Orion Telescope and Binoculars Article – The Virgo Diamond

Posted March 24, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Orion Telescope and Binoculars Monthly Challenge Objects: 2014

http://www.telescope.com/Monthly-Deep-Sky-Challenge-The-Virgo-Diamond/p/102879.uts?keyword=Roger Ivester


Observing The Entire Messier Catalog, But Please….Not In One Night!

Posted March 8, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles



The Astronomical League Messier awards certificate book, offers an excellent visual description of each of the entire 110 object Messier catalog, by two very experienced observers.   It includes many pencil sketches as well as some excellent images. The book can be purchased from the AL for only $10.00 plus shipping.  A great buy…indeed! 

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced amateur, this is an excellent book for either. The author’s, Kathy Machin and Sue Wheatley did an excellent job in documenting their observations with detailed notes, plus a lot of supporting information.

I like the following quote from the introduction: “We hope you will not rush through the objects, saying, yep, that’s one. What’s next? The Messier List is not a race.”

I continue to use my copy of the AL Messier Objects even after many years, and actually had the previous edition (the author used a 3.5-SkyScope reflector) before this update version.  Unfortunately, I gave the first edition to someone who I thought would use it, but never did.  I sure wish that I had it back!   Roger

With so many astronomy clubs sponsoring Messier Marathons on the weekend of the 21st, it would be a great opportunity for each club to promote the Astronomical League Messier Awards certificate.

As I’ve mentioned in published articles, emails, and presentations and other:  “Observing with a purpose” is seemingly the most important thing any amateur can do to continue with that passion we all had when we first started.

Glen Chaple quoted me on this in his “Observing Basics” in the March Astronomy Magazine.

What if only two or three amateurs in each of the clubs across the country, sponsoring a marathon would use the night for an opportunity to carefully study each object, making visual notes, and beginning a lifetime of serious amateur astronomy?  I’m betting that the number of serious amateur astronomer’s would increase dramatically!  

Maybe even using the night as a start for achieving their Messier Awards Certificate and pin, and finding their “observing with a purpose”  for many years to come.  

Roger Ivester

Roger and Debbie Ivester

Posted March 4, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

A Cold windy day:  February 2015


Globular Cluster M13 and The Elusive Propeller – Orion Telescope and Binocular Article

Posted March 1, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

Originally posted on rogerivester:

If you’ve never seen the three dark lanes in M13, known as “the propeller” let 2014 be your year.   

To read the full article on the Orion Telescope and Binocular site:  Go to the “Community Page” then “Deep-Sky Challenge” or just click on the following Orion link. 


M13 And The Elusive Propeller

View original

M35 and NGC 2158 – Open Clusters In Gemini

Posted February 25, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Deep-Sky Observing Reports


M35 and NGC 2158 have always been favorites of mine.  Years ago when using a 4.5-inch reflector, it could be difficult, especially from my light polluted backyard at that time.  I often used NGC 2158 to determine transparency. 

M35:  102 mm refractor is extremely bright with the most noticeable feature being a curving star chain crossing through the center of the cluster.  The cluster contains mostly bright bluish-white stars.  NGC 2158 appears as a faint, mostly round patch of light without resolution, however, one brighter star (requiring averted vision) can be seen on the western edge.  

NGC 2158:  10-inch reflector at 256x will resolve about 40 or so faint stars.  Excellent seeing and high magnification is required to resolve this beautiful, faint and small open cluster.

The following is a pencil sketch using a No. 2 pencil, blank 5 x 8 note card with a 10-inch reflector at 44x.  Color inverted via computer and standard color sketch…

Rogers NGC-2158


The following image of open cluster NGC 2158 is by Dr. James Dire of Hawaii, using an 8-inch RC f/8 telescope with 6 x 10 minute exposures. 


NGC 1569 – Galaxy in Camelopardalis

Posted February 24, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Deep-Sky Observing Reports

Galaxy, NGC 1569 sketch using a No. 2 pencil, and a blank 5 x 8 note card.  


Inverted pencil sketch via computer by Fred Rayworth of Nevada.   My scanner is not working due to an update in operating systems with my MacBook Pro.  A new flat bed scanner is on the agenda for purchase this year.

Rogers NGC-1569

The following image, compliments of Dr. James Dire of Hawaii, using an 8-inch RC f/8 telescope, with an exposure of 90 minutes.  


Observers Challenge Report:  JANUARY 2015 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-1569

Carbon Star Observing – The Astronomical League Brings It Back With 100 Of The Finest Carbon Stars In The Northern Hemisphere

Posted February 20, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Carbon Stars



Red Star observing was a very popular facet of amateur astronomy from the 1800’s until about the mid-60’s.  Unfortunately, observing Carbon Stars, better known as Red Stars are seldom observed by amateurs of today.

I became interested in Carbon Stars during the mid-70’s, but it would be twenty years until I gained a real passion, or became a serious student of these beautiful and fabulous gems of the night sky. 

In the very early 90’s, Tom English and I became very good friends.  At that time, Tom was a professor of Astronomy and Physics at a local university, very close to my home.

 Tom gave presentations concerning Carbon Stars at some of our astronomy club meetings.  He discussed not only the visual beauty, but also the (B-V) color index scale, explaining in precise detail…exactly what it meant.  I soaked it all in.

I have taken a 12 year hiatus with my observing of both Carbon Stars and Doubles.  A couple years ago the Astronomical League introduced a new observing program, complete with a good quality slick covered book, covering 100 of the finest Carbon Stars in the northern hemisphere.

In recent years I’ve spent all of my observing time on galaxies, nebulae and star clusters.  However, now I’m ready for a change, and am ready to start on the AL Carbon Star list.  

I’m planning to log my observations on this site.  

The great thing about Carbon Stars…they can be observed in highly light polluted locations and even with a moon, however, like all deep-sky objects, they are best observed with a dark sky.  When observing with a moon, it’s best to observe carbon stars that are the most distant, as it can be impossible to determine the true color with the moon shinning into the telescope. 

Other than completing the AL Double Star List back in 1996, I’ve also observed and logged well over 200 other selected doubles over the years.  

Just recently, I put my 10-inch reflector into a closet….so it’s effectively in storage.  

I’m planning on observing far less faint galaxies, and nebulae this year, so am hopeful to use my 102 mm refractor for many of the brighter carbon stars.  A small to medium aperture telescope can work well with doubles and red stars within their light gathering capability and resolution.    

My small refractor is also quite a bit easier to set up than my 10-inch reflector.     


 Roger Ivester



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