The Cleveland County Astronomical Society Pays Tribute To Longtime Member, Marion “Rusty” McDonald: October 31, 1932 – October 2, 2015

Posted October 5, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

Rusty McDonald was born in Shelby, North Carolina.  In 1955, after college, he moved to Los Angeles to work for Garrett AiResearch.  It was there that Rusty found and married the love of his life, Barbara Bergman.  In 1992, Rusty and Barbara moved back to Shelby, and became very active members of the CCAS.  It was with their association with the CCAS that both Debbie and I became very good friends with the McDonald’s, as well as many others of the astronomy club.  We feel it was a true honor and privilege to have known this wonderful couple, and become their friends.  It was in the mid-90’s that the famous telescope builder, John Dobson of the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers spent at least a week with the McDonald’s.  The Dobsonian Telescope Mount which is so popular today was named after Dobson.

Barbara passed away in October, 2000.

Rusty…you will certainly be missed by your wonderful family and many many friends!!!

Double click on photo’s to enlarge:



Rusty was very proud of his Scottish Heritage.  Bagpiper, Mr. Mark Bosemiller was a part of the service today, and during this picture, was playing “Amazing Grace” which was incredible.


Below: John Dobson giving some astronomy advice in the McDonald’s living room.



M16 – Open Cluster plus Nebula in Serpens: Pencil Sketches, Notes and Image

Posted August 29, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Challenge Reports


August 2015 – Observer’s Challenge Report:  Click on the following link. 


M16 – NGC 6611:  Open cluster and nebula in Serpens, often called “The Eagle”  
Date: October 1996
Telescope: 10-inch reflector
Sketch: Magnification 57x and field of view 1.1º
Conditions: Transparency Poor – NELM 5.0
Location: Moderately light polluted backyard

About 30 mostly faint stars could be counted, with a greater concentration on the NNW edge. A pair of 8th magnitude stars located on the W side. A faint and small triangle of mostly equal stars located just outside the nebula on the NNE edge. The nebula is mostly faint. When using averted vision and patience, the nebula makes a cross shape, as seen in the following pencil sketch. Easily seen with an 8 x 50 finder appearing as a faint nebulous patch.

My backyard is a poor location to observe this object, as ambient lighting from a couple unshielded streetlights are located in close proximity to my observing site. This object would be best observed from a true dark site and with the use of an O-III or UHC filter.

3.5-inch Maksutov-Cassegrain 
Date: September 1997
Magnification: 52x

About 15 stars counted, with a prominent double star located on the western edge. The surrounding nebula is very faint and appears without a definite shape, encompassing the cluster. A faint and small triangle of stars is located on N edge.

Roger Ivester

Following image by Dr. James Dire of Hawaii:

“My image of M16 was taken with a 4-inch apochromatic refractor at f/6.3. The exposure was 90 minutes with an SBIG ST-2000XCM single shot color CCD camera. Even with this small aperture, dark dusty pillars of gas are easily seen. These are the types of pillars magnificently imaged and made famous by the Hubble Space Telescope. The red glowing hydrogen gas does take the shape of an eagle. Faint glowing gases extending beyond The Eagle are part of a larger complex, which includes the neighbor M17 nebula.”  JD


Pencil sketch by Jaakko Saloranta of Finland using a 4.5-inch Newtonian reflector @ 101x with a FOV of 30 arc minutes:


Chaple’s Arc and the Cygnus Fairy Ring

Posted August 14, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

  • Date of observation:  August 13th 2015
  • Transparency:  Poor – Very high humidity  
  • Seeing:  Excellent
  • Telescope:  10-Inch f/4.5 Reflector 
  • Location:  Foothills of North Carolina

I located and recognized immediately using a 32 mm eyepiece @ 36x with a 1.8º FOV.   The first star I noticed was double star h1470, with the primary being a ruddy or rust color.  

When increasing the magnification, using a 20 mm eyepiece @ 57x with a 1º FOV, at least eight or more pairs of double stars, making a circle could be seen and separated.  This beautiful ring of double stars was framed very nicely within the 1º field.  A fabulous and most interesting asterism.  Dimensions: 40 x 40 arc minutes  

The following is an excerpt from an article by Glenn Chaple and posted by “Skyscrapers, Inc.” 

“Forgive me for the apparent ego trip, but this month I’m going to introduce you to an amazing little asterism called “Chaple’s Arc.” I stumbled upon the Arc in the mid-1970s while looking for the double star h1470. Instead of one double, I found four arranged in an arc 1/2° across. So smitten was I by its extraordinary appearance that I eventually wrote about it in the September 1980 issue of Deep Sky Monthly. New York amateur astronomer John Pazmino viewed the group and dubbed it “Chaple’s Arc.”

A quarter century later, I decided to introduce the Arc to a much larger audience by featuring it in my “Observing Basics” column in Astronomy. To my amazement, I saw the same group described in the British magazine Sky at Night. The writer called it the “Fairy Ring.” Uh-oh! Had I missed something?

After a little detective work and an assist from Sky and Telescope’s Sue French, I learned that the Arc had been seen by Utah amateur astronomer Kim Hyatt in the early 1990s. Like me, he found it during a search for h1470. Because he was using a larger telescope than I had, he was able to view some faint pairs that, along with my four, formed a ring of double stars. Not knowing about Chaple’s Arc, he and a friend christened it the Fairy Ring.”   Glenn Chaple/Skyscrapers, Inc. 

 I made the following pencil sketch using a No. 2 pencil and a blank 5 x 8 notecard.  Roger 


Open Cluster’s NGC 752, NGC 7243, and NGC 7789

Posted August 10, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

NGC 752 – Open Cluster in Andromeda

Date: October 27th 1994 – Location:  North Carolina Foothills

Conditions:  Poor; NELM 4.5 – Telescope: 10-inch f/4.5 reflector – Magnification: 20mm Erfle EP @ 57x FOV: 1º

Notes: Naked eye object with a dark sky. A very large open cluster easily fills a 1º eyepiece field of view. Approximately 75 or more stars could be counted. Two prominent bright stars, one being yellow and the other reddish or rust lies to the SSW. This cluster is mostly irregularly round with many chains of stars crossing throughout.

NGC 7243 – Open Cluster in Lacerta Date: September 30th 1994 – Location:  North Carolina Foothills

Conditions:  Fair; NELM 5.0 – Telescope: 10-inch f/4.5 reflector – Magnification: 20mm Erfle EP @ 57x FOV: 1º

Notes: Very irregularly shaped, fairly loose open cluster. Double star Struve 2890 with both stars at mag 8.5 lies in the center. A dark lane crosses the central region.

NGC 7789 – Open Cluster in Cassiopeia – Date: December 20th 1994 – Location:  North Carolina Foothills 

Conditions:  Good; NELM 5.5; Telescope: 10-inch f/4.5 reflector; Magnification: 16mm University Optics Konig EP @ 71x and FOV:  0.92º

Notes:  Circular chains or patterns of stars. This cluster is large, very rich and condensed. Beautiful and refreshing after looking at faint objects.

Roger Ivester

NGC 1502 – Open Cluster – And Kemble’s Cascade 3º Star Chain – Camelopardalis – Observer’s Challenge – January 2012 – Posted August 18th 2012

Posted August 1, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

Originally posted on rogerivester:

Using a 76mm (3-inch reflector) at 13x with a 5 degree field of view:  

I could see both NGC 1502 and most of Kemble’s Cascade, a bright chain of stars cascading from the NW toward the cluster.   At this low power, NGC 1502 appears as a faint patch with several bright stars noted with a triangular shape. 

When increasing the magnification to 70x, I could count 8-10 stars, and double star Struve 485 was very easy.  The central region of the cluster appears a bit hazy due to faint stars in the background, too faint to be resolved with the small scope.   RI

NGC 1502 & Kemble's Cascade-1

To read the entire report, please click on the following link.


View original

Phillip Ivester Race Cars, Fabrication and Engineering

Posted July 25, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

My brother, Phillip has had much success in drag racing, winning “an amazing” 164 events in the past 30 years.  

The summer heat, haze and humidity in the foothills of North Carolina as always, makes it virtually impossible to observe.  I can’t hardly wait for the cooler nights of September and the frosty clear nights of October.   Roger 


NGC 6503 – Galaxy in Draco

Posted July 17, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Observer's Challenge Reports

Observer’s Challenge link:  JULY 2015 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-6503

NGC 6503 – Galaxy in Draco – Magnitude 10.2

Telescope: 10-inch f/4.5 reflector Magnification: 183x FOV: 0.38º Transparency: Fair to poor Temperature: 85º Humidity: 55% Dew Point: 67º NELM: 5.0 A surprisingly clear sky summer sky for the foothills of North Carolina.

However, the humidity was very high, reducing the transparency considerably. Very easy to locate and see at low power, but lacking detail. The seeing was good, therefore allowing the use of 183x. The galaxy is well concentrated, but appeared fairly dim due to the poor transparency. Highly elongated with the NW being much brighter than the SE. When using averted vision, the texture is uneven with mottling. A very subtle elongated brightening in the central region, but no core. A semi-circle of five faint stars lies just south, making a curve toward the west and going well beyond the galaxy.

The following is a “rough field sketch” using a No. 2 pencil and a blank 5 x 8 notecard.  Colors inverted via computer. 

Rogers NGC-6503

NGC 6503
Dr. James R. Dire

NGC6503 is a 10th magnitude spiral galaxy located in the constellation Draco. The galaxy is relative easy to find. The stars Chi Draconis (magnitude 3.6), Omega Draconis (4.78), 27 Draconis (5.1) and Aldhibal, aka Zeta Draconis (3.2), all lie roughly on a line. NGC6503 resides on the same line between the stars Chi and Omega. It is roughly at the midpoint between Chi and 27 Draconis.

Because of its northerly declination, NGC6503 is circumpolar for most northern hemisphere observers. Even here in Kauai it doesn’t set; although it is only two degrees above the horizon at its lowest elevation. I first spotted NGC6503 this month with my 6-inch f/6 achromatic refractor. Since I used a GOTO mount in was in the eyepiece with little effort. With the 6-inch scope, the galaxy was very faint and looked like an faint elongated patch.

Pointing the red dot finder on my 14-inch f/6 Dobsonian at the correct location, I could not make out the galaxy in the adjacent 8×50 finder. But it was dead center in the scope’s eyepiece. Finding it was actually just as quick star hopping with the Dob as it was with the GOTO mount with the refractor. The Dob revealed a tiny bright spot in the nucleus, but not much detail in the galaxy beyond that. A red giant star, HD163465 (magnitude 8.6), lies in the same field of view as the galaxy providing some good contrast.

NGC6503 is a member of the local group of galaxies. It lies 18 million light years away. The galaxy spans 30,000 light years making it roughly one-third the size of our Milky Way galaxy. The galaxy is 5.9 x 1.9 arcminutes in size with the major axis running northwest to southeast. The apparent elongation is because the galaxy is closer to edge on than face on.

My image of NGC6503 was taken with a 10-inch f/6 Newtonian with a SBIG ST-2000XCM CCD camera. The exposure was four hours. The image shows a very bright but compact core, indicative of an Sc classification galaxy. Even though not very open to our vantage point, the tightly wound spiral arms with large dust lanes are readily apparent. The bright spot to the left and slightly below the core is a large star-forming region easily identified on HST images of NGC6503. Below that, near the apparent bottom edge of the galaxy is another bright spot containing hot young blue stars not obstructed from our viewpoint by dust lanes.  James Dire 



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