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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:02 am 
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R Leo (http://www.aavso.org/vsots_rleo) is now at its maximum brightness with a magnitude of about 5.3. See the attachment. I observed it at 11:15 pm earlier tonight with my 76mm aperture, 480mm FL TV-76 apo refractor using 32, 16, and 8 mm Vernonscope Brandon eyepieces. It was a spectacular sight at 60X with the 8mm Brandon eyepiece. Very red; in the same field of view as 5.7 magnitude 18 Leo and 6.4 magnitude 19 Leo; and forming an equilateral triangle with magnitude 9.0 and 9.6 stars.


Attachments:
R Leo light curve 4-4-2018.PNG
R Leo light curve 4-4-2018.PNG [ 117.93 KiB | Viewed 607 times ]

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:14 am 
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Nice report... and a good reminder about R Leonis, one of the top stars for observing a distinctly red color in a modest scope. Actually, a small scope is often better on these brighter red objects as too much aperture can tend to "wash out" the color.

I now feel like a real dope for not looking at it last night (April 4) when I stepped out front to spot (1) Ceres (near Iota Cancri) with my 15x56 binoculars around 10 pm EDT. Earlier in the day, Bob King posted an online article at Sky & Telescope about some various sights in Leo and it led off with R Leo, including a nice finder chart. Despite this big hint, R Leo just escaped my attention at the time.

Alerted again by this thread, if the Clear Sky Chart is correct about it being clear through midnight tonight, I'll be sure to be back out with the 15x56s for a look. If I get out shortly after the end of astronomical twilight, I should also take a look at really-red R Leporis, which recent observations at AAVSO show in the magnitude 7.x range. I might even take a short ride to Swede Run for a little darker sky, and/or get out my 80 mm apo refractor.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:57 pm 
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I made it to Swede Run in Moorestown, NJ, Thursday evening (April 5, 2018), arriving a couple of minutes after 9 pm. As soon as I got out my 15x56 binoculars, I pointed at Rigel, moved right a bit past Nu Leonis and easily saw the close grouping of R Leo with 19 and 18 Leo. R Leo stood out by its reddish color, but 18 was a bit yellow too.

I also looked with my 85 mm spotting scope. Using the zoom up to 60x, it was really nice. Three relatively bright stars were along a shallow arc extending nearly half a degree, with reddish R Leo at one end and yellowish 18 Leo at the other end. I noticed the compact triangle formed by R Leo and a pair of magnitude 9.x stars that Matthew mentioned.

I could not find R Leporis with the 15x56 binoculars or the 85 mm spotting scope. It was just too low in the west (12° and sinking) towards the Philadelphia light dome. Transparency wasn’t ideal either, and by time I packed up around 9:30 pm, there were high thin clouds moving in.

However, I was able to spot (1) Ceres again with the binoculars shortly after I first picked up R Leo. It's high altitude (about 80°) made it too difficult to get the scope on it, and a bit of a neck-bender for the handheld binoculars too!

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