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See the Pup

These tips can help you observe Sirius B.
RELATED TOPICS: STARS | WHITE DWARFS
ChapleGlenn
Do you have an astronomical “bucket list” — a roster of must-see or must-do experiences to check off before you breathe your last? Near the top of mine is catching a glimpse of the Pup, the notoriously elusive white dwarf companion to the Dog Star, Sirius (Alpha [α] Canis Majoris). Astronomers have cataloged these stars as Sirius A and Sirius B. Double star observers refer to the brighter component as the primary and the fainter one the secondary.

The best window of opportunity to capture the Pup is around the time of apastron (the point in its orbit farthest from Sirius). This position occurs just once every half century. I blew my chance when the two were at their greatest separation in the mid-1970s, and who knows where I’ll be for the next one?

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