Roger Ivester: Amateur Astronomer

Posted December 15, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

Thank you for visiting my site. I’m hopeful that you’ll find it both interesting and possibly beneficial in your future observations.

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I first became interested in astronomy in the mid-60’s at the age of twelve. One of my brothers, Jim had purchased a 60 mm refractor, and I soon became interested in this telescope.

It had an equatorial mount, several eyepieces, a Barlow lens, and a host of other accessories. I would take this small telescope into a weedy field beside  my house, where I hoped to view some of those fabulous spiral galaxies, nebulae and star clusters I’d seen in my science books. However, this was not yet to be, as I had quite a bit of learning to do, which continues to this day.     

I grew up in the foothills of North Carolina, and my house was located near the end of a dirt road with only two others.  

It was a fabulous place for a budding new amateur astronomer, completely devoid of light pollution. The sky was velvety black with the Milky Way extending almost to the southern horizon. 

My progression was slow, and found amateur astronomy to be difficult.  However, it was fun just being outside with my telescope in total solitude.

When looking into the eyepiece, the colors of the stars became obvious. I perceived some as being rust, white, blue, bluish-white, or orange. And sometimes while looking at those distant suns, I’d wonder if there was life beyond the Earth.

I can still remember the frogs in the spring and summer, and occasionally a solitary great horned owl in the distance on those cold wintry nights.  

Summer in western North Carolina had a sound all its own, with a million insects singing in perfect harmony.  Gazing at a dark sky, full of stars and listening to the sounds of nature was mesmerizing.  

During those early years, I didn’t know of another kid having an interest in telescopes and astronomy.  At least twenty years would pass before I would meet that other person with a similar interest.  And finding that other person with an interest in astronomy would finally happen in 1985.  A local astronomy club was formed and I became a member with my youngest son, Brad.  

I gave my first amateur astronomy presentation to my eighth grade science class in October 1967.  The title of my presentation was “How To Use An Astronomical Telescope.” I used my brothers 60 mm Sears (Jason) refractor, and told the class all about it, and most importantly, how to use it.  I was a big hit…even if it only lasted for the remainder of the day.  

It wasn’t until the mid-70’s that I acquired my very own telescope, a 4 1/4-inch Edmund Scientific Newtonian reflector, a Palomar Jr. which was not my first choice, but the best my budget would allow at this time in my life.

Using an inflation calculator, the cost of the Edmund reflector which was $159.50 in 1976, would be $744.45 in 2019.  

I’ll never forget one special night using that humble Edmund scope, while attempting to locate M81 and M82, two of the most beautiful galaxies in the heavens. And by this time, the fabulous skies of my early years were gone. I’d moved to an area packed with houses and street lights.   

One night, I was using my hands in an attempt to block the ambient light from entering my eyepiece, and then it happened:  A small and faint fuzzy object entered my telescope view, and then with a slight nudge, another…..finally M81 and M82.  What a beautiful sight!  I savored the view for the longest time and to this day and I can still feel that excitement.  I went to bed smiling that night, and in my mind, I was now a real amateur astronomer!    

Getting Serious:

There would be many other successes and failures in the years to follow, however, it wasn’t until 1992 that I became a serious observer. A new 10-inch, equatorially mounted reflector allowed me to see faint deep-sky objects that were impossible with my previous smaller telescopes. 

After a period of time with my new 10-inch reflector, I soon realized that just going outside and observing was not enough.  I needed a purpose, something more lasting.  I began taking copious notes on all objects observed, noting the minutest of details, or at least to the best of my abilities.  This also proved to be somewhat lacking, so I added to those notes by pencil sketching.  I soon realized that drawing deep-sky objects challenged me to really see what I was trying to observe.

Over the past years, I have observed and cataloged many deep-sky objects, accumulating more than a thousand pencil sketches. This has required many hours at the eyepiece, and a countless number of hours working on notes, organization of the notes, sketches and astronomy articles.  

My first recorded notes were fairly brief, and my sketches were not as detailed as I would have liked.  Even today, I’m still working to improve both my notes and sketching, never being totally satisfied  with the results.  I suppose that sketchers and astrophotographers are very much alike in this regard…always striving for something better.   

Supplemental:  

Co-founder of the Las Vegas Astronomical Society Observer’s Challenge report.   An international deep-sky observing report, which allows any serious amateur the opportunity to share notes, sketches and images for a preselected deep-sky object on a monthly basis. The observer’s challenge will begin its eleventh year in 2019.  

Observer’s Challenge mission statement: “Sharing observations and bringing amateur astronomers together” 

I was fortunate to be able to play a role in the Mount Potosi Observing Complex in Southern Nevada, facilitating a $50,000 telescope donation by Dr. James Hermann, M.D. from North Carolina. The facility has been featured in Astronomy Magazine, the Las Vegas Review Journal and other publications.  

https://rogerivester.com/2016/12/04/mount-potosi-observing-complex-las-vegas-astronomical-society-an-aerial-photo-by-james-yeager-pilot-american-airlines/

Astronomy blogger since 2010.   http://www.rogerivester.com 

Roger and Debbie Ivester 

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Just had to include a photo of my other hobby….cycling.  I’ve been fortunate to have logged more than 140,000 lifetime miles, as of 2018.      

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A Brief “Astrobiography” of Gus E. Johnson

Posted December 7, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Gus Johnson Autobiography

      I became acquainted with Gus Johnson almost ten years ago, and as time passed, we became friends.  Shortly afterwards, he became a regular contributor to the Observer’s Challenge report.  

     Gus has never used a computer, so it has always been necessary for me to call him via telephone, to receive his observations notes each month.   However, this has never been a problem for me, as I always enjoyed our conversations over the years.  Gus still uses a typewriter for all of his notes and communications.  

     In 2018, Gus sent me his autobiography…using a typewriter.  It was my plan to turn his “typewritten” story into a Word document, and then post on my blog site.  However, I could never seem to get started.  

     So in November 2019, I put out a report, asking if anyone would be interested in helping me tell the story of Gus Johnson “in his own words”.  

     A few weeks passed, and then I received an email from Nina Craven of Massachusetts.  

     Nina offered to convert the typewritten notes by Gus into a Word document. And she did a fabulous job!  Both of us decided that his story should indeed be in his own words….so, only a very few minor changes were made. 

     Thank you Nina.  Without you, this important autobiography may not have been completed.  

     Many of you may not know who Gus Johnson is, or his accomplishments and contribution to the world of astronomy.  

 

The following information is from wikipedia:  

SN 1979C was a supernova about 50 million light-years away in Messier 100, a spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices. The Type II supernovawas discovered April 19, 1979 by Gus Johnson, a school teacher and amateur astronomer.[2] This type of supernova is known as a core collapse and is the result of the internal collapse and violent explosion of a large star. A star must have at least 9 times the mass of the Sun in order to undergo this type of collapse.[3] The star that resulted in this supernova was estimated to be in the range of 20 solar masses.[1]

On November 15, 2010 NASA announced that evidence of a black hole had been detected as a remnant of the supernova explosion. Scientists led by Dr. Dan Patnaude from the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA evaluated data gathered between 1995 and 2007 from several space based observatories. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission, as well as the European Space Agency‘s XMM-Newton, and Germany’s ROSAT all participated in the examination.[4]

The researchers observed a steady source of X-rays and determined that it was likely that this was material being fed into the object either from the supernova or a binary companion. However, an alternative explanation would be that the X-ray emissions could be from the pulsar wind nebula from a rapidly spinning pulsar, similar to the one in the center of the Crab Nebula.[4] These two ideas account for several types of known X-ray sources. In the case of black holes the material that falls into the black hole emits the X-rays and not the black hole itself. Gas is heated by the fall into the strong gravitational field.

SN 1979C has also been studied in the radio frequency spectrum. A light curve study was performed between 1985 and 1990 using the Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico.[5]

 

For more information from Chandra:  

https://chandra.harvard.edu/chronicle/0410/sn1979c/

 

A BRIEF “ASTROBIOGRAPHY” OF GUS E. JOHNSON

     In late 1938 I was born, and lived in Vanergrift, Pennsylvania, which is short, about 40 miles north-east of Pittsburgh.  We lived on the bluff overlooking the Kiski River and the Pennsylvania Railroad;  trains soon became a big interest of mine that continues to the present, especially steam-powered trains.

     From I know not where I acquired an interest in classical music, which also is still a big interest after 68 years. I learned to play violin and organ, though not very well.

     One clear starry night I recall, when living on that bluff, but to no avail, as my parents knew next to nothing about stars (or music).  The news media reported a bright comet, but I didn’t see it. It scared me.  I wasn’t keeping notes then so that comet’s name is gone from me.

     In 8th grade, at the Lincoln School in Vandergrift, I chanced upon an article in the classroom encyclopedia, about Mars, with an artist’s version of what Mars looked like as seen from one of its moons.  I think that is what sparked my interest in astronomy.  I read many books on the subject, well, not really many since school libraries had few on astronomy.  Somehow I learned of “Sky and Telescope” magazine.  I still have my first issue , for January 1954, and nearly every issue since then.  Some 1200 issues take a lot of space, and other magazines I have saved in great numbers.  My house is badly a-clutter! 

     Around 1953 I got my first telescope, a hand-held 8 x 30 spyglass.  The optics were good, but hand-held, it was of little use astronomically.  About 1954 I was in high school, where I found that I knew more about astronomy than my general science teacher (9th grade).  She loaned me a larger telescope, of 15x to 40x, but hand-held.  Soon I bought a similar telescope and tried to mount it using a very flimsy music stand, so by the time vibrations died down the object under observation often had drifted out of the field, so I tried some other contrived mounts.  I got a few observations with it like of Venus and Mizar and the moon.  Saturn’s rings were visible, though tiny.

     My father passed away in 1951, and then my mother in 1961.  In 1954 she remarried and we then moved to Castle Shannon, a suburb of Pittsburgh.  I attended a high school in Mt. Lebanon, about 2 miles away, where there was a pretty fair library and more astronomy books.  The librarian acquainted me with the autobiography of John A. Brashear, which I have read numerous times, he being an excellent telescope builder and astronomer at Allegheny Observatory.  His book is a joy to read.  He, as a beginner who worked at a steel mill, had built himself a 5-in. refractor and a 12-in. f/10 reflector.  

     I was inspired to get a real astronomical telescope, and seeing an ad in “Sky and Telescope” I got a 3 ½ in. Skyscope, base priced at $30.  It had ¼ wave optics, and that was adequate to give fairly good views, at 35x and 60x.  A 2.4-in. f/15 Unitron refractor followed, then a Cave 6- in. f/7.8 Newtonian, which really did wonderfully on deep sky and high resolution planetary observing.  Suburban skies were light polluted but sometimes I could use high powers.  My stepfather had a cabin in the woods at Deep Creek Lake, in western Maryland, where skies were fairly dark.  Many trees obstructed the horizons, except to the north and northeast.

     My father’s name was Gus E. Johnson like myself.  My mother’s was Maryon.  My stepfather was Floyd Crouch; he passed away in 1957, as I wrote, my mother passed away in 1961, after which I moved from the Pittsburgh suburb to Deep Creek Lake.  I now have an 8-in. f/6 Orion reflector and a very handy 4 ¼-in. f/7 reflector from Three B Optics, from Mars, PA (They advertised “Mirrors from Mars”) and their optics were very good.  Alas, as with Cave, no longer in business.  Three B’s head optician was Bill Herdman.

     With so many surrounding trees I didn’t get very many observations.  One memorable observation was made, perhaps my only sighting of M51’s spiral arms was from that home.  I remember once carrying (no vehicle) my 55 lb. 6-in. at least a quarter mile so I could see into Scorpius.  I’d get set up on the road then a car would come with its bright lights and I’d have to move the telescope. I think I made that ordeal only once.  When I observe I like to have a writing desk beside the telescope, and along that road I couldn’t have that.

     In around 1973 I got married.  The house was too small so we moved around 24 miles away to Aurora, W.VA. to a sort of  “farmette”, a couple acres, but with good sky access.  My wife didn’t like me out observing, much discord, and a divorce came, a costly one; then I couldn’t afford a good house, so I got this rather dumpy one back near Deep Creek Lake.  It has some NW sky then a fairly low horizon NE through SW.  I can’t quite see Omega Centauri, but just up over the hill it can be seem dimly.  Gamma Velorum can be resolved from that site too, with a 40mm Unitron finder at 12x.  From my home site I can reach Theta Eridani, resolving with a 2.4-in. at 21x.  Those three are my most southern objects.

     More regular observing came with my joining the American Association of Variable Star Observers (the AAVSO).  Besides observing long period variables, like Mira, I observed some galaxies, looking for supernovae, though probably not too seriously at first.  On April 18, 1979 I invited the pastor of my church to join me observing, for he had an interest in astronomy.  I took him on a “tour” of the Coma-Virgo Galaxy Cluster with my 8-in. and Leland Copeland’s “Coma-Virgo Land” chart from the Feb. 1955 “Sky & Telescope”.  The pastor’s name is David Long, now a missionary in Botswana.  Anyway, when we looked at M100 (NGC 4321) I noticed a little star, about mag.11 near the galaxy’s edge.  I kept it in mind and later checked a Palomar photo and the star was not there so I phoned the AAVSO and they put out an alert.  By the next day, April 19,1979 it was confirmed, by L. Rosino of Asiago Astrophysical Observatory and R. Kirschner, of the University of Michigan, reported that McGraw-Hill Observatory got its spectrum.

     It was reported to be the third time ever that a supernova was discovered by telescope direct vision, rather than photographically.  The SN was no longer visible by 1980, but I read that it was by infra-red and/or radio telescopes.  I thank GOD for my noticing the SN.  Between mag. 10 and 11 are around a half million stars, and I couldn’t have memorized more than a “handful”. 

     At the autumn meeting of the AAVSO I was awarded a handsome plaque.  Some notable observers were also at that meeting: Canadian astronomers Rolf Meier, discoverer of numerous comets, and Warren Morrison, who discovered Nova Cygni with only a 2.4-in. refractor (probably a Unitron). Decades passed and I watched more galaxies just in case. 

     One interesting observation was made on Feb. 19, 1983.  I was looking for Omicron 2 Eridani (40 ERI) and where I expected to find what normally looks like a wide unequal pair, I saw a nearly equal double aligned apx. E-W, puzzling me. I didn’t become aware of what I had until too late.  The dim star is a pair of white and red dwarf stars, the latter occasionally erupting; it was flaring!  And I didn’t make any timings!

     In autumn of 2010 the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory scientists, using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory satellite discovered x-rays coming from the site of my supernova, which suggested that the SN had left a black hole behind. 

     All of a sudden I was getting calls from newspapers and the HSAO scientists, and a television interview was made.  The “Washington Post” newspaper wrote “…Gus Johnson talks about his black hole discovery 31 years ago.”  NOT quite correct; I found the supernova but NOT the black hole.  Dated Nov. 29, 2010.

     I have done little observing lately, due to my observing eye having a cataract, which I hope to have fixed this spring 2018.

     Like most amateurs I had “aperture fever” but am getting over it.  For over 60 years I wanted a 12-in. telescope, but feel now that it would be too heavy to lug around as long as I live here, where light pollution is increasing.  A good small telescope on a steady mount can give many wonderful evenings.  Just to get a rare clear night is a blessing.  My 4¼-in. at 38x can see mag. 12 stars and even my short 2.4-in. at 25x can see mag. 11.3 (and once reached mag. 13.0 at 86x).  And there are about 1,000 galaxies in range of my 8-in.

     Big automated observatories are putting visual observers “out of business”, yet I feel there are small opportunities for us to find a new nova or maybe even a comet.  Don’t give up.  It is fun trying.       

Gus Johnson

3-7-2018 

Outdoor Lighting Fixtures From Days Past

Posted December 2, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

At one time, most all commercial outdoor lighting was fully shielded and pleasant to the eye, without glare and creating excessive light pollution.

The following photos were made this morning (December 2, 2019) while driving to a local bagel shop.  Three of the lights are within a mile of my house and one is only two miles away.  

I’ve always thought of these 1920-50’s lights as objects of beauty.  

Many old and vacant stores or businesses have had their outdoor lights removed by those appreciating antique lighting fixtures.  

Roger Ivester

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IC 1805 – Cluster + Nebula – Cassiopeia – December 2019 – Observer’s Challenge Object

Posted November 23, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

B&W image of IC 1805:  An H alpha image taken through my 6-inch refactor in 2015 for wide field. And has 7,  20 min subs, so 2 hours 20 min of H alpha.  

Color Image:  This was combined with 1 hour each of Oxygen 2 filter and Sulfur filter:  See attached.

IC 1805 (the Heart Nebula), North is to the left on this image, rotated to show the “heart” shape more readily.

Of course…to a cardiologist the Right heart (on the left, person facing you), is very “enlarged” so this is a rather sick heart, with what I would call right heart failure.    Mario Motta 

 

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IC1805

Observing  description by Sue French: 

“Deep-Sky Wonders” P-12; 105 mm refractor: “Dropping the magnification to 17x gives my scope a 3.6º filed of view, and I can see extensive nebulosity in and around the cluster.”   Sue French 

 

Observing report by Roger Ivester: 

On Monday night, November 25, 2019, from my moderately light polluted back yard:  High humidity at 93%, with a “too mild” 45º temperature, which is a combination for poor transparency.  Wet!   

6-inch f/6 reflector, 26 mm eyepiece, 35x, for a 2º FOV, and O-III filter.  I could see the cluster, but not a hint of the nebulosity.  I’m hopeful for another observation later this week, but with another telescope.  

After reading the above excerpt from DSW’s (Sue French), I’m planning on using an 80 mm f/5 refractor, which will allow a 3.5º field of view.    

This 80 mm refractor is my prized “birthday telescope” given to me by my son. 

https://uk.telescope.com/mobileProduct/Articles/Equipment/Telescopes/High-Praise-for-the-CT80/pc/1455/c/1517/sc/1562/130518.uts

https://rogerivester.com/2019/01/22/debbie-ivester-my-first-photo-of-the-moon-using-an-iphone-and-telescope/

I’m already a bit excited to try again, but with a different telescope.  I might have to observe from a dark-site.    Roger Ivester 

 

Observation Report by Chris Elledge:

I spent Saturday night observing IC 1805 through a variety of telescopes with various filters at the ATMoB Clubhouse. The best view that I got was through a 102 mm f/7 refractor with a 35mm eyepiece providing a 20x mag and 3.4˚FoV. I recommend using a UHC to see the most nebulosity. While the edges of the nebula were still difficult to determine exactly where they stopped, it was clear that areas around the nebula were darker than the area inside.

I actually found a Hydrogen Beta filter to be useful on this object. In my refractor with the Explore Scientific H-beta filter (on the wide side for bandwidth) I was able to observe that the outer edge of the nebula was slightly brighter than parts of the middle. Some mottling was visible within the nebula outside of the brighter star clusters. This filter makes everything else really faint.

I was able to observe the nebulosity in both my 10″ f/5 Dob (36x, 1.9˚) and the ATMoB 25-inch f/3.5 Dob (63x, 1.1˚). In both cases it required extensive panning of the view to determine that the field was brighter within the nebula than outside. It was difficult in both cases to determine where exactly the edge of the nebula was. Sitting the view on the edges of the nebula, I could tell than one side of the view was brighter than the other. Filters helped, but the view through the 20x power of the 102 mm refractor was better.

Conclusions:

Low magnification definitely is important to this one. Probably works best with the biggest aperture you can find that still gives 20x or lower magnification at a reasonable exit pupil. I don’t think anything over 5-inches  will improve visibility. Don’t bother with OIII unless you want to just see the nebulosity around the bright clusters. UHC is ideal. H-beta is fun if you happen to have one that fits your lowest power eyepieces already.   Chris Elledge 

 

Wide-field Image by Doug Paul: 

Technical:
Unmodified Canon 80D, 400mm f/2.8 (142mm aperture) lens, ISO 800,
120 x 2 min = 4 hrs total. FOV: 2.6×2.1 deg, North up.
Processed for natural color.

IC 1795 (Fish Head Nebula) is on the upper right.   Doug

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Sameer Bharadwaj 

William Optics GT71 w/ 0.8x flattener

Optolong L-enhance filter, Canon EOS 77D modified

12 x 360 seconds, Ioptron zeq25 guided with QHY5L2M

Pursued the Heart Nebula all summer with an unmodified camera with limited success. This is the object that finally motivated me to get the camera modified.

Sameer 

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NGC 246 – Planetary Nebula – Cetus November 2019, Observer’s Challenge Object

Posted November 22, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

NOVEMBER 2019 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-246

 

 

NGC 7448 – Galaxy in Pegasus – Observer’s Challenge Object – October 2019

Posted November 9, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

The complete Observer’s Challenge report link as following: 

OCTOBER 2019 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-7448_

My first observation of galaxy NGC 7448, came on the night of October 24, 1994, using a 10-inch reflector.   Roger Ivester 

October 24th 1994: 

“10-inch @ 57x, can vaguely detect with direct vision, situated between two two dim stars, which are oriented ESE-NW of the galaxy.  When increasing the magnification to 190x, the galaxy appeared elongated, still fairly difficult, but could be seen with direct vision.  However, averted vision allowed a clear view of the elongated shape, oriented N-S, with a brighter stellar core.” 

It would be almost twenty five years before I would observe this galaxy again, on September 26th, 2019.  

An astronomy friend, Richard Nugent from Massachusetts, visited both my wife Debbie and I, and were fortunate to be able to observe the galaxy that night.  We estimated the NELM at about 5.0, which is actually pretty good for my back yard this time of the year in the foothills of North Carolina. 

Using a 10-inch reflector, the galaxy was fairly easy to see with direct vision, at 114x.  When increasing the magnification to 174x, using a 12.5 mm eyepiece and a 1.9x Barlow, the galaxy appeared elongated and oriented N-S, with a brighter core.   

However, for a faint galaxy such as this, and using a 10-inch reflector in a moderate-plus light polluted location….just being able to recognize and see a few minor details can be an accomplishment or considered a success.  

I was pleased to be able to see the very faint double star, magnitudes, 13.5 and 14.0 located to the NNW of the galaxy.   (Magnitudes from NOMAD, and provided by special advisor to the Observer’s Challenge, Sue French)  

The double is actually a triple, but the third component is very faint at magnitude 15.7, which is far too faint for my 10-inch reflector.  I’m hoping that others using much larger telescopes were able to see this third star.  

Roger Ivester 

Pencil sketch:  10-inch reflector @ 174x 

Rogers NGC-7448 Inverted

Notes and pencil sketch by Sue French:

NGC 7448 is the brightest of five NGC galaxies that mark the corners of a nearly equilateral triangle with 28′-long sides. It sits at the triangle’s western corner. I first logged NGC 7448 in 1988 for the Astronomical League’s Herschel 400 observing program. Since then I’ve visited it a number of times, along with its buddies, through a few different scopes. My Observer’s Challenge sketch was done with my 254/1494mm (10-inch f/5.8) reflector at magnifications of 187× to 299×.

NGC 7448 appears fairly bright and elongated at 68×, with a 10th-magnitude star in attendance 2½′ east by south of the galaxy. At 115× NGC 7448 presents a moderate-size oval glow, twice as long as wide, that grows gently brighter toward the center. At 187× the galaxy shows a south-by-east tilt. Its large, elongated core looks brighter in the north. At 213× I estimate a size of about 1.7′ × 0.8′.

NGC 7465 shares the field of view with NGC 7448 at 68×, but it’s dimmer and roundish with a tiny, bright center. The galaxy sits 4′ east of an 8th-magnitude star and is tucked inside the western corner of a ¼° trapezoid formed by that star and three others, magnitudes 9 and 7. At 115× the small glow of the galaxy is easily viewed. Its core is tipped NNW and harbors a tiny bright nucleus. At magnifications of 187× to 299×, the core grows brighter toward a stellar nucleus and the faint halo is just a thin coating of fluff that slightly rounds out the galaxy’s profile.

NGC 7463 emerges as an east-west glow at 115×, dwelling just 2½′ WNW of NGC 7465. At 213× it shyly offers an elusive stellar nucleus and has a very elongated façade. At 299× NGC 7463 maintains an almost uniform surface brightness.

NGC 7464 is a tiny little thing dangling south of the eastern half of NGC 7563. I was only able to spot it during one of my observing sessions. With averted vision at 299×, I could catch repeated glimpses of the galaxy as a round dot. It was difficult to see, and I couldn’t hold it steadily in view.

Together NGC 7463, NGC 7464, and NGC 7465 hold down the western corner of the galaxy-pinned triangle. 

NGC 7454 is parked on the triangle’s northern point and is visible even at 43× as a tiny smudge off the ESE side of a 11½-magnitude star. A 9th-magnitude star lies 4½′ east by north. The galaxy is faint and somewhat oval at 68×, and 115× reveals a relatively large, bright, oval core. In addition to the 11½-magnitude star near the galaxy’s WNW side, the higher power captures a 13½′-magnitude star a little farther away to the NNW. NGC 7454 grows gently brighter toward the center at 187×, and at 213× I estimate the visible size as about 1′ × ⅔′.

I’d hoped all the galaxies would fit in my 187×, 32′ field of view, but that wasn’t big enough, so I cheated and nudged the scope north to get NGC 7454. I also used higher magnifications to add some of the details. Sketching stars, I began with those near the galaxies and brighter field stars. For three nights it kept clouded up before I could try to get the rest, so I decided leave the sketch as is. North is to the left and west is up. 

NGC 7488 group c inv

Mario Motta image:  32-inch telescope

See attached, 90 mins exposure on NGC 7448. Wiki says it is 80 million LY away, about 60,000 LY across. Notable for “detached spiral arm segments” which I think you can easily see in my image. Interesting object.

Taken with 32 inch scope SBIG STL 1001E camera, 500 seconds subs, 90 mins total exposure.  Processed in pixinsight. 

NGC7448

The Importance of Taking Notes and Making Sketches For Future Reference

Posted November 7, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

I wanted to share information concerning an observation I made on April 20, 1993.  It’s a testament that documenting and taking good notes is indeed a good thing!   

Forward to February 1994: 

While reviewing my logbook, I discovered that I’d not followed up on an object viewed on 20 April 1993.  The primary object was NGC 3893, an 11th magnitude galaxy in Ursa Major.  While making my sketch of this galaxy, I noticed a smaller, much fainter object, SE of NGC 3893.  

So, while browsing through my logbook, I saw my notes that said:  “follow up on this observation.”  However, it would be ten months later (February 1994) before going back and checking data.   

I checked Burnham’s Celestial Handbook, Tom Lorenzen’s 1000+, and the Tirion Sky Atlas 2000.0 only to find that none of these sources listed a companion galaxy.  I then went to the NGC-2000.0 Catalog by Roger Sinnott, and found the companion listed as NGC 3896, a very faint and small 14th magnitude galaxy.  

If I had not sketched NGC 3893, most likely I would have missed NGC 3896.  And, if I had not noted  the companion, I probably would never have checked any reference material.  

This might be a good story in favor of being sure to document your observations.  

Roger Ivester

A newer pencil sketch of the galaxy pair, made April 1st 2014 

My original pencil sketch from the night of April 20th, 1993, which spawned my  interest in this galaxy pair.  

 

M71 – Globular Cluster In Sagitta – Observer’s Challenge Object – September 2019

Posted October 15, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

SEPTEMBER 2019 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – M-071

6-inch reflector:  Pencil sketch, using a blank 5 x 8 notecard, with the colors inverted.  Roger Ivester