Archive for March 2017

After 19 years, my telescope observing partner passed away. Her name was CJ. Astronomy from my backyard will never be the same.

March 14, 2017

I can still see our Persian Cat, CJ…waiting at the backdoor to get outside, after setting up my telescope.  She would walk around, climb the deck, play like she was catching something….pouncing and clawing the ground.  However, after a short while, she’d end up on my lap, either due to being cold, or to just feel safe.  

CJ was going to stay with me for only a couple weeks, and then moving to California, but that two weeks ended up being almost 20 years.  I’m really glad the move didn’t work out.   

Astronomy from my backyard will never be the same.  

Debbie and I held her in our arms from 11:30 AM till 8:15 PM.  I had my hand on her chest when her little heart beat the last time, after 19 years.  

CJ had a wonderful life.  We treated her like a Princess!   Roger 

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Open Cluster M67 In Cancer: March 2017 Observer’s Challenge Report

March 13, 2017

March Observer’s Challenge Report:  Open cluster M67 in Cancer. 

MARCH 2017 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – M-067 2

My image of M67 was taken with 190 mm f/5.3 Maksutov-Newtonian telescope with an SBIG ST-2000XCM CCD camera. The exposure was 20 minutes. North is up and east is to the left. The faintest star in the image is 15th magnitude. The exposure captures how the cluster looks in my 14 inch Dob Newtonian.   James Dire – Observer from Hawaii

James M-067-2

Telescope: 6-inch f/6 reflector
Eyepiece: 11mm 82º AF
Sketch Magnification: 83x – FOV: 1.0º

The brightest star of the cluster on the NE tip appears yellow. The cluster is very bright and large, consisting of two sections, the sparse eastern section, and the more concentrated western part. I could count ~ 30 to 40 total stars, with many faint stars being in the background, causing a hazy appearance in these areas. A lane separates the east from the west, traveling north to south, or the entire length of the cluster. With careful and patient observing, several dark lanes were noted.

An almost perfect circle, devoid of stars is obvious in the most concentrated area on the western side.

Inverted pencil sketch:  Roger Ivester 

Rogers M-067a

Image by Mario Motta of Massachusetts using a 6-inch refractor:

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The Observer’s Challenge Report: Contributions and Value To The Amateur Astronomy Community

March 12, 2017

The Observer’s Challenge is the only report which allows any serious amateur astronomer the opportunity to share their observations, notes, sketches or images in an organized monthly report, with other amateurs from all over the country and beyond. 

During busy times in the past, if not for the challenge report, I might not have taken my telescope outside. Sometimes it can just be too easy to stay in a warm house during the winter months, or a cool house during the heat and humidity of summer.  

Miss one month, then it becomes two, and now you are thinking about selling your telescope(s) and all of your astronomy equipment. 

Sometimes we all need motivation:  

At times we all need some encouragement, or some motivation, not only in  amateur astronomy, but most any endeavor we might undertake.  

After more than 40 years as an amateur, sometimes that excitement and enthusiasm can be somewhat diminished.  When this occurs, the Observer’s Challenge, sharing emails, and talking with amateurs, far from my own backyard can renew that desire to be out under the stars with a telescope. 

Roger Ivester