Archive for February 2014

Some of my favorite snapshots

February 13, 2014

las-vegas-jan-2010-0614 Granddaughter Zoe and me:  Red Rock Canyon, Nevada Roger Ivester And Zoe A memorable meeting with John Dobson.  I’m on the left and friend, Tom English is in the center.   John Dobson Future astronomers?  Grandkids….all in one place:  From the west coast to the east coast:  Left to right  – Isaac, John-Winston, Elisha, Gracie, and Zoe.  photo

NGC 40, Planetary Nebula in Cepheus

February 13, 2014

NGC 40 revised



IC 1747, Planetary Nebula in Cassiopeia

February 13, 2014


IC 1747 PN


Trapezium Stars In The Great Orion Nebula

February 8, 2014


Trapezium Sketch -1

Observer’s Challenge complete report:

Theta 1 “The Trapezium”

March 1977:  4 1/4-inch f/10 spherical mirror, Edmund Scientific reflector @ 80x – Beautiful view of all four primary stars.  I could never see the E star with this scope.

February 1993:  10-inch f/4.5 reflector (using 4-inch off-axis stop-down mask) @ 254x – Seeing fair to good.  Could see the “E” star, but not easy. 

12-22-95:  80-mm f/15 refractor – All four stars appear as a beautiful white.

12-23-95:  10-inch f/4.5 reflector @ 120x – Conditions and seeing not good. Could see only the four primary stars.

March 1997:  3.5-inch Maksutov @ 135x – Seeing good, could see four stars.  On one occasion, I thought that I could see the “E” star, but very difficult, using averted vision. 

12-26-99:  10-inch f/4.5 reflector @ 142x – Fair to good.  All six stars visible, E and F fairly easy. 


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Optimize Your Observing Skills Using These Accessories

February 4, 2014

I would like to suggest several observing accessories.  It’s my opinion, the following items are essential to become a better observer: I purchased all of the following items from Orion Telescope and Binoculars, however, a couple of them over twenty years ago.  The folding observing table was custom made by a good friend.  

  1. Astrogoggles:  Red flexible plastic glasses that can be worn at least 30 minutes prior to going outside, to better acclimate your night vision.  I also find them to work great, should it be necessary to come back into the house, as they will allow you to maintain your “ready to observe” night vision.  
  2. Observing cloth:  Placing a cloth over your head, can significantly improve your ability to see the faintest details in deep-sky objects, by blocking ambient light.  I like the one shown in the picture, which I ordered many years ago, again from Orion.  It’s lightweight, has a liner, and allows for good air circulation, which eliminates fogging the eyepiece.  You could use most any piece of black fabric, but this one is designed and engineered just for the amateur astronomer.   
  3. Astro-Chair:  If you want to see the faintest of details, an adjustable observing chair should be  considered essential.  It’s impossible to stand, hold both your head and eye still, make some notes and a sketch, while standing.  It’s very important to be relaxed and comfortable while observing!