My First Telescope And Other Important Life Events, Including Family

My first serious telescope:  A 4 1/4-inch f/10 Edmund Scientific Reflector.  In 1977, I now owned a new scope which came with a 25 mm eyepiece, and later adding a Edmund 12 mm Kellner eyepiece, and a MAG 5 Star Atlas.  

Now, what else could I possibly need to be a serious amateur astronomer?

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My first observations were made during the mid-60’s at about twelve years old.  I used my brother Jim’s, 60 mm f/15 Sears (Jason) refractor with an equatorial mount.  Jim purchased the scope for about a $100, which at the time was a lot of money, or at least I thought so.  

Unfortunate for me, he sold the scope after a few years which left me without a telescope until I could purchase my own.  During this absence without a telescope, I somewhat lost interest in astronomy, until the mid-70’s. 

The following is a log of a memorable night with my 4 1/4-inch reflector in the Spring of 1977: 

I remember one special night with my Edmund reflector when I was attempting to find M81 and M82, two of the most beautiful galaxies in the heavens.  

However, at this time I was living in an area packed with houses and street lights.  The light pollution was severe in my backyard and seeing even the brightest of deep-sky objects was very difficult.  I used my hands in an attempt to block the ambient light from entering my eyepiece, and then it happened: A small faint object entered my field-of-view, and then with a slight nudge, another. I had finally found M81 and M82.  What a beautiful sight, which I savored for the longest time, even to this day. 

Events by year: 

October 1963:  My brother purchased a Sears (Jason) 60 mm f/15 refractor telescope.  A very nice and good quality Japanese refractor, equatorial mount, several decent eyepieces with a sturdy wooden case to keep everything in. 

During the early fall, just after sunset, I would notice a small cluster of stars rising about the tree tops in the east.  It would take me a while, but I did learn that it was the “Pleiades” or M45.  My first deep-sky object. 

October 1967:  I gave an astronomy presentation to my 8th grade science class, again, using my brothers 60 mm refractor.  The subject and title was:  “How To Use An Astronomical Telescope.”  

March 1977:  I purchased my first telescope, a 4 1/4-inch f/10 Edmund Scientific reflector on an equatorial mount.  Life was good!

I could hardly wait to get to Science Hobbies, in Charlotte, North Carolina on that Spring day.  The price for this 4 1/4-inch telescope was $159.99, which at that time was quite a bit of money.  I had been looking at this scope in the Edmund Scientific catalog for almost a year. 

Purchasing this “humble” little scope, my very own after all this time was indeed a happy day for me.  My preference was the Edmund Scientific 6-inch Super Space Conquerer, but just could not spring for the extra money at that time.  It seems that the price of the 6-inch was only about $100 more, however, at this point in my life, $300 for a telescope was far beyond my budget.  However, It didn’t take long to realize that I needed a larger aperture scope, and soon sold the 4 1/4-inch reflector.  

February 1978:  I purchased a 6-inch Criterion RV-6 reflector, complete with an equatorial mount and a clock drive.  My astronomy program was about to take a big leap forward!  

Below:  The RV-6 on the left, and the Edmund 4-1/4 pictured on the right, with my oldest son, Roger Chadwick Ivester in 1978.

Favorite Telescopes From The Past

I really liked my new Criterion RV-6,  but life got really busy and my observing  had to take a back seat to a lot of other stuff.   I didn’t have any time to think about the stars, so I sold my 6-inch Dynascope….a big mistake, indeed.  

1985-86:  I become acquainted with some local amateur astronomers and became a founding member of the Cleveland County Astronomical Society along with my youngest son, Brad, who is now living in Nevada.

A goal to meet….not in astronomy, but cycling:  

Finally…..after twenty years, on Saturday, October 11th 2008, I was able to achieve my lifelong goal of 100,000 miles on my bicycle. This had been my goal for quite a few years and I was really excited to reach this milestone.  When I first started riding in 1979, never would I have thought I’d eventually log 100,000 miles.  It should be noted, I did not count my miles for the first year or so.  My current “documented” miles is approximately 140,000 as of August 2018.

October 11th 2008:  My wife Debbie, put together a celebration with cycling friends at the Broad River Coffee Shop in Boiling Springs.  

100,000 Broad River Coffee Shop

I have two great hobbies: Amateur astronomy and cycling!

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October 2012:  A moment in time.  All of my grandkids together in Kershaw, SC  (from South Carolina to Nevada)

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December 2011:  Driving my son’s tractor with granddaughter Zoe in Las Vegas.  

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Zoe and I love hiking in the desert

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My two sons, Rev. Roger Chadwick of South Carolina, and Bradley Jason of Nevada

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February 5th 1992:  I purchased a 10-inch f/4.5, equatorial reflector.  One of the first things I purchased after the telescope was an adjustable astro-chair, which I still use today.  It’s just not possible for me to observe, sketch and take notes while standing. 

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February 20th 1992,  my first night of serious observing:  I was amazed when observing faint galaxies, after all, this was a much larger scope than I was used to using.  Objects that were on the threshold of seeing, were now bright, and structure was visible.  It was truly a revelation as compared to the much smaller 4-inch scopes that I had mostly used.   I could see dark lanes in the bright open cluster M35, and the faint cluster NGC 2158 was almost glowing.  My favorite galaxies, M81-82 looked nothing like what I had seen on that night in the 70’s when I first saw them using my, then new,  4 1/4-inch Edmund reflector.  I was smiling while observing the low-surface brightness galaxy, M101.  I knew that my observing would never be the same.

My wife, Debbie pictured with the 102 mm refractor:

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Sunday, December 11th 2016 @ 12:05 PM:  Debbie and I stopping in at a local KFC /Taco Bell for a quick Burrito, on a cold wintry day

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Downtown Boiling Springs, NC 

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A list of telescopes I have owned, or still own:  Edmund 4 1/4-inch reflector,  Celestron C5 with wedge and tripod,  Meade 90 mm EQ refractor,  10-inch Meade DS-10a f/4.5 reflector, 4-inch Meade 2045-D, Schmidt-Cassegrain,  Meade ETX -Astro 90 mm, mounted on an 8-inch Meade wedge and tripod,  80 mm Orion classic f/15 refractor,  Meade DS-10A f/4.5 reflector mounted on a equatorial mount, Orion/Vixen 102 mm refractor and GP mount,  Celestron 76 mm Dobsonian FirstScope, an equatorially mounted TPO 6-inch f/6 reflector.  My latest telescope is a birthday gift my my son, Brad, an 80 mm f/5 Orion refractor.  

Roger Ivester 

 

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