Keeping Double and Red Star Observing Alive In A Digital Age

Observing double stars would seem to be losing it’s appeal with current amateurs.  At one time this very important facet of amateur astronomy was the most popular, due in-part to most observers using small refractor telescopes.  

It was “The Finest Deep-Sky Objects” by James Mullaney and Wallace McCall (1966) that spawned my interest in both doubles, and red stars.  I purchased my copy during the mid-70’s.  

My friend Tom English, then an astronomy & physics professor at a local university has always been a serious double and red star observer.  Tom was very influential to my continued excitement with doubles and red stars.  About twenty years ago we often compared colors and observations.  However, as we know, star colors are arbitrary, as individuals often see different colors.  

I’ve always been the solitary backyard observer, but enjoyed the few years that Tom and I observed together.  

I still enjoy reading “Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes” (1859) by Rev. Thomas William Webb, which is mostly double star observations with colors by observers such as Burnham, Otto Struve, W. Herschel, J. Herschel, Franks, Aiken and the list goes on.

Colorful doubles and red stars:  “The jewels of the night-sky” 

Roger Ivester

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