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

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 rresides 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 acromatic 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 


M83 – Galaxy in Hydra – Difficult Due Only to its Southerly Location

Posted July 3, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Observer's Challenge Reports

M83, NGC 5236:  Galaxy in Hyra

Date: April 9th 1997

Telescope: 10-inch f/4.5 Newtonian reflector Magnification: 57x – FOV: 0.50º – 1/2º Conditions:

Transparency poor due to southerly latitude:  NELM 4.5 at zenith

Visual description: Very bright, stellar nucleus, brighter elongated central region, oriented NNE-SSW, with a faint mostly round halo. With patience and averted vision, a very subtle curving arm, ESE of the core. This was very surprising considering the sky glow and southerly location of this galaxy from my backyard. Despite the light pollution, and haze, this galaxy was fairly easy to locate using the 10-inch at 57x.

My first recorded notes of M83 are…as following, but not my first observation. My only regrets as an amateur: I just wish that I had started making observational notes and sketches when I did my first deep-sky studies at a very young age in the fall of 1966.

May 1992: 10-inch reflector @ 57x: Faint, mostly round, but a subtle elongated shape when using averted vision. Very difficult due to unshielded street lights in very close proximity of my backyard.  

Observer’s Challenge Report:  JUNE 2015 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – M-083

The following pencil sketch was made at the telescope eyepiece, using a No. 2 pencil, a blank 5 x 8 notecard with the colors inverted via computer.  “Double click” to enlarge sketches.

Rogers M-083 A

Original Telescope Sketch  


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.  


My son, Chad, daughter-in-law, Tina, and grandkids


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, my son, Brad.

East coast grandkids:  L-R:  Anna-Grace, John-Winston, Isaac, and Elisha Ivester



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 using 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 well cared for horses, and a wagon with 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 me after surpassing 125,000 lifetime 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 coffee shop on a cold day with light snow.   


My son, Rev. Roger Chadwick Ivester, and wife, daughter-in-law, Tina.   


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 eighteen 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 


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