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.  

First, to make it easier to locate the latest Observer’s Challenge report, and all reports to-date, I’m including the following link:


      I first became interested in astronomy in the mid-60’s at the age of twelve. One of my brothers, Jim had purchased a 60mm 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 a lot to learn, which continues to this day, more than 50 years later.      

     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 I found amateur astronomy to be difficult at that time, due to my lack of knowledge on the subject.  However, it was fun just being outside with a 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 nights 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 to me.  

     During those early years, I did not 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 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 60mm 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 EQ reflector, 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. 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, while 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.  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, I can still feel that excitement.  That night, I went to bed smiling, and in my mind, I was now a real amateur astronomer!    

Getting Serious:

     There would be many other nights of success and failure in the years to follow.  However, in 1992 I became a much more serious observer, making systematic observations of deep-sky objects.  In February of that year, I purchased a new 10-inch Meade model DS-10A, equatorially mounted reflector, which 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, so I began taking copious notes on all the 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 see more, which helped make me a far better visual observer.  

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

     My first recorded notes were very 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 either.  I suppose that sketchers and astrophotographers are very much alike in this regard…always striving for something better.   


     I am co-founder of the Observer’s Challenge report, along with Fred Rayworth of Las Vegas.  The Observer’s Challenge is 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 challenge report will celebrate its 12th year in 2020.    

     In October 2018, Sue French, “Contributing Editor” for “Sky & Telescope Magazine” became the Observer’s Challenge special advisor, after many years as a participant.  Sue wrote the very popular monthly “Deep-Sky Wonders” article for twenty years.  She is also the author of two deep-sky observing books:  “Celestial Sampler” and “Deep-Sky Wonders” which are great books, especially for the visual observer.  Both are available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

     As of November 2019, Sue has agreed to help compile and edit the challenge report.  

 Mount Potosi Observing Complex in Southern Nevada: 

     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.

Mount Potosi, and the plane crash: 

     An infamous mountain due to the tragic 1942 TWA plane crash (DC-3 Luxury Liner) killing all 22 souls on-board.  Both the propellers were spinning when the plane hit the rock cliff of Mount Potosi at 185 mph.  

Propellers spinning:  

     This is important, as there was an FBI investigation to determine if the plane might have been sabotaged, and exploded before hitting the cliff.  The propellers operating during impact, discounted the sabotage theory.  

     It was a clear, but moonless night, and the cause was later attributed to pilot error. 

The following are some very interesting links concerning Mount Potosi, and the Observing Complex:

     Astronomy blogger since 2010.  




LED Lighting Health Problems and Environmental Damage: By Guest Host: Francis Parnell

Posted September 24, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Light Pollution Issues

LED’S: Not the answer to eye and environmentally friendly lighting. 

By Francis Parnell – Darlington, South Carolina 

While LED’s (light emitting diodes) are quickly becoming the way to light the 21st century, research has shown that there’s a “dark side” to this new type of nighttime lighting.

Due to their current design, the popular 3000K to 6500K (Kelvin) LED’s that are being installed all across the country are causing many problems because the White Light (blue-rich white light) is loaded with short wavelength blue and green light which have much higher environmental impacts.  These short wavelengths are detrimental to humans, nocturnal mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and the nighttime environment as a whole.

Our eyes perceive this blue component as being 4 to 5 times more intense and glary than the yellow-orange High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights that we’re used to seeing at night.  Blue-rich white light scatters more in our eyes creating a “veiling” effect making it more difficult to see.  For older drivers and those with impaired vision, this can be a dangerous situation.  Our visual system responds well to white light in the daytime – but not at night!

Our dark adapted (nighttime) eyes are much more sensitive to the shorter (bluer) wavelengths than light adapted (daytime) eyes.  Light sources producing more blue will appear many times brighter (more glary) to our dark adapted eyes.

Even without changing the amount of light or shielding, switching a lighting installation from High Pressure Sodium to 4100K LED will increase sky glow as if the amount of HPS lighting had been increased by 170%, or nearly tripled.  And research in Australia has shown that compared to other types of lights such as High Pressure Sodium and Low Pressure Sodium (LPS), LED’s attract 48% more insects – LED’s are an insect death trap; they suck the insects completely out of the nighttime environment.  Even our old  familiar incandescent bulbs weren’t this bad!  For humans and all nocturnal creatures, the one thing we shouldn’t do when it comes to lighting at night is to turn it into “white light” nights.

The best type of lamp to use for outdoor lighting at night is High Pressure Sodium as it causes the least environmental impact.  Compared to “blue-rich” LED’s, the glare in our eyes will have lots less impact too!

Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) is a number used by lighting companies to identify the “perceived color” given off by light sources measured in degrees Kelvin (K).  But it is not an accurate way to determine the actual amount of blue and green from any light bulb (lamp) or LED.  CCT is a very crude way to describe how “warm” or “cool” a light appears to the human visual system.  Lower temperature CCT appears “warmer” and more eye friendly, while higher temperature CCT looks “colder” and harsher to our eyes.

There’s a quote, “The world runs on perception and not on reality.”  Across the country, city/county leaders are rushing to install LED’s without any knowledge of outdoor lighting – LED lighting especially – and the complaints from citizens have been very vocal.  With the extensive research done in the U.S. and Europe in the last few years, find out about this new type of lighting before making decisions that will last for 30 years or more.  Go with the research and not the “sales pitch” from your local utility; believe the facts and what your eyes tell you – not your perception.  Because turning our cities and towns into Perpetual Daylight 24/7/365 would be the worst decision our leaders could ever make.

The complaints from citizens in cities that have installed blue-rich LED’s have been heard.  Some lighting manufacturers have addressed the blue-rich white-light-at-night problem and now have Amber colored LED’s for all types of lighting tasks.

In December 2014, General Electric published a White Paper on the problems associated with blue-rich LED lighting.  And at the American Medical Association (AMA) meeting in June of 2016, the delegates voted to support getting the blue out of LED’s.

Best for light pollution reduction:

(1) Narrow-Band Amber LED (NBALED).  Narrow-spectrum yellow-orange; almost equal to Low Pressure Sodium (LPS) in reducing light pollution.

(2) Phosphor-converted Amber (PCALED); similar to High Pressure Sodium for light pollution reduction.

(3) LED 2400K; a warm white LED that has not seen wide use.

(4) FLED, Filtered LED; removes wavelength of light less than 500nm (nanometers).

For the latest research on the problems with LED’S, go to the Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition website at and the Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting (ICROL) at


Update:  In October of 2019, my city of Darlington, SC passed an upgraded lighting ordinance that requires PCALED lighting for streets, parking areas, and wall packs.  A maximum of 2700K white light can be used for entry ways/exits, auto dealerships, and a few other lighting tasks.

The Veil Nebula In Cygnus – September 2020 Observer’s Challenge Report #140

Posted September 13, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

“Work-File” Report:  For organization only.  The following are all participants to-date.  The cut-off date for submissions is the 8th of the following month, and we try to issue the final report by the 10th.  


Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina 


Sue French, New York

September 2020

Report #140 

The Veil Nebula In Cygnus  

Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomers Together


The purpose of the Observer’s Challenge is to encourage the pursuit of visual observing. It’s open to everyone who’s interested, and if you’re able to contribute notes, and/or drawings, we’ll be happy to include them in our monthly summary. Visual astronomy depends on what’s seen through the eyepiece. Not only does it satisfy an innate curiosity, but it allows the visual observer to discover the beauty and the wonderment of the night sky. Before photography, all observations depended on what astronomers saw in the eyepiece, and how they recorded their observations. This was done through notes and drawings, and that’s the tradition we’re stressing in the Observer’s Challenge. And for folks with an interest in astrophotography, your digital images and notes are just as welcome. The hope is that you’ll read through these reports and become inspired to take more time at the eyepiece, study each object, and look for those subtle details that you might never have noticed before.

This month’s target

The Veil Nebula has long been modeled as the remnant of a supernova explosion that occurred within an interstellar cavity created by the progenitor star. However, a recent study by Fesen, Weil, and Cisneros (2018MNRAS.481.1786F ) using multi-wavelength emission maps indicates that the large-scale structure of the Veil Nebula is due to interaction of the remnant with local interstellar clouds. Employing Gaia DR2 data, the team determined an distance of 735±25 pc. 

This beautiful nebula bears several NGC designations. Its western arc, NGC 6960, runs through the naked-eye star 52 Cygni and is commonly called the Witch’s Broom. The tantalizingly intricate western arc is called NGC 6992 in the north, while the tattered southern reaches comprise NGC 6995. The brightest part of Pickering’s Triangular Wisp, which claims no NGC number, lies between the northern tips of the two great arcs. The discoverers of NGC 6974 (Lord Rosse) and NGC 6979 (William Herschel) gave these pieces positions that don’t correspond to anything obvious, but the names have been popularly tagged onto the northern and southern parts of the nebulosity just east of Pickering’s Triangular Wisp. As good a guess as any.

Maria Motta:  Observer from Massachusetts

Veil Nebula East…Maria Motta

1.5 hours Ha, 1 hour each S2 and O3 filters, through my 8-inch RC f/8 for wide field.  Processed Pixinsight. Very colorful because the three elements are separated very well in separate shock fronts.

NGC 6960 (western veil), taken through my 8-inch RC, 1 hour each of Ha, and O2, and 30 min S3 filters (clouds came in for the end of the S3:(processed PixInsight)

Pickering’s Triangle

James Dire: Observer from Illinois

The Veil Nebula, sometimes called the Great Cygnus Loop, is the remnant of a supernova (exploding star) that occurred sometime between 5000 and 8000 years ago.  The explosion remnants are estimated to be 2400 light years away. The Veil is an emission nebula of hot glowing gasses, mostly hydrogen, which have not yet expanded and cooled sufficiently to dissipate. The supernova remnant is identified by five NGC numbers: 6960, 6974, 6979, 6992 and 6995. The entire complex spans a distance equivalent to six times the diameter of the Moon.  William Herschel discovered the Veil Nebula in 1984, but parts of the nebula complex were cataloged by his son John in 1828 and Lawrence Parsons in 1873.

NGC 6960 is the Western Veil Nebula or Network Nebula.  This arc is nearly two degrees long and 0.1 degrees wide.  The brightest section is adjacent to the star 52 Cygni, a magnitude 4.2 star.  52 Cygni is a double star with components of magnitude 4.2 and 8.7 separated by 6.4 arc seconds. The star is just in front of the leading edge of Cygnus the Swan’s eastern wing, or 3.25 degrees south of the star Gienah (Epsilon Cygni), a 2.5 magnitude star that marks the center of said wing.  Gienah is also the southeastern star making up the Northern Cross asterism. Finding Gienah, then 52 Cygni makes finding the Western Veil easy!

The Eastern Veil Nebula goes by both NGC 6992 and 6995.  It is also known as the Filamentary Nebula.  The north side of the arc is visually brighter and more compact (NGC 6992), while the southern portion extends into myriad filaments (NGC 6995).

The northern potion of the nebula is split between NGC 6974 and 6979.  These sections are not as bright as the Eastern and Western Veil sections, but they are not beyond the means of larger amateur light buckets.  I have seen them in a 14-inch Newtonian.

About one-third the way between the northern tip of the Western Veil and northern tip of the Eastern Veil is an uncatalogued section known as Pickering’s Triangle.  This slender triangular section of the remnant is brighter than either NGC 6974 or 6879. It narrows from north to south extending into a region called The Funnel.

I have view both the Western and Eastern Veil in a four-inch apochromatic refractor in really dark skies.  Some people find the Veil easier to see with nebula filters, such as an O-III filter. These filters only pass a narrow band of wavelengths, thus not all of the light emitted from the nebula reaches the eye.  For some, the contrast improvement overcomes the diminished light throughput.  For me, I have found observing the Veil with filters from a really dark site does not improve my ability to see the nebula.  I prefer the unfiltered view.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to view the Western Veil through a 24-inch  Newtonian.  The telescope had its newly recoated mirror installed that day. The Veil was the first light with the new coating.  The sky transparency was poor due to haze from numerous fires in western States 1500 miles away. So we used an O-III filter to improve the contrast.  The filter also diminished the glow of 52 Cygni.  Only about one-third of the Network Nebula was in the eyepiece, but it was the brightest I have ever seen this section of the Veil.

My image of the Veil was taken with an Askar FRA400 refractor.  This is a 72mm f/5.6 quintuplet Petzval Flat-Field Apo.  I used a 0.7x focal reducer with a SBIG STF-8300C CCD camera on a Celestron CGEM II mount.  The exposure was 220 minutes.  This picture nicely frames the entire Veil Nebula complex.

To enlarge Jim’s wide-field image, with identifications as following, click on the black dot.

Glenn Chaple: Observer from Massachusetts

A few degrees south and slightly east of the 2nd magnitude star epsilon (ε) Cygni is a large wreath-shaped nebula known as the Cygnus Loop. Two of the Loop’s brightest portions form what is more commonly known as the Veil Nebula.

William Herschel discovered the eastern part of the Veil on the evening of September 5, 1784 and captured its westerly partner two nights later. He catalogued them as H14 and H15 – the 14th and 15th of his Class 5 (Very Large Nebulae) objects. Today, they are identified by the New General Catalog designations NGC 6992/5 and NGC 6960, respectively.

The best way to find the Veil Nebula is to arm your scope with a low-power, wide-field eyepiece and point it towards the 4th magnitude star 52 Cygni.  This yellow-orange K-type giant is a foreground star that lies near the center of the western Veil. Once you’ve spotted it, continue peering into the eyepiece as you gently nudge your scope about 3 degrees eastward and slightly north. The eastern Veil should come into view. Both portions of the Veil Nebula may be glimpsed with small-aperture scopes from dark sky areas. During the 1981 Stellafane Convention in Springfield, VT, I captured the western Veil with a 3-inch f/10 reflector and both eastern and western Veils with a 4 1/8-inch f/4.2 RFT (Edmund Astroscan). 

More recently, I viewed the Veil from my backyard in suburban north-central Massachusetts (limiting magnitude 5.5).  It was barely visible with a 4½-inch f/8 reflector and still faint through a 10-inch f/5 reflector. Both scopes needed an assist from an O-III filter and (even better) an Orion UltraBlock narrowband filter.

The Veil Nebula presents a variety of Observer’s Challenges. It is said to be visible with the unaided eye with the help of an O-III filter and extremely dark skies. In his book Cosmic Challenge, Phil Harrington reports seeing the eastern Veil and (with difficulty!) the western Veil with 10X50 binoculars. Can you match these feats? Again, don’t bother trying if you live in a light-polluted area. Owners of small-aperture scopes are encouraged to try their luck with the Veil. Having seen it with my 3-inch reflector, I’m going to challenge my observing skills by tackling it with a 60mm (2.4-inch) refractor. Mario Motta’s close-up images of the eastern and western Veil reveal their complex filamentary structure. Can you capture this visually with a medium to large aperture scope?

Three portions of the Cygnus Loop not mentioned in this article are Pickering’s Triangle, located a degree northeast of the western Veil, and NGC 6974 and NGC 6979, the most northerly portions of the Cygnus Loop. What size telescope (and which filter) will give you a visual sighting?

The Cygnus Loop is a supernova remnant, the result of a supermassive star that suffered an explosive death some 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. Recent GAIA parallax measurements of stars imbedded in the Cygnus Loop gases indicate a distance of 2400 light years, suggesting a true diameter of 130 light years. 

(L) Veil Nebula East, as with a 3-inch f/10 reflector at 30x (R) Veil Nebula West, as seen with 10-inch f/5 reflector at 48x. Sketches by Glenn Chaple (ATMoB)

Roger Ivester: Observer from North Carolina

Veil Nebula

Date:  September 6, 2020

10-inch f/4.5 Newtonian

Sketch Eyepiece: 26mm 70º AF

Filter: Oxygen III 

Magnification: 44x

Sketch Field: 1.6º

NELM: 5.1 

I have observed the Veil Nebula many times over the years, but never making a sketch due to the complexity.  However, this was going to be my year for a sketch.  First, I aimed my telescope at NGC 6960, known to most amateurs as the Western Veil Nebula.  

Starting with a magnification of 44x and an oxygen III filter, the nebula appeared fairly bright, oriented N-S.  Bright star 52 Cygni is situated almost in the center, but just off the western edge.  The southern section, just south of 52 Cygni is mostly diffuse and fans out into a broad faint tail. The northern part of this nebula extends to a point.     

NGC 6992/6995, know as the Eastern Veil Nebula makes an arc, and extends for well over a degree.  The most prominent part, which draws my eye immediately, has always been the forked tail at the southern tip.  (See the following sketch) 

Anas Sawallha:  Observer from Jordan

This months target proved difficult, due to my telescope having only 5-inches of aperture.  The most difficult, was the Western Veil, which required averted vision.  I made my sketch completely with averted vision.  However, the thing that helped me is the dark location which I observe from.

The Eastern Veil was much easier to sketch, and without the use of a filter.  

Western Veil sketch below, and Eastern Veil following:

Sketches later….

Messier 20: Bright Nebula and Cluster in Sagittarius – August 2020 Observer’s Challenge #139

Posted August 15, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports



 Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina


Sue French, New York

August 2020

Report #139

Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomers Together

Messier 20, Nebula and Cluster in Sagittarius

Complete Observer’s Challenge Report:  


National Moon Day, 51 Years Later: By Guest Host, James Mullaney

Posted July 20, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized


National Moon Day on July 20th commemorates the day man first walked on the moon in 1969. NASA reported the moon landing as being “…the single greatest technological achievement of all time.”

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 carried the first humans to the moon. Six hours after landing on the moon, American Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. He spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft. Buzz Aldrin soon followed, stepping onto the lunar surface. After joining Armstrong, the two men collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material. Their specimens would make the journey back to Earth to be analyzed. 


In 1971, President Richard Nixon proclaimed National Moon Landing Day on July 20th to honor the anniversary of man’s first moon landing. However, no continuing resolution followed.

Enter Richard Christmas. He took up the baton by launching a “Christmas Card” writing campaign. The Michigan native wrote to governors and members of Congress in all 50 states urging them to create National Moon Day. He achieved some success, too. By July of 1975, 12 states sponsored bills observing Moon Day.

Another modern-day supporter of National Moon Day is Astronomer James J. Mullaney. He knows a few things about the moon, too. As a former Curator of Exhibits and Astronomy at Pittsburgh’s original Buhl Planetarium, Mullaney is on a mission. He says, “If there’s a Columbus Day on the calendar, there certainly should be a Moon Day!” His goal is a federally recognized holiday.

In 2019, President Donald Trump proclaimed July 20th as the 50th Anniversary Observance of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing. However, no National Moon Day has been declared. 

The “Great Lensnapping” By Guest Host: James Mullaney

Posted June 17, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

Roger, I don’t know how many of your readers have heard of the “Great Lensnapping” that happened at the original Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh in the late 1800s.  

My beloved 13-inch Fitz-Clark had it’s objective lens stolen and held for ransom.  At the time, it was the third largest in the world!  (Now it’s the third largest in the current Observatory.)   

Samuel Pierpont Langley was director at the time and refused to pay anything, as no telescope in the country would then be safe from theft.  He finally met the thief at a hotel in a Pittsburgh suburb – the thief agreed to return it if Langley didn’t prosecute.  He subsequently found it in a waste basket at that very hotel.  

The lens was pretty well scratched up and Langley sent it to Alvin Clark for refinishing.  Thus the dual name Fitz-Clark.  As I’ve stated before, it is without question the finest visual telescope I’ve ever seen or used bar none!

Messier 8: Nebula and Cluster in Sagittarius – July 2020 Observer’s Challenge Report #138

Posted June 11, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports



Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina


Sue French, New York

July 2020

Report #138

Messier 8, Nebula and Cluster in Sagittarius

Complete Observer’s Challenge Report 


Finally a Decent Prominence by Guest Host: Mario Motta

Posted June 10, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

Date: May 31, 2020

Telescope and imaging information:  

Coronada 90mm solar scope.  Two exposures, one 0.004 seconds for solar surface, second 0.01 seconds for prominence, as two different exposures are needed for this type of image.  Best of twenty images used for each, then stacked together for composition, mildly contrast enhanced only processing needed.   Mario Motta 

Dr. James Dire: Candidate For 2020 President of The Astronomical League. Jim is A visual Observer, and Astrophotographer, Has a PhD in Planetary Science, But “most Importantly” a Backyard Observer.

Posted June 2, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

Yesterday, I received my (June 2020) Astronomical League “Reflector” Magazine.  

Most of us “long-time” amateurs have watched this magazine go from just a few pages to a very high-quality astronomy magazine, with “nice high-quality” slick paper.  A very nice feel when turning the pages, and looking at some beautiful amateur astronomy images.  An excellent magazine for sure!    

Purpose of this email:

James Dire, a friend and also longtime participant of the Observer’s Challenge, is in the running for president of the Astronomical League.   

Jim and Sue French (former Contributing Editor to Sky & Telescope Magazine) have both supported the Observer’s Challenge, since its earliest days.  As of 2020, the challenge is entering its 12th year!

Note:  The Observer’s Challenge is the only monthly report (in the country and beyond) since February 2009, that allows any and all serious amateurs to share what they do best as an amateur.  Visual observing notes, pencil sketches and digital images.   

I’ve known “Jim” for more than 20 years, and have observed with him on occasion in years past.

Jim is both a visual observer and an expert astrophotographer.  

He has also been writing the “Deep-Sky” column for the “Reflector” since 2010, as well as being a regular contributor to “Astronomy Today” magazine.  

The following is a few excerpt’s from the June 2020 “Reflector” magazine by Dire:  

“After starting a paper route at age 12, one of my first purchases was a 60mm refractor….”

U of Missouri, Kansas City:   “….I can honestly say I learned more practical astronomy as a member of this astronomy club than in any of my undergraduate classes.”    

MS in physics, University of C Florida.

MA and PhD from John Hopkins University, both in planetary science.

It’s my opinion:  

We need more people in leadership roles in astronomy, and “astronomy publications” who started a paper route at 12 years of age…all for the purpose of purchasing a telescope.  It’s always been opinion, backyard observing is what amateur astronomy is all about.  

Roger Ivester

Modern and Improved, Full Cut-Off Lighting Fixtures In Matthews, NC: Also an Example of Very Poor Lighting In Shelby, NC

Posted May 31, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Light Pollution Issues


     Since late summer 2019, my wife and I, have had regular business (Animal Eye Clinic) in the city of Matthews, North Carolina, which is a town on the outskirts of Charlotte.  

     Matthews has some excellent and very attractive full cut-off lighting fixtures.  Lighting should be “fully-shielded” and directed downward to avoid glare and excessive light pollution, as the following photos show.  I can’t be for sure if they are 3000k or less, but hopefully not 4000k.  

     Many of the lights have back-shields which eliminate unnecessary light shining on or in house windows.  This is a great feature.  Proper outdoor lighting should direct light where it’s needed only.  

     The lights I’m discussing in Matthews are in a “seemingly” newer business and residential area.   

IMG_1418      Currently, the trend in many residential areas and city sidewalk lighting in cities “are…

View original post 350 more words

NGC 5689 and Optional Galaxy NGC 5676 In Bootes – June 2020 Observer’s Challenge Report #137

Posted May 20, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports


Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina


Sue French, New York

June 2020

Report #137

Galaxy NGC 5689 in Boötes

Complete Report