knew this could possibly be my last opportunity to observe the  diamond this year under conditions such as this. This proved to be a good decision, as I was finally able to see the elusive “fifth” star. 

The foothills of North Carolina, can be a difficult location to observe from during the months of May through August.  The humidity and haze can be terrible!   

When I first read about the diamond in Sky and Telescope, May 1993, page 110, it became a bit of an obsession with me.  I could hardly wait to see it for myself.  

The diamond in 1993 was pretty much an unknown asterism for most amateurs and still is today.  In the nineteen years since the article first appeared in Sky & Telescope, there seems to be little interest in the diamond, if any at all.  There is virtually no information concerning the diamond on the internet or anywhere else.  I am hopeful this will change in the future. 

You might ask why I have so much interest in such a unique, faint, small and difficult object that is probably unknown to “maybe” 99% of all amateurs.  I would say these are reasons enough.   

The Virgo Diamond gets its first promotion: 

Being a member of the Las Vegas Astronomical Society, I was able to get quite a few of the members interested.  A special Observers Challenge report covering this object was introduced to the LVAS in the Spring of 2009.      

April 27th 2012:  Expert Finnish amateur; Jaakko Saloranta takes a look at the diamond.

 “To be sure this was just not an asterism, I contacted the Big kahuna Matthias Kronberger for his expert opinion.  He used VIZIER for proper motion data and came to the same conclusion I did using ALADIN (PPMX-data).  So the chance of stars simply aligning like this in the sky might seem remote (4% according to Brosch) but none the less the group is unfortunately, just an asterism despite having similar spectra.”  

“I counted the total magnitude of the Virgo Diamond to be 10.4 using star magnitude data from NOMAD.”   JS

Jaakko has an excellent blog site.  “Breath on a Mirror” please go to the upper right under “Blogroll”  and click on!    Roger

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