Two nights ago the weather was just perfect. Utterly clear skies and early spring temperatures for south Texas. Cool, but not cold, and that generally low humidity air that just invigorates you.
As such, I had a leisurely and extremely enjoyable binocular session for 2.5 hours. I did variables in the binocular program in Orion, Gemini, Canis Major, and Cancer. I am very careful to space out my cadence of these slow variables to about a month or so, no more frequent than two weeks, so that I don't bias myself by remembering what I measured last time.
I record my measurements on the back my chart printouts. I always get such a kick when I record my latest value and then look at the previous ones and realize, yes, these stars are indeed changing in brightness! :)
My favorite stars of the night were VY CMa, which I always enjoy. Until recently, it was the largest/most luminous star known. Also, X Cnc is just a lovely, piercing shade of garnet, nestled within triangle of stars. (Those of you in heavily light polluted skies, as I am, can see this one too, just star hop up from the head of Hydra and you'll find it.)
I am also watching BU and TV Gem. These stars are in the same field of view (4.2 for my 15x70s) and they seem to track each other in brightness. I wonder if they will diverge. Only way to know is to keep watching. :)
I am incredibly thankful to those at the AAVSO who put together the Binocular Variable Star Program. It is so much fun and some of the most relaxing and enjoyable astronomy I have ever done.
--Michael in Houston (RMW)
Yes that field near M35 is full of binocular vars - BU, TV, TU and even SS if you have good skies (SS Gem is an RVT star) Actually tonight I was in the same area, doing VV (13th mag) CD (near max) and ZZ, a very red star that always seems to be at max of about 10. It has a period of almost exactly a year so I guess that's why we always see it at the same brightness. If it's an N-type (which it seems to be, from its colour) they are normally characterised by long, flat maxima.
I think about that a a lot. My observing window is only about 30% of the sky, so some of these variables that have 360-day-ish periods, I'm almost always going to see at the same brightness.