Archive for February 2015

M35 and NGC 2158 – Open Clusters In Gemini

February 25, 2015


M35 and NGC 2158 have always been favorites of mine.  Years ago when using a 4.5-inch reflector, NGC 2158 could be difficult, especially from my light polluted backyard at that time.  I often used this fainter companion cluster to determine transparency. 

M35:  102 mm refractor is extremely bright with the most noticeable feature being a curving star chain crossing through the center of the cluster.  The cluster contains mostly bright bluish-white stars.  NGC 2158 appears as a faint, mostly round patch of light without resolution, however, one brighter star (requiring averted vision) can be seen on the western edge.  

NGC 2158:  10-inch reflector at 256x will resolve about 40 or so faint stars.  Excellent seeing and high magnification is required to resolve this beautiful, faint and small open cluster.

The following is a pencil sketch using a No. 2 pencil, blank 5 x 8 note card with a 10-inch reflector at 44x.  Color inverted via computer and standard color sketch…

Rogers NGC-2158


The following image of open cluster NGC 2158 is by Dr. James Dire of Hawaii, using an 8-inch RC f/8 telescope with 6 x 10 minute exposures. 



NGC 1569 – Galaxy in Camelopardalis

February 24, 2015


Galaxy, NGC 1569 sketch using a No. 2 pencil, and a blank 5 x 8 note card.  


Inverted pencil sketch via computer by Fred Rayworth of Nevada.   My scanner is not working due to an update in operating systems with my MacBook Pro.  A new flat bed scanner is on the agenda for purchase this year.

Rogers NGC-1569

The following image, compliments of Dr. James Dire of Hawaii, using an 8-inch RC f/8 telescope, with an exposure of 90 minutes.  



Carbon Star Observing – The Astronomical League Brings It Back With 100 Of The Finest Carbon Stars In The Northern Hemisphere

February 20, 2015


Red Star observing was a very popular facet of amateur astronomy from the 1800’s until about the mid-60’s.  Unfortunately, observing Carbon Stars, better known as Red Stars are seldom observed by amateurs of today.

I became interested in Carbon Stars during the mid-70’s, but it would be twenty years until I gained a real passion, or became a serious student of these beautiful and fabulous gems of the night sky. 

In the very early 90’s, Tom English and I became very good friends.  At that time, Tom was a professor of Astronomy and Physics at a local university, very close to my home.

 Tom gave presentations concerning Carbon Stars at some of our astronomy club meetings.  He discussed not only the visual beauty, but also the (B-V) color index scale, explaining in precise detail…exactly what it meant.  I soaked it all in.

I have taken a 12 year hiatus with my observing of both Carbon Stars and Doubles.  A couple years ago the Astronomical League introduced a new observing program, complete with a good quality slick covered book, covering 100 of the finest Carbon Stars in the northern hemisphere.

In recent years I’ve spent all of my observing time on galaxies, nebulae and star clusters.  However, now I’m ready for a change, and am ready to start on the AL Carbon Star list.  

I’m planning to log my observations on this site.  

The great thing about Carbon Stars…they can be observed in highly light polluted locations and even with a moon, however, like all deep-sky objects, they are best observed with a dark sky.  When observing with a moon, it’s best to observe carbon stars that are the most distant, as it can be impossible to determine the true color with the moon shinning into the telescope. 

Other than completing the AL Double Star List back in 1996, I’ve also observed and logged well over 200 other selected doubles over the years.  

Just recently, I put my 10-inch reflector into a closet….so it’s effectively in storage.  

I’m planning on observing far less faint galaxies, and nebulae this year, so am hopeful to use my 102 mm refractor for many of the brighter carbon stars.  A small to medium aperture telescope can work well with doubles and red stars within their light gathering capability and resolution.    

My small refractor is also quite a bit easier to set up than my 10-inch reflector.     

 Roger Ivester


My First and Second Telescopes From The 1970’s

February 3, 2015

The telescope to the right is my first serious telescope which I purchased in March of 1977, an Edmund Scientific 4.25-inch f/10 reflector.  Realizing the need for more aperture, I purchased the 6-inch Criterion RV-6 a year or so later.  My oldest son Roger Chadwick “Chad” is standing beside both telescopes, and will turn 43 years old this year.   Roger