Friday, July 10, 2009

Triple Treat: Iota Cassiopeia

In the astro-community this triple star is well known. But to newcomers and those who have not yet dabbled into the world of double and multiple stars, Iota Cas is one of those rare treats in the night sky. Worth the look and not at all hard to find even with a simple red-dot finder.

Rule Breaker Moment: It is suggested that you use a 90-100mm aperture to split the A-B component of this multiple system. Since the Pronto falls below that criteria, some would think that the Pronto was somehow incapable of splitting it. However, the-little-scope-that-could keeps on going and it split it nicely. While it would be true that with a little more aperture, it would be more pleasing, the little "rule breaker" was at it again.

A-B are not so tough. Epsilon Bootis is tougher and so is Delta Cygni. Iota Cas is not subject to the same glare and magnitude differential like some other double stars, so if you're scope falls below 100mm, it's not out of reach, it just might not be the brightest. I suppose it depends on what you were expecting. The B component is 2.3" apart from the yellow A component while B is decidedly blue. The C component of the triple is 7.3" away at a fainter magnitude of 8.2. Again, not a problem in light polluted skies at 70mm.
The only detriment to this was the altitude. It was quite low in the sky but in moments of steady seeing, it pulled together nicely. Since Iota Cas is in the general area of the Double Cluster, some may overlook it's potential which is unfortunate because Iota Cas is a real eye catcher. So take a look at it!

Iota Cas is one of two "personal memorialized" stars in the sky. We dedicated it to our dear friend and observing buddy Les Swaby who passed away some time ago. This was his favourite object to look at so we think of him when we turn our scopes to Iota Cas.



  1. You are so right that this is a must target for any size scope. Wonderful way to remember a close friend!

  2. Les looked at it almost every night he went out. He was quite a character, we miss him terribly.

    Not sure what the whole 100mm or more comments are about, but I can't complain about the view in the Pronto, it was spot on.