The 2017 Southern Star Astronomy Convention Hosted by The Charlotte Amateur Astronomer’s Club.

The following is a brief review and a few photos of the 2017 and 31st Annual Southern Star Astronomy Convention, held at Wildacres Retreat in Little Switzerland, North Carolina.  


A picture with Al Nagler, signing my copy of “1000+ The Amateur Astronomer’s Field Guide to Deep-Sky Observing” by the late Tom Lorenzin.  Al Nagler and Tom Lorenzin were good friends.  

Lorenzin later developed an updated 2000+ digital software package. The Tele Vue Gibraltar Alt-Az Mount has that database by Tom Lorenzin. 

It was Lorenzin who coined the name “The Deer-Lick Galaxy Group.”  He and some of his friends from the Charlotte Amateurs were observing from “The Deer-Lick Gap overlook” on what he described as an incredible night.  That observing site is only a few miles from the Southern Star event, on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

My copy of “1000+” with a personal note and autograph by both Tom Lorenzin and Al Nagler.  I’ll always treasure my Atlas which Tom signed in a cow pasture back in 1993, near Boiling Springs, North Carolina, and now Al Nagler, 2017 in Little Switzerland, North Carolina.   



Al Nagler with his wife, Judi….genuine, good and kind people.     


Jim Lamm of the Charlotte Amateurs presiding over the meeting.   


Time to eat!  Wildacres retreat has incredible food!


A photo of the surrounding mountains, looking toward Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi @ 6,684 feet.  I’ve ridden my bicycle many times to the top over the past 30 plus years.  I’m also an eight time participant of the Assault on Mount Mitchell, a 103 mile ride from Spartanburg, SC to the summit.  Cyclists from all of the country and beyond participate in this event each and every May.  

In my first year (1981) of the Assault, I lost eight pounds, despite drinking as much water and Gatorade as possible.  I learned a lot that year and did much better during the following years.  

The reason I’m mentioning this:  If you are a cyclist and attending Southern Star, bring your bicycle and ride the most difficult part.  

Difficult part:  This would be starting in Marion, NC (a relatively small town at the base of the mountain) and then to the top, which is ~30 “extremely” difficult miles.  

This is a great opportunity if you are a cyclist and “pain is your friend.” 

Many world class cyclists (including Tour de France winners) have and continue to train in the North Carolina mountains.  

Greg LeMond, a five-time winner of the tour, said that the high mountains of North Carolina reminded him of  Switzerland.  Lance Armstrong, seven time winner of the Tour de France, also trained in the NC mountains.  However, Armstrong was disqualified due to the use of performance enhancing drugs.  😦     

Another difficult and challenging mountain for cyclists:  Not far from Little Switzerland is Beech Mountain, which is the highest incorporated town east of the Mississippi @ 5,500 feet.


My wife Debbie with our “Long-Haired” Dachshund, Nova Sophia “Sophie” at Wildacres.      


Beautiful Wildacres Retreat….    




Roger Ivester 


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