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Locating the constellation Lynx

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1SpootyDog

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After the death of my son in an automobile accident, a dear friend contacted the International Star Registry and purchased (the rights to?) a star! I had never heard of this, and since then have tried to locate it. I don't have the exact right accention or declination with me as of this post, but do know that it is the middle star in the constellation Lynx. It is also supposed to be designated as Thomas Samuel, my son's name. Can you tell me an easy way to identify it, you see I'm not really much of a star-gazer and I would very much like to be able to point him out to his mother some day soon. I live in West Texas, if that helps. The stars here are really breathtaking at times. Thank you for your time.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Welcome to Space.com.

Unfortunately, the selling of stars is a giant ripoff.

Lynx is a very faint constellation; unless you know the sky very well, and are in a very dark site, it' s likely you won't be able to see it at all.

It's between Auriga and Gemini, and Ursa Major (The Big Dipper). If you don't know them, you have no chance of finding the faint Lynx. I know the sky very well, and Lynx is still a real challenge.
 
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adrenalynn

Guest
First and foremost, my sincerest sympathies for your loss.

...


To continue where MeteorWayne (so correctly) left off - there really is no "middle star in ...". You would need to know its actual star catalog designation. Typically something like a Hipparcos, Tycho, or USNO number. Even then, there's certainly no guarantee the star "designated" would be visible to the naked eye, or even to the deepest reaching telescopes.

The way these scams tend to work, unfortunately, is you take a star catalog - let's say the Hipparcos catalog. Inbetwixt 25 Lyn and 28 Lyn there's a star that has designation 71148 in the Hipparcos catalog. I print out that page, I scribble out "71148" with a crayon, and I write in the name you purchased in a handsome complimentary color crayon. I put it in a binder, then print out a fancy looking certificate and mail it to you.

No one else anywhere in the world will recognize it by the name I've given it. It exists only in the binder propping up the wobbly leg on my desk, and on the certificate I mailed to you. You and I have just agreed to call it by some other name - but no one else has. Heck, half the time we argue about which star catalog we're going to use, so we end-up using all of them (the major ones anyway...).

I apologize for being a downer. But that's the reality of it.

My advice? Pick a star that strikes a chord with you, one that you can easily find in the night sky during the season of your son's birth date. Bring your family and close friends outside with a green laser pointer and point it out to them. Dedicate that star to your son's memory. Spending the money on a green laser pointer and a star chart will return a lifetime of learning and observing enjoyment for you and your family and friends. Far more than a certificate printed on a scammer's $30 office supply store printer.

If you need help correctly identifying the star that you ultimately pick, I'd be more than happy to help you there, providing images of plates, and then adding correct labels to the plates and describing how you can "walk" to it from other well known constellations that will help you point it out to family and friends. I suspect I'm not alone in that willingness.
 
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adrenalynn

Guest
Enclosed is an image I took of a very short-lived nova in the constellation Puppis, and then labeled. It's an example of why it's important that standardized catalogs exist. The nova was visible from earth for just a few short nights. From this plate, any astronomer would be able to immediately locate it.

I'm blunt, but I'm not an ogre. When you pick the star you ultimately want as a representation, I'd be happy to photograph that constellation for you, assuming it's visible from my home QTH or mountain-top observatory. The photo will frame your star and constellation and be plenty large enough for framing at any reasonable size. There will, of course, be absolutely no charge for that of any kind in any way. I despise scammers that pray on the unwary suffering from tragedy. It's just... slimy.

 
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adrenalynn

Guest
For future reference, the star Thomas Samuel, which was purchased from the ISR, is also known to the GSC-I catalog as 3401:535, GSC-II as 0340100535 and to the HST as N8UR000333. He's a Mag 12.1 star in Lynx. [Why they needed to chose something so deep is beyond me...] We don't have anything further on it.

Thanks to 1SpootyDog's patience and perseverance, we were able to locate the specific star by RA/DEC.

 
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3488

Guest
Dear 1SpootyDog.

I too am very sorry to hear for your loss & also agrre with boith Wayne & Adrenalynn that the busines of 'Buying' a star for a loved one is a scandelous rip off.

I hope that one day, these rip off merchants will ber driven into the sea!!!!

Below is a map from Wikipedia (not my preferred sourse, but this is OK).


As Wayne says correctly, Lynx is EXTREMELY difficult to find. I too know the sky very well. You really need the eyes of a Lynx to see Lynx properly under the DARKEST possible skies.

Adrenalynn did a great job at tracking down the star in question.

Nice link below.
Lynx articlefron University Lowbrow Astonomers Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Photo of Lynx constellation from Red Orbit. To help, the two bright stars close together at the bottom are Pollux / Beta Geninorum & Castor / Alpha Geminorum. Praesepe / M44 in Cancer is the star cluster at the bottom left. In the bottom right is Capiella / Alpha Aurigae & to the upper left of Capella is the bright star Menkarlinan / Beta Aurigae.
.

Andrew Brown.
 
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adrenalynn

Guest
I actually made him a couple 8x10" star charts lasered onto cardstock, and hope to get them out via postal mail to him end of next week when I have a little time. The unfortunate thing is, even though it's in the Guide Star Catalog (GSC) - we're talking Hubble guide stars. At 12.1 mag, it's going to take a good sized scope and very dark skies (and a lot of experience) to locate it, regardless of how good my charts may [or may not] be.

We all did our best, though!
 
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1SpootyDog

Guest
Dear Wayne, adrenalynn and 3488,
I cannot believe the response I've recieved from your Space.com team! Kudos to you all (with a special thank you going out to adrenalynn) and thank you for your undoubted dedication to your work, for surely it is a labor of love. I have begun to take tiny baby steps now to recover my life after my son's death, and I believe the cosmos may hold the challenge I need to fill several gaps I face. I intend to purchase a telescope as soon as economics allow, for now, I'm quite content in gazing, at least, in the proper direction!!
Again, I thank you for your efforts.
Sincerest Regards,
1SpootyDog
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
I do sympathize with you, and hope you recover as best you can. At the NJAA the young boy of one of our member families passed a few years ago. His father has since used his work at the observatory to help him. The members raied several hundred dollars and purchased a telescope in his name, which we often use on our public nights.

mw
 
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