“Ivester’s Diamond” – Faint Five Star Asterism in Virgo – Recommendation name change by astronomy author, lecturer, James Mullaney FRAS

Posted May 19, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Observer's Challenge Reports

 Today I am humbled and honored by noted astronomy author, lecturer and former editor at both Sky & Telescope and Astronomy Magazines, James Mullaney, FRAS.

James “Jim” Mullaney has honored me with a recommendation to change the name of the faint “Virgo Diamond” to “Ivester’s Diamond” as a tribute to my determination and perseverance to promote and keep this most interesting and  difficult deep-sky object alive.   

Jim believes that without my tireless efforts over the past twenty-plus years,  the “Diamond” would have been lost to time, therefore escaping the joys and challenge to the astronomical community, for now and the future.    

His other reason:  It is often confused with the large grouping of constellation stars, also known by the same name.  

I became interested in the small, faint asterism, back in the early 90’s.  It’s been my desire to promote this wonderful object for over twenty years.  I’ve written articles for club newsletter’s, the Las Vegas Astronomical Society, Observer’s Challenge, Orion Telescope and Binocular, and others. 

The following document was filed today (May 19th 2015) by James Mullaney for the recommended change:  

Dear Fellow Stargazers:

As you may know, over the years I’ve given names to nearly a dozen deep-sky wonders.  These include the Blinking Planetary (NGC 6826), the Winter Albireo (h3945), Lassell’s Delight (M35) and Peltier’s Variable (R Leonis).  Nearly all have been recognized/adopted, including among others by Sky & Telescope itself. Now it’s time to add another one! 

I’ve changed the name of the Virgo Diamond to Ivester’s Diamond as a well-deserved and long overdue honor to my good friend and fellow observer Roger Ivester.  Surely anyone reading this is aware of his amazing efforts to promote this tiny asterism.

Note that making this change will now also eliminate the confusion with the vastly larger original Virgo Diamond asterism.

James (Jim) Mullaney

Fellow Royal Astronomical Society of London 

A Pencil Sketch which was drawn by myself back in 2012, when I first saw the 5th star after over 20 years of failure.  To enlarge…double click on the following sketch.

Virgo Diamond - five stars

Image of the very faint “Diamond” by Dr. Don Olive, taken from Australia

Dr Don Olive - Image Virgo Diamond 

The following is an article which I wrote for Orion Telescope and Binocular a couple of years ago concerning the “Diamond.”  Please click on the following link for the full report…

For some reason the following Orion Telescope and Binocular’s link will not open on the LVAS FB page, however, if not, just go to:   http://www.rogerivester.com


NGC 3184 – Galaxy in Ursa Major – Observer’s Challenge: April 2015

Posted May 16, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Observer's Challenge Reports

To read the entire LVAS Observer’s Challenge Report, just click on the following link:    APRIL 2015 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-3184

The following pencil sketch was made using a No. 2 pencil, a blank 5 x 8 note card, colors inverted via computer.  Telescope: 10-inch Newtonian Reflector.  


NGC 3184 – galaxy in Ursa Major Date: February 25th 2000 Telescope: 10-inch Newtonian reflector Magnifications: Sketch @ 57x FOV: Sketch 1º Transparency: Fair NELM: 5.0 Very low surface brightness, mostly round with a slight N-S elongation. The overall texture is very smooth with a brighter core, however, very subtle. A magnitude 12 star lies just to the north, possibly touching the galaxy halo. I was very surprised, despite the LSB, a fairly high magnification of 143x worked extremely well for a careful view of the central region. To the west at about 30 arc minutes is bright star, Mu Ursa Majoris. The 9.8 cataloged magnitude of this galaxy is very deceiving, as it appears much dimmer, due to the very low surface brightness. If the transparency is not good, this galaxy can be very difficult. Best observed from a dark site for sure. My first observation of this galaxy was in 1993. During this session the skies were much darker with a NELM of 5.8 magnitude. The galaxy was easy to locate, according to my notes, using the same 10-inch telescope. Light pollution has increased in my backyard over the past twenty-five years. My notes from 1993: Low Surface brightness, mostly round shape with a brighter more concentrated central region.    Roger Ivester

The following Image was made by Dr. James Dire using an Orion 190 mm Maksutov-Newtonian Telescope.  Exposure 40 minutes (4 x 10)   


The following pencil sketch was made by Jaakko Saloranta of Finland, using an 8-inch reflector and shows the spiral structure.  This is a good example of what is possible by a skilled visual observer using only a telescope, an eyepiece and a dark sky.   


NGC 2683 – Galaxy In Lynx – Beautiful Edge-On Spiral

Posted April 6, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Observer's Challenge Reports

Pencil sketch with the colors inverted using a 10-inch Newtonian reflector @ 183x.   Rogers NGC-2683a The following image by Dr. James Dire of Hawaii, using an Orion 190 mm Maksutov-Newtonian with an exposure of 60 minutes (6 x 10)  NGC2683 MARCH 2015 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-2683-1 Roger Ivester

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

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