Archive for May 2015

A Change of Pace: A few snapshots of family and other stuff.

May 28, 2015

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My west coast granddaughter, Zoe with her 76 mm Orion Dobsonian Telescope.  

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My son, Chad, daughter-in-law, Tina, and grandkids

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Zoe after a visit to the beauty salon to see her stylist, Tiffany.  The second picture was taken in California after a bit of face painting, along with her Dad, my son, Brad.

East coast grandkids:  L-R:  Anna-Grace, John-Winston, Isaac, and Elisha Ivester

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Debbie’s favorite telescope.  A 20 year old Orion/Vixen 102 mm refractor, which allowed me to finally see Sirius B for the first time in 2012.  My first attempt to see the companion to Sirius, also know as the “Pup” was in 1977, but with failure.  However, at that time I was using a 4.25-inch f/10 EQ Edmund Reflector with a spherical mirror.  This was not really the most suitable telescope to attempt to see one of the most difficult doubles.  This famous double began closing at  about that time (1975) and has only opened up wide enough in recent years to allow for the separation using an amateur telescope.  

Roger Ivester And Zoe

This is one of my favorite pictures from 2011.  Zoe and I were at the Red Rock Canyon visitors center, just outside of Las Vegas. 

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I call this picture from several years ago:  “A moment in time” when I was able to have all of my grandkids together in South Carolina.  Isaac is to the far left, then John-Winston (c) then Gracie, and Zoe on the far right.  Elisha is in the center with Gracie using his head for a prop.  The vintage 60 mm refractor telescope shown was a gift to the kids by my good friend, Mike Ribadeneyra.  I keep hoping that all of my grandkids will become amateur astronomers one day, however, at the moment it doesn’t look too good.  They are pretty busy these days with other things like swimming, iPhones, video games, MacBooks, iMac’s and messaging with their friends.  

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My two sons, Roger Chadwick (L) and Bradley Jason.  I’m really fortunate to have sons like these guys.  Again…this picture was taken a couple or more years ago.  However, this was the last time, I was able to take a picture of both together.  A very special photo to me…

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Hey…this is me, working on an astronomy article at the coffee shop on a cold day with light snow.     

FullSizeRenderAnna-Grace seemingly aggravating one of her brothers, John-Winston.

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Our Dachshund, Nova Sophia.

“Virgo Diamond” – Faint Five Star Asterism in Virgo – Recommendation name change by astronomy author, lecturer, James Mullaney FRAS

May 19, 2015

The following document was filed today (May 19th 2015) by James Mullaney, astronomy lecturer, author and a former editor at Sky & Telescope Magazine… 

Dear Fellow Stargazers:

As you may know, over the years I’ve given names to nearly a dozen deep-sky wonders.  These include the Blinking Planetary (NGC 6826), the Winter Albireo (h3945), Lassell’s Delight (M35) and Peltier’s Variable (R Leonis).  Nearly all have been recognized/adopted, including among others by Sky & Telescope itself. Now it’s time to add another one! 

I’ve changed the name of the Virgo Diamond to Ivester’s Diamond as a well-deserved and long overdue honor to my good friend and fellow observer Roger Ivester.  Surely anyone reading this is aware of his amazing efforts to promote this tiny asterism.

Note that making this change will now also eliminate the confusion with the vastly larger original Virgo Diamond asterism.



James (Jim) Mullaney


Fellow Royal Astronomical Society of London 

NGC 3184 – Galaxy in Ursa Major – Observer’s Challenge: April 2015

May 16, 2015

To read the entire Observer’s Challenge Report, click on the following link:    APRIL 2015 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-3184

The following pencil sketch was made using a No. 2 pencil, a blank 5 x 8 note card, colors inverted via computer.  Telescope: 10-inch Newtonian Reflector.   image002 NGC 3184 – galaxy in Ursa Major Date: February 25th 2000 Telescope:

10-inch Newtonian reflector Magnifications: Sketch @ 57x FOV: Sketch 1º Transparency: Fair NELM: 5.0 Very low surface brightness, mostly round with a slight N-S elongation. The overall texture is very smooth with a brighter core, however, very subtle. A magnitude 12 star lies just to the north, possibly touching the galaxy halo. I was very surprised, despite the LSB, a fairly high magnification of 143x worked extremely well for a careful view of the central region. To the west at about 30 arc minutes is bright star, Mu Ursa Majoris. The 9.8 cataloged magnitude of this galaxy is very deceiving, as it appears much dimmer, due to the very low surface brightness. If the transparency is not good, this galaxy can be very difficult. Best observed from a dark site for sure. My first observation of this galaxy was in 1993. During this session the skies were much darker with a NELM of 5.8 magnitude. The galaxy was easy to locate, according to my notes, using the same 10-inch telescope. Light pollution has increased in my backyard over the past twenty-five years.

My notes from 1993: Low Surface brightness, mostly round shape with a brighter more concentrated central region.    

The following Image was made by Dr. James Dire using an Orion 190 mm Maksutov-Newtonian Telescope.  Exposure 40 minutes (4 x 10)    NGC3184 The following pencil sketch was made by Jaakko Saloranta of Finland, using an 8-inch reflector and shows the spiral structure.  This is a good example of what is possible by a skilled visual observer using only a telescope, an eyepiece and a dark sky.   

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