Alpha Hercules 

Ilario Melandri
Star: Alpha Hercules  
Date & Time: 26 May 2000 – 00.16 UTC 
Seeing: 9 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>  
Location of site: Italy, Ravenna, San Romualdo, Lat 44 32’N Lon 12 08’E 
Elevation: 0 m 
Site classification: Rural  
Sky darkness: 5 <Limiting magnitude> 
Temperature:  +18C 
Telescope: 150 mm f/15 achromatic refractor (lens by Romano Zen, Venice). 
Magnification: 140 x (eyepiece Clave Plossl 16 mm 
 
Note: the third component of m 11.1 is very difficult to see. 
 
 
 
 
Chris Peters
Star: Alpha Hercules (ab) 
Date & Time: 27 May,  5:30 UT 
Seeing: About 8 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)> 
Location of Site: Rio Rico, Arizona, 12 miles north of the 
US/Mexico border. 
Site Classification: Rural 
Sky darkness: Approx. 6 <limiting magnitude> 
Telescope: 8 inch, f/6 Newtonian reflector 
Magnification: 6.7 mm Plossl @ x179 and same with x2 Barlow giving x358 

 

An easy target, Alpha, but a super one. x179 showed the stars as deep yellow and bluish-green and separated by some 5". Switching to x358 showed the colors as deep yellow-orange and sky blue, very striking.  The good seeing kept annoying flare to a minimum, and the clean discs made the view all the more impressive 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
Patrick J. Anway 
Star: Alpha Hercules (ab) 
Date & Time: May, 28, 2000  03:00 UT 
Seeing: 6 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)> 
Location of Site: Munising Michigan USA 
Site Classification: Rural 
Sky darkness: 6 <limiting magnitude> 
Sky condition: No moon; no clouds 
Temperature: 39*F   4*C 
Telescope: Unitron 75mm, f/16 refractor on equatorial mount 
Magnification: 67X, 100X, 200X (Vixen 18mm, 12mm, 6mm orthoscopics) 
 
 
Just detected split at 67X, easily at 100X and 200X. Primary bright yellow; secondary dull yellow/green. 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
Tom Teague
Star: Alpha Hercules  
Date & Time: 2000 May 28 (2245UT) 
Seeing: 8 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>. 
Location of site: Chester, England (53 11 08N; 02 51 39W) 
Site classification: Suburban  
Sky darkness: 5 <Limiting magnitude> 
Telescope: 63mm Zeiss Telementor refractor 
Magnification: x56, x112, x210, x336  
 
Split at all powers. Gold and pale greenish-blue. Colours best seen x210 and x336, but image quality at this last power is inferior.  Best view x210.  A spectacular pair! 

 

 
 
Richard Harshaw
Star: Alpha Hercules 
Location of site: Northern Kansas City, Missouri (USA) 
94d 30m west longitude, 39d 15m north latitude 
980 ft above Mean Sea Level 
Date of observations (UT): 29 May, 2000; 0330 hours 
Site classification: suburban 
Sky conditions
seeing--  8 out of 10 (long periods of 10!!) 
transparency--  8 out of 10 
limiting visual magnitude--  4.5 
Telescope: Celestron C-8 
Eyepiece: 10mm Ortho (211x) 
 
 
Magnitudes:  3.5 (M5III), 5.4 (G5), 11.1 
Sep/PA's:  AB = 5(+)/105(-), AD = 81(-)/39(fixed) 
Year of last measurement:  1991 
Distance (light years): 
Luminosity (in suns): 
Colors: Deep Yellow-Orange (!!!), Yellow, and White. 
 

It was easy at 105x, but looked better at 211.  A mask helped the view by cleaning up the images nicely.  (B was on the 3rd diffraction ring; putting the mask on the scope made it appear as if by magic.) 

As an interesting aside, B looked bluish at first glance, but this is probably an illusion due to the deep, intense color of A. (Similar to the reports of Antares's companion being green when it is in fact blue.) 

I just have to include some of my notes on this star from my database: 

The orbit is believed to take about 3,600 years (Baize, 1978)! 

The primary is a semi-regular variable discoverd by William Herschel (1779), and has a 90 day period.  It is a huge red giant, 400 times as big as the Sun and 14 times as massive, but only 0.0000001 times as dense.  Its surface temperature is only 2,650 K.  In fact, most of its energy is radiated in the infra-red.  It is also belching out a tenuous shell of matter that is so large it actually engulfs the B star, extending some 200,000 solar radii!  This shell is expanding at 10 kps and is fed at the rate of 3 x 10^-8 solar masses per year-- a real gusher in astronomical terms!  Its diameter has been measured as 0.025". 

The B star is actually a very close binary with a 51.6 day period and a nearly circular orbit.  (Circular orbits among binaries imply old age.  The companion is an F2 star, so it must have evolved faster 
than the G5 primary.) 
 

 
 
John M. Ryan
Star: Alpha Hercules 
Date of Observation: 5/30/00 22UT    
Location of Observation: Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca, Spain 
40º 36' N, 6º 32'W, Elev. 800 Meters 
Seeing: 4 to 5 (1 - 10, 10 best) 
Transparency: 6 to 7. 
Limiting Mag. (naked eye): 4 
Site classification: Urban 
Instrument: Meade 8"SCT 
Magnification: 117X and 167X
Separation (Clear or Touching): Clear (Split of the brighter two components) 
Magnitude Comment:Both components bright with difference in accordance with data. 
Color Comment: 1st:White & blue 2nd:Yellowish Orange & blue-green 3rd:Yellow & Blue. 

General Comment: Could not see third dim component. Spent three nights with Alpha because of the color comments that I had read in the Webb and Smyth books (Yellow Orange and Blue Green). As noted above the colors were changing each night slightly. The first nite I noted White and Blue after consulting Webb and Smyth I returned and studied the Double to see if I could note the blue green and yellow orange. 
 
On the second nite I thought I could see the green tint and orange tint but that could be based on the suggestive data in the Webb and Smyth books. The last nite decided that the double was mostly Yellow and Blue. Interesting what colors can do to the brain perception. 

 

 
 
Tim Leese
Star: Alpha Hercules   
Date & Time: 30/31/May/2000   22:00UT-01:00UT  
Seeing: 7-8 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>  
Location of site: Cheshire. UK 
53° 15' N –2º 33' W  
Site classification: Suburban  
Sky darkness: 4? <Limiting magnitude>  
Telescope: 200mm f/6  Newtonian scope  mounted over a Vixen GP mount (manual slow motion). Any Quoted PA or SEP are estimates. 
Magnification: X48, X60, X96, X120 

 
Star: Alpha Hercules 
Date & Time: 16/17 June 2000  22:00 UT – 01:00UT  
Seeing: 5-4 deteriorating <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>  
Location of site: Cheshire. UK 
53° 15' N –2º 33' W  
Site classification: Suburban  
Sky darkness:  Not measured  Full moon, twilight 
Telescope: 200mm f/6  Newtonian scope on Vixen GP mount (manual slow motion). Any Quoted PA or SEP are estimates. 
Magnification: 60x, 120x 
 

I was unable to split using X48 but could just separate at X60. Using X96 (micro guide) I could see what to me was a pale orange primary with a pale blue/green secondary at PA 105 deg. 
 
The best view was obtained using X120 where the colour contrast seemed deeper. Using averted vision I could see the fainter C companion also. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I was unable to separate using X60 this time but using x120 separation was observed. This time the colours seemed pale orange and pale blue but I could not detect the fainter C star. 

 

 
 

 
 

 
 
Paolo Morini
Star: Alpha Hercules 
Date & Time: 1 June 2000 – 21:05 UTC 
Seeing: 9 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)> 
Location of site: San Romualdo, a little village in the country near Ravenna – Italy. 
Site classification: Suburban 
Sky darkness:  5.5 <Limiting magnitude> 
Temperature: +16C 
Telescope: TV Pronto dia 70mm f=480 mm 
Magnification: about 120x (eyqpiece Plossl 10 mm + barlow 2x) 
  
 
beautiful double, not seen the third component. 
 
 
 
Bill Reinehr
Star: Alpha Hercules   
Date & Time: June 2, 2000, 04:45 UTC 
Seeing: 7+  (fairly still) <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)> 
Location of site: Pflugerville, Texas, USA  (30 degrees N.) 
Site classification: Suburban  
Sky darkness: 4.1 <Limiting magnitude>  
Temperature: 75 F. 
Telescope: Vixen 80mm Fluorite, f/8  on Custom D altaz mount   
Magnification: 29x, 58x, 106x,  180x, 256x 
  
 
A clean split at 58x. Primary a very vivid gold. A hint of  pale blue in the secondary. Most attractive at 106x. Could not see the 11.1 mag third component at any power. 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
Eddy O'Connor
Star: Alpha Hercules   
Date & Time: Time: 11 p.m local; UT +10. Sunday, June 4th 2000. 
Seeing: 6 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)> 
Transparency: 10/10 
Location of Site: Terara, New South Wales, Australia, Long.150.38 degrees; 
South 34.52. 
Site Classification: Suburban 
Sky darkness: Northern sky to mag. 6; Southern to 6.5 <Limiting magnitude> 
Instrument: 8"  F9 Dobsonian 
Magnification: 72X (25mm K Eyepiece), 144x (12.5 mm Orth). 
 
Just split, but well separated at 144X. Fine  easy object. Burnt Gold and Grayish/Green companion. Hartung records, Orange and White and notes little change in separation, with motion slowly retrograde. 
 
Ambience: This night was even darker than two nights previously and I could spot five stars in the Coal Sack as the night wore on. Ducks quite noisy in a nearby stream where they are starting to nest. (Note to Ornithologists: Why do sensible birds like ducks nest in Winter, during our coldest nights and when the foxes are about?). Observed an impressive Meteor passing through Hercules. A message from the Strong One? 
 

 

 
 
Patrick Kelly
Star: Alpha Hercules 
Date & Time: Saturday 6/3/2000  10PM 
Seeing: clear, 8  <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)> 
Location of Site: Baltimore, Maryland USA 
Site Classification: Urban 
Sky darkness: 4 <limiting magnitude> 
Telescope: Takahashi FS102 (102mm)f/8 refractor on AP 400 
equatorial mount 
Magnification: first hint of seperation at 45x (Tak 18mm LE); best views at 82x and 102x (Radian 10mm and 8mm) 
 
 

 

A spectacular view with impresssive color contrast between the light gold primary and pale blue companion. My 11 year old son commented that, to him, looking at the companion was like looking at earth through a telescope. 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
Jose Fernandez
Star: Alpha Hercules 
Date & Time: 7-June 07-2000, 10:30 UT  
Seeing: 8 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>  
Location of site: L'Angliru, Asturias-SPAIN (43.2N,6W. Elevation:1500 m) 
wwww.astrosurf.com/josefdez 
Site classification: Rural  
Sky darkness: 4.5 at zenit. Moon (phase:0.37) 23 degrees over horizon <Limiting magnitude>  
Telescope: INTES MK65, 150mm f12 
Magnification: 73x (Meade 24.5 mm WA), 186x (Meade 9.7 mm), 240x (Celestron 7.5 mm) 

 

Split a 73x (24.5 mm). At 186x (9.7 mm) the primary is orange and the other component is white-blue. At 240x (7.5 mm) in some moments I can see the third star. 
 

 

 
 
Pino Bandini
Star: Alpha Hercules 
Location of site: Ravenna, Italy 
Date of observations (UT): 7 June 2000 – 22.05 UTC 
Site classification: Urban 
Sky conditions
Seeing:  (10 best) 
Temperature: 25C 
Limiting visual magnitude: -- 
Telescope: Celestron C8 
Magnification: 81x (eyepiece Plossl 25 mm) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mary Flanagan
Star: Alpha Hercules 
Date & Time: 08 Jun 2000 03:49 UT/ 7 Jun 10:49 CDT    
Seeing: 6; improved later. <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)> 
Transparency: (1-10) 7 
Location of site: Apple Valley MN, USA 
 93d 14m 25s W; 44d 45m 17s N 
Site classification: Suburban   
Sky darkness: ~mag 4.5 at best <Limiting magnitude>  
Telescope: 8" f/6 Dobsonian 
Magnification: 80x, 160x (15mm TV plossl, 2x TV barlow) 
 
 
The secondary was pretty much overwhelmed by the dazzling primary; couldn't separate them at 80x, but the secondary popped loose at 160x. Seeing wasn't so hot; they were dancing around at times, but there was black between the two.  Primary a gorgeous orange-gold, secondary looked bluish to me. 
 
 

 

 
 
William L. Schart
Star: Alpha Hercules 
Date & Time 
Seeing: 8 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>  
Location of site: Killeen, TX (Lat 31 N, Elev 600 ft)  
Site classification: Suburban  
Sky darkness: 8 <Limiting magnitude>  
Telescope: Orion 6" Dob.  
Magnification: 32x, 48x, 72x, 120x 
  
 
It took quite some time to find this, as the stars in Her are just at the naked eye limit tonight. At 32x and 48x, nothing doing, just barely split at 72x, at 120x a good clean split. Both members appear a nice, bright yellow. At this power, I could just barely detect the widespaced but very faint third member.