NGC 4244 – Galaxy in Canes Venatici – Observer’s Challenge – May 2015

Posted June 4, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

NGC 4244, galaxy in Canes Venatici

Date: May 22nd 2015
Telescope: 10-inch Newtonian Reflector
Sketch Magnification: 114x
Field Of View: 0.50º
NELM: 4.8 – 5.0

Due to the clouds and rain in western North Carolina for the past couple or more months, it’s been impossible for me to observe. Fortunately, I had a window of opportunity on Friday night, May 22nd, to log a new observation of NGC 4244, for this months Observer’s Challenge. The last time I observed this galaxy was over twenty years ago, and my notes were rather sparse, and unfortunately I had not made a sketch.

Due to the crescent moon, at about 10º above the tree line, the galaxy could not be seen. At about 11:00 EDT, I was able to begin my observation. The moon was still creating a brightness in the sky, even though it was setting in the trees. I waited till the moon was below the horizon before beginning my observation, notes and sketch.

10-inch at a magnification of 114x: Large, low surface brightness, highly elongated, oriented NE-SW. A mostly smooth texture with little or no center brightness. A faint star lies on the the northern tip, just touching the halo. On the SW edge a pair of faint stars could be seen using averted vision, and just below this double, a fairly bright star.

Roger Ivester

Pencil sketches:  The original made at the telescope eyepiece and inverted color via computer.


Rogers NGC-4244 Try 3

The following image by Dr. James Dire of Hawaii, 150 mins exposure (10 x 15) using a 102 Apochromatic Refractor.


To read the entire “Observer’s Challenge” report:  MAY 2015 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-4244-1

This is our 76th consecutive LVAS Observer’s Challenge report, and are hoping for many more years.  It has not only made me a better observer….it’s always interesting to read the assessment and observation of others.  roger

A Change of Pace: A few snapshots of family and other stuff.

Posted May 28, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

IMG_4192My west coast granddaughter, Zoe with her 76 mm Orion Dobsonian Telescope.    


Zoe after a visit to the beauty salon to see her stylist, Tiffany.  The second picture was taken in California after a bit of face painting, along with her Dad who is my son, Brad.

IMG_5911 My east coast grandkids from Mullins, South Carolina.  Gracie to the left, then John-Winston, Isaac, and my youngest grandson…Elisha.   IMG_9299 Wow!  Grandson John-Winston (L) and Elisha far right, with Justin Herring (C) a family friend and more, from Mullins, SC.  I really don’t know who caught this monster fish?  Was it Justin or John-Winston…maybe Elisha?


Debbie’s favorite telescope.  An 18 year old Orion/Vixen 102 mm refractor, which allowed me to finally see Sirius B for the first time in 2012.  My first attempt to see the companion to Sirius, also know as the “Pup” was in 1977, but with failure.  However, at that time I was using a 4.25-inch f/10 EQ Edmund Reflector with a spherical mirror.  This was not really the most suitable telescope to attempt to see one of the most difficult doubles.  This famous double began closing at  about that time (1975) and has only opened up wide enough in recent years to allow for the separation by an amateur telescope.  


Debbie and I were fortunate to be able to get our picture taken with the “World Famous…Budweiser Clydesdale Pulling Team”  Wow!  What beautiful and well cared for horses, and a wagon with all “hand lettered” gold leaf lettering, and lacquer overcoat.    (Saturday, May 30th 2015.)  

Roger Ivester And Zoe This is one of my favorite pictures from 2011.  Zoe and I were at the Red Rock Canyon visitors center, just outside of Las Vegas.  photo I call this picture from several years ago:  “A moment in time” when I was able to have all of my grandkids together in South Carolina.  Isaac is to the far left, then John-Winston (c) then Gracie, and Zoe on the far right.  Elisha is in the center with Gracie using his head for a prop.  The vintage 60 mm refractor telescope shown was a gift to the kids by my good friend, Mike Ribadeneyra.  I keep hoping that all of my grandkids will become amateur astronomers one day, however, at the moment it doesn’t look too good.  They are pretty busy these days with other things like swimming, iPhones, video games, MacBooks, iMac’s and messaging with their friends.   DSCF5032 My two sons, Roger Chadwick (L) and Bradley Jason.  I’m really fortunate to have sons like these guys.  Again…this picture was taken a couple or more years ago.  However, this was the last time, I was able to take a picture of both together.  A very special photo to me…


Just about all my observing for the past 25 years has been from this well-build and sturdy deck, or from my moderately light polluted backyard.


A picture of my wife, Debbie and I on a cold & windy February 2015 day…


A picture of me after surpassing 125,000 life time miles on my bicycle. 


My wife, Debbie and our sweet baby girl, Sophie sitting behind my favorite and most used telescope for the past 25 years, and having spent almost 2,000 hours at the eyepiece during this period.  Hey…that’s like working 50 weeks and 40 hours per week!   A vintage Meade 10-inch reflector (model DS-10A) and also with my latest mount, a Celestron CGE Pro.  



Swim champion:  Grandson, Isaac Ivester


Hey…this is me, working on an astronomy article at the Broad River Coffee shop on a cold day with light snow.  


Debbie and I having a bit of dessert during the mid-afternoon at one of our favorite restaurants. 


My son (Rev. Roger Chadwick Ivester) and wife, daughter-in-law, Tina.  Chadwick “Chad” is pastor of the Mullins First Baptist Church in Mullins, South Carolina.  


Anna-Grace seemingly aggravating one of her brothers, John-Winston.


CJ has been my observing partner for many years.  Sometimes sitting on my lap while “attempting” to observe and sketch a faint deep-sky object.  She is nearing twenty years old and is now a bit more fragile, and doesn’t like the cold nights anymore.  She is much more content sitting at the back door, waiting for me to come back inside.


FullSizeRenderOur Miniature Dachshund, Nova Sophia.  

“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 

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.   image002 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)    NGC3184 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 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


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.