Photo the nearest star and let us know about it

I managed to do the most important thing that I wanted to get done last month:  respond to a reader’s request. The request was quite simple – “photo the nearest star and let us know about it.” There are seemingly thousands of stars that can be seen in the sky, so one might think that a nearby star would be a bright and easy target. Surprisingly, the closest star that we can see from our northern latitudes is a rather dim star that can only be seen with a binocular or telescope. Increasing the challenge, it is located in constellation of rather dim stars. And finally, Barnard’s Star is in a constellation that will soon be below the horizon before sunset as the Earth continues its orbit about the Sun, so I had to rush to get this project done soon or wait until next summer. My first attempt was on a relatively clear evening, but the nearly full Moon made it difficult to positively identify the star field that I was seeking, and clouds eventually set in before I could complete the mission. The next time that I was able to get out, there was no Moon and no clouds, but I did not succeed in locating the target before that area of the sky set below the horizon. By the third time that I was able to get out, I had revised my search technique, and I quickly captured an image of the correct star field on my first attempt. Here is a link to the result of my work:  http://www.jrjohnson.net/pages/image_template.php?ID=22.

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