Archive for March 2017

After 17 years, my telescope observing partner passed away. Her name was CJ. Astronomy from my back yard will never be the same.

March 14, 2017

I can still see CJ, our Persian Cat, waiting anxiously at the back door to go outside, while I’d be setting up my telescope on the deck or in the back yard. 

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 would be moving to California, but that two weeks ended up being almost 17 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.  It was a very sad day.  

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



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

March 13, 2017

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


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

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