(IAAC) Beta Lyrae

Observer: Jonathan Wojack
Your skills: Beginning
Date and UT of Observation:  1997 July 15, 0131-0157 
Location: 75.33.00 W  39.45.00N  100M elevation (Wilmington, DE, 
Site classification: city
Limiting magnitude: (zenith) +2.5
Seeing: 3 out of 10, 100% clear 
Moon up, phase: Yes, approaching full, rising 
Instrument: 15.24 cm Dobinson
Magnification: 47x  
Filters used: None
Object: Beta Lyrae 
Category: Double Stars 
Constellation: Lyrae
Data: Primary-magnitude +3.5, 46.6" seperation.  Primary secondary-
magnitude +7.  Only other observed companion-magnitude +9, 85.7" 
RA/DEC:  18 hours, 48.2 minutes.  33 degrees and 18 minutes north 
(Burnham's Celestial Handbook, Volume Two) . 
Description:  This was a spectacular multiple star system!  It was 
extremely beautiful in the eyepiece!  Actually, this is a star system 
that has 5 members, but I didn't spot the last two companions, which 
had magnitudes of +9 and +13.  But these two stars were just optical 
illusions--they do not exist in the Beta Lyrae system.  Beta Lyrae is 
also a variable, and each cycle is about 12 days long.  At the time 
of the observation, it was +3.3, which is the maximum magnitude.  
When it goes into minimum, I believe it will be at +4.1.  The 
interesting star system is believed to have a black hole.  Analysis 
indicates that the primary secondary is sucking up stuff from Beta 
Lyrae.  If it is due to the companion, then some day it will turn 
into a red supergiant, outshining Beta.  If it is because of a black 
hole, well, then probably the entire true system will be gobbled up(a