Glenn Chaple's observing basics: A sure bet for observing fun
September 2008: Since its discovery in 1896, SS Cygni has captivated astronomers.
"I owe Rik Hill ten dollars." With those words, David Levy lured me into a lifelong addiction to the explosive variable star SS Cygni. Levy's account, in a 1980 issue of the now-defunct Star and Sky magazine, told of his friendly wager with Hill over the exact date of SS Cygni's next outburst. What was it about this star that would inspire amateur astronomers to gamble? I had to find out.