November 29, 2010

Exogazing 51 Pegasi b

It's been a while since the last time I spotted stars with known exoplanets. So, I decided to sneak out last night, grabbing my binoculars and hurrying out to my back yard, droid in my pocket running the latest version of the Sky Map app.

The target: 51 Pegasi b (51 Peg b), around a faint star (magnitude 5.5) located just a little to the side of the line connecting Markab and Scheat, two of the four major stars making up the “Great Square” of Pegasus.

It was relatively easy spotting 51 Peg, thanks to the two guide stars--Sadalbari and Sadalpheretz--all three of them fit nicely within a 4.5 Deg FOV of my binoculars.

The circle denotes what I see through my binoculars with a  4.5 degree FOV 
When I tried to verify what I saw through my binoculars by consulting my starmap, I grabbed a quarter coin to draw a circle to denote my binocular’s FOV. To my surprise, the coin's circle fits nicely with the FOV of my binoculars!

The quarter coin matches my binocular's FOV of the night sky!

Discovering that a quarter coin is approximately 4.5 degrees on my starmap which closely matches what I see of the night sky through my binoculars, would allow me to exogaze a little bit faster next time. Yay!