Archive for March 2023

WLRN 91.3 FM; Miami, South Florida: By Yvonne Bertucci zum Tobel: LED Streetlights Are Energy Efficient, But Are They Enviromentally Friendly? It’s Complicated. Also Contributions By Mario Motta, A Cardiologist/Astronomer From Massachusetts, Who Served On The AMA board of Trustees.

March 14, 2023

A brief from the WLRN 91.3 FM article as following:

Brighter streets mean brighter skies. And more light at night takes its toll on all living things. Researchers in England found LED streetlights kill off nocturnal moth caterpillar populations by fifty percent. Billions of migrating birds aren’t able to find their way in our brightening skies. Insect mating is reduced. It affects pollinators. And scientists are worried that light pollution is altering our planet.

LEDs emit blue light, which disrupts circadian rhythms and suppresses melatonin, and lost sleep can lead to health problems like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity, according to a 2016 report from the American Medical Association.

“Amoeba in the ocean are affected. Algae are affected. And all the higher animals are affected,” said Dr. Mario Motta, a Boston-area cardiologist who served on the AMA’s board of trustees at the time the report was released. “Melatonin is a very primitive hormone that’s basically in every animal studied.”

Becoming A Real Amateur Astronomer, Seeing M81-82, And The Story Of Losing My Observing Partner Of 17 Years

March 12, 2023

My Notes of seeing M81-82 for the first time in April 1978….and sketches/notes from many years later:   

It wasn’t until the mid-70’s when I acquired my very own telescope, a 4 1/4-inch Edmund Scientific reflector, a Palomar Jr. which was not my first choice, but the best my budget would allow.  

I’ll never forget one special night using this telescope. I was attempting to locate M81 and M82, two of the most beautiful galaxies in the heavens. By this time, the fabulous skies of my early years were gone. I’d moved to an area packed with houses and street lights, and the light pollution was very severe in my back yard.  

I was less than 50 feet from a HPS street light.  

Attempting to find even the brightest deep-sky objects under these conditions proved to be difficult.  I had tried on many occasions to find M81 and M82, without success.  I wanted to see this galaxy pair, which appeared so striking and beautiful in the magazines.

One night, while observing, time was running out.  It was already after 11:00 PM, and needed to get up early the next morning.  I used my hands in an attempt to block the ambient light from entering my eyepiece, and then it happened: A small, faint fuzzy object entered my telescope view.  I then nudged the scope slightly and then another…..finally M81 and M82.  What a beautiful sight!  I savored the view for the longest time and to this day and I can still feel that excitement.  

In my mind, I was now a real amateur astronomer, and went to bed smiling.  RI 


Seeing M81/82 that night in April 1978 with my Edmund 4.25-inch EQ reflector was my greatest achievement to that point, as a humble back yard observer.  

I remember that night so well, and can just see the galaxies in my mind at this very moment, even though I’ve seen them hundreds of times since.  REALLY!  I was using an Edmund 25mm (called a 1-inch at that time) for a magnification of 43x. 

No astronomy club, or other amateurs to share with the next day.  I would have liked that, but the “solitary” excitement in my back yard on that night was “apparently” all I needed.

It would be 1991 before I would meet another amateur astronomer, and later join an astronomy club.  However, most of my observing would and still “continues” to be mostly by myself.

Observing deep-sky objects is serious business indeed.  No time for idle chatter!  There are sketches and notes to make.  :-))  

However, I did have one observing partner, that was with me on a regular basis, for almost 17 years, but she passed away in February 2016.  She’s been gone “now” for over seven years, and no one can replace her.  

To this day…I still think about her often.  

She never said….not one time:  “HEY…you gotta see this” or “I’ve got the Ring Nebula, or you should see M42!

My observing partner for 17 years, and the story:

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 


The following observations and sketches are from 40 years later: 

Messier 81 (NGC 3031) Galaxy in Ursa:   10-inch f/4.5 reflector.  Sketch magnification; 12mm eyepiece 95x.  

80 mm refractor at 33x, M81 is large, bright, mostly round with a brighter nucleus, and is nicely framed with companion galaxy M82.   

10-inch reflector at 95x, M81 is bright, large, well concentrated, elongated, but subtle, NE-SW.  Very bright nucleus, almost stellar.  Only on nights of excellent seeing and transparency can the spiral arms be seen from my moderately light polluted backyard.   RI   

Rogers M-081 Inverted

Messier 82 (NGC 3034) Galaxy in Ursa Major:  10-inch f/4.5 reflector @ 191x magnification.  Eyepiece:  12 mm plus 2.8x Barlow 

80 mm f/5 refractor:  Surprisingly bright, elongated with a lens shape, smooth texture at low magnification.  When increasing the magnification to 75x, the galaxy becomes very uneven and mottled, with two brighter knots toward the middle, and an outer elongated halo.  This galaxy is much fainter than it’s companion, Messier 81.

10-inch reflector:  Bright, very elongated, dark band in the central region is almost separating the galaxy, and is very easy at 114x, but really comes out at 200x.  At the higher magnification the galaxy becomes very mottled, and with a faint surrounding halo extending the length of the galaxy.  The NE and SW edges or tips of the halo are smooth.   RI   

Rogers M-082 Inverted

Images using a 32-inch telescope of M81 and M82 by Mario Motta:


Astrophysicist Barbie Doll, By Debbie Ivester

March 11, 2023

Years ago, I had a lot of Barbie Dolls, but no more. However, last week, Roger encouraged me to purchase my first Barbie Doll in many years, complete with a telescope and star map. I liked the idea….and when I received it this week, it was a bit like going back in time! What a “small” but fun gift to myself. Click on the title to see more photos and real “true to life” astronomical telescopes! Debbie

However there are no shortages of “true astronomical telescopes” around the Ivester house:

There are more telescopes stored in closets and extra bedrooms (not photographed) and with a little help from Roger, I can see galaxies, nebulae and star clusters! Believe me….Roger is outside most all clear “moonless” nights! So these telescopes are very much used.

The Use Of Rat Poison, Causing Death To Wildlife And Pets: We Almost Lost Our Dog! And Also Read The Story “In Brief” Of The Poisoning Of A Female Bald Eagle In Arlington, Massachusetts:

March 2, 2023

By Roger Ivester

I’d like to share a “personal episode, or event” that happened to Sophie, our long-haired Dachshund a couple weeks ago.  

While walking Sophie near a vacant house near us….before I could react, Sophie ate a dead mouse.  I found out that rat poison had been “possibly” used in this house, so we naturally assumed that the dead mouse in close proximity to this house had been poisoned.

We turned Sophie onto her back, and poured peroxide down her throat. Sophie began vomiting (The purpose and objective) but no mouse.  So we raced her to the veterinary clinic…and fortunately while waiting to see the vet, she vomited the mouse onto the floor.  

The veterinarian told us, that the peroxide procedure has now been replaced, just recently with “an eye-drop” which will cause a complete purge of stomach contents….as we understand.  However, this needs to happen soon after the ingestion (maybe within an hour) of consuming the poisoned mouse.  

Sophie…due to our quick response, received no “apparent” lasting problems, and after two trips to the Vet and several hundred dollars, all seems well.

But it was a bad…very bad experience, and could have caused the death of a beloved member of our family.

This “eye-drop” as we understand is relatively new….and will also work with dogs that swallow other things. 

Note: We were unaware of the “eye drops” after Sophie swallowed the mouse, now available by veterinarians, which is a great thing, as the peroxide treatment is difficult to get a dog or cat to swallow… as you might imagine.

So, please help get the word out, “it’s not cool” to poison rats or mice, as anything that eats that “poisoned mouse” is subject to the same “death” as the varmint.   By Roger Ivester

The following “brief” was taken from a Yahoo News site:

“…..Wildlife experts are working to save the life of a bald eagle that has been sickened by rat poison in Arlington, Massachusetts. The female bird had been seen nesting with a male at a cemetery. But a few days ago, some people noticed the female eagle was drooping her head and spending a lot of time on the ground, instead of in the trees.

A group of wildlife rescuers tried three times Sunday night to capture the eagle, but returned Monday morning, cornered her behind some headstones and grabbed her. “And we saw the male just going back and forth, back and forth, looking for his mate. And he ended in a tree right above the car we were in. And it’s really sad because we can’t tell him, ‘We’re going to try and make her better and bring her back to you,’” said Linda Amato, a wildlife rehabilitator.

The bald eagle is now at a wildlife hospital on Cape Cod, where preliminary tests confirmed rat poisoning. If the bird can be saved, it will likely take months.