Roger Ivester: Amateur Astronomer

Posted December 15, 2015 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

     Thank you for visiting my site. I’m hopeful that you’ll find it both interesting and possibly beneficial in your future observations.     


      I became interested in astronomy in the mid-60’s at the age of twelve. One of my older brothers had purchased a 60mm EQ refractor.      

     I grew up in the foothills of North Carolina, in a very rural area.  It was a fabulous place for a budding new amateur astronomer, completely devoid of light pollution. The sky was velvety black with the Milky Way extending almost to the southern horizon.     

     It wasn’t until the mid-70’s that I acquired my very own telescope, a 4 1/4-inch Edmund Newtonian EQ reflector.  This was not my first choice, as I really wanted the 6-inch Super Space Conquerer, but the 4 1/4-inch was the best my budget would allow at that time.    

     However, by this time the fabulous skies of my early years were gone.  I’d moved to an area packed with houses and street lights, but I made the best of the situation and continued to observe.     

     In 1985 a local astronomy club was formed and I became a member with my youngest son, Brad.  This got me back into astronomy after a five year hiatus.  It was Brad that wanted to join the astronomy club.  I’m glad he did.      

      In 1992 I became a much more serious observer, with a new 10-inch EQ Meade reflector.  And fortunately by this time, I was also living in a much darker area.  I began making pencil sketches, which really helped me to become a far better visual observer.  

     I am the co-founder of the Observer’s Challenge report, along with Fred Rayworth of Las Vegas.  The Observer’s Challenge is an international deep-sky observing report, which allows any serious amateur the opportunity to share notes, sketches and images for a preselected deep-sky object on a monthly basis.  The challenge report will celebrate its 15th year in 2023.   All of the reports to-date are included in the following link.

      In October 2018, Sue French, “Contributing Editor” for “Sky & Telescope Magazine” became the Observer’s Challenge special advisor, after many years as a participant.  Sue wrote the very popular monthly “Deep-Sky Wonders” column for twenty years.  As of November 2019, Sue has agreed to help compile and edit the challenge report.  

     I was fortunate to be able to play a role in the Mount Potosi Observing Complex in Southern Nevada, facilitating a $50,000 telescope donation by Dr. James Hermann, M.D. from North Carolina. The facility has been featured in Astronomy Magazine (February 2016, Pages 54-57) and the Las Vegas Review Journal and other publications.


Saturday morning bike ride, which has been a fairly regular event…weather permitting for many years. This was today (August 6th 2022) with good friends.

Left to right: Mike Ribadeneyra, Mike Keeley, myself, and Todd Anderson.

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.

Posted March 14, 2023 by rogerivester
Categories: Light Pollution

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

Posted March 12, 2023 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

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

Posted March 11, 2023 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

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:

Posted March 2, 2023 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

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.

Canopus From Western North Carolina @ +35º 18′: Also An Image From Naples, Florida, And A Sighting From Fremont California

Posted February 27, 2023 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

The following is a rough field sketch using chalk on “gray” cardstock, rather than “black” to better illustrate light pollution. Canopus is just visible in a distant tree line.

Canopus is located in the constellation Carina, and is the second brightest star in the sky. It has an absolute magnitude of -5.71 and with the following coordinates:

Right ascension of 06h 23min with a declination of -52º 41

In the early 90’s, astronomer, Tom English, promoted an event called “The Great Canopus Chase” in our local astronomy club. It was unknown at that time if Canopus could be seen from the area, and amateurs went far and wide looking for the perfect southern view.

Many observers saw the star, but most from different locations, within the local area. It was a fun event. When I first saw it…I was actually amazed, but have seen it many times since. Roger Ivester

From my (+35º 18′ ) in North Carolina, my theoretical south latitude 90º (-) 35º = ~ -55º.

Of course the terrain and light pollution can most often be the limiting factor for many in their limiting theoretical southern latitude.

I can see the star Canopus, at a south declination of (-52º 42′) but in a distant tree-line. However, it shines brightly! 

The following is my rough chalk sketch, on charcoal “colored” card stock. I made this “rough sketch” as viewed from the north end of Stadium Drive, at the stop sign (junction to the Boiling Springs/Cliffside highway)

Notes and image as following by Mario Motta:

Canopus near its peak which is 11 degrees, here at about 10º above the horizon in Naples, Florida. The neighbor had all their lights on for some reason.

I received this note from Richard Shuford, this morning: March 2nd 2023

Back in 1976, when I was an undergraduate physics major at Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, NC, catching a glimpse of Canopus was celebrated by some of my friends who observed it from a high hilltop in Burke County.Richard Shuford

(Note: Hickory is about one hour north from my location of seeing Canopus) I was very surprised when reading these notes from Richard Shuford, as I thought our group, in the early 90’s was the first time anyone in this area (+ 35º) NC was able to see Canopus….Roger Ivester

Chuck Vaughn: Observer from California

Now what is the likelihood of me finding and seeing this in a 30 year old magazine? Especially since I just completed a Canopus post on my site? Sharing the story By Roger Ivester

I was looking through a December 1992 Sky & Telescope, and the word “Canopus” seemingly jumped out of page-712 and hit me…right in the eye! His latitude was +37º 49′ which puts his theoretical limiting declination of almost exactly that of Canopus! And he claims to have seen it without optical aid!

The following is a brief of that article:

Canopus, too! Chuck Vaughn of Fremont, California… to have caught sight of the star without optical in November, 1991, and three years earlier in December. Has anyone else seen it from such a northerly location?”

Note for reference: Richmond, Virginia has a latitude of +37º 53′ just about the same as Fremont, California.

The Deep-Sky From Florida: Volume 2: By Guest Host Mario Motta

Posted February 25, 2023 by rogerivester
Categories: The Deep-Sky From Florida: Volume 2

I was able to get my C-14 up and running in Naples, Florida, and the following are my images to-datebeginning in the winter of 2022, and continues as following into 2023.

The following is the second in the series: Volume 2

The above image is my Naples, Florida setup. I work under a Bortle 6.1, which is not ideal and “almost” two magnitudes below my 4.5 skies in Gloucester, MA where my 32-inch scope is located.

I have an iOptron CEM 70g mount and pier-tripod, which has a level and a built in polar alignment scope. I find it invaluable for a quick polar alignment, when I set it down on a pre-marked location via a pad.

This mount is center-weighted, which is excellent for southern objects, and much better then a standard German equatorial, due to the weight of the scope “hanging off” the end of the polar axis at +26º North.

On this mount the polar axis is “centered” between two bearings…spreading the weight distribution well for southern locations, and It has excellent tracking.

As shown above:

My C-14 Edge has excellent optics, and I employ a focal reducer, so my work is at f/7 instead of f/11. 

I then have a filter wheel, with a Astrodon Light pollution L2P filter in place of standard Lum filter, which helps cut the LP down a bit. Then standard R,G,B astronomik filters, and finally astrodon 5 nm, Ha, S2 and O-III filters.

Finally, my standard camera is a ZWO ASI6200MM pro. I like this camera due to its very low dark current and excellent sensitivity, and wide field.

Piggybacked on this set-up is a Night Hawk 85mm f/6.5 refractor, which I primarily use in auto-guiding with a starlight express Ultrastar. On occasion I use this for a super-wide field image, such as the Vela supernova remnant image, as shown in the images below.

Finally…I have a Celestron dew control system, which is a necessity here in Florida. The humidity and dew-point can and most often is somewhat high.

After spending a night with a hairdryer removing dew every half hour, I recognized immediately that a dew-control system was not just a necessity, but a must!

Set-up time is about 50 minutes, with about 10 minutes to polar align after placing on the preset location.

A nice dark-sky would be great, but not…which indicates we need good light-pollution laws in every state.

I plan on catching those deep south gems that are not available to me from my home, back in Massachusetts, and will be adding my latest and newest Florida images as following, as they occur.

If you can’t remember this link: Whatever search engine you are using, just type in “The Deep-Sky From Florida: Volume 2″ Mario Motta”

For the benefit of those that might want to follow Mario in his quest to observe deep-sky objects from Florida, I’ve included the following calculation for your use.

Or you might just want to determine the deep-south objects that are available to you, which you might not thought were possible, due to their southerly location.

Theoretical limiting southern horizon calculation from Naples Florida at ~ +26º North Latitude:

(90º-26º) = -64º limiting south latitude, which opens up a vast number of deep-sky objects not available in the NE:

M83 is one of my favorite galaxies, but too far south, making it difficult to get up north.

I did have a very good night a few years ago with my 32-inch, and got a nicely detailed image. But, just not high enough in the sky to do multiple channels for color and hydrogen alpha. And the poor spring weather in Massachusetts, caused me to miss opportunities to get full scale color.

So…a few nights ago I tried to obtain M83 from Naples: Four hours of imaging over two nights to obtain R/G/B and Ha, and Lum channels, it came out reasonably well. However, the detail can not match what my 32-inch scope is capable of. A “nice result” for a C-14 but I’m spoiled by my 32-inch image of this galaxy.

Then I got the idea to use RGB and Ha from my C-14 and instead of the C-14 lum, combine it with my older 32  Lum image. Using a program in PixInsight called dynamic alignment, I was able to accomplish, and came out very nice.  (See the following image.)

M83 is 15 MLY away in Hydra on the border with Centaurus, a spectacular barred spiral. 

This image shows RGB, Lum, and Hydrogen alpha detail…

RCW 38, a star forming region in Vela: (Note: images follow the identification and text) Telescope: C-14

RCW 36, a star forming region in Vela (Telescope: C-14)

RCW 19, a star forming nebula in Puppis (C-14 Telescope)

NGC 2177 known as “The Seagull” Nebula, as following was taken with a 6-inch RC f/9 reduced to f/6. Optalong L extreme filter and ZWO ASI 071 camera, about 90 minutes of imaging.

I used my 80mm scope last night (February 22nd 2023) to get these wide-fields.

1. Simeis 147 (also known as SH2-240, or the Spaghetti nebula), is in Auriga and Taurus. I used the 80mm scope, with a field compressor working at f/5 with an optalong L extreme filter (allows Ha and O3), despite my wide field I needed to mosaic it, this is 3 sections overlapped, about 5×6 degree field in all. with light pollution some overlap lines are seen. This is a huge supernova remnant, very dim, a total of about 4 hours imaging 5 min subs. 

2. At the other end of the sky is the Vela SN remnant (also known as Gum 16, which is far below the Massachusetts horizon) and is a similar SN remnant, Vela.

This is a single image frame, about 2 hours total imaging, I re-imaged this from last year using the wider field this time. Same set up as above. 

Vela Supernova also known as Gum 16:

Gum 15 in Vela: Located at -41º south declination, and is a large glowing nebula from a central double star, HD 74804. The image was taken with my C-14 and Ha and O3 filters…about 2 hours imaging.

NGC 1851: Globular star cluster in Columba, taken with C-14, 1 hour of Lum filter at -40º south declination.

NGC 3201

Deep-sky galactic cluster, the hydra cluster, about 200 MLY away, many galaxies. I labeled the brightest and largest in the group, many more….about 90 minutes imaging located at -27º south declination.

Sh2 294, “The Octopus” not very far south at -9º south declination, taken with Ha/O3/and S2 NB filters, about 2 hours imaging.

ScopeStuff: Telescope Accessories And Hardware

Posted February 22, 2023 by rogerivester
Categories: ScopeStuff: Telescope Accessories and Hardware

Your One-Stop Shop For Astronomy Accessories!
Prices include shipping in the USA. ($10 Minimum Order)

Choose a Category:
A – – Telescope Covers – Original Solar Series
B – – Telescope Covers – Continuous Exposure Series
C – – Dew Control – Heaters, Controllers and accessories
E – – Finders and Finder Mounting
F – – Explore Scientific & Meade Finder Stuff!
G – – Solar Observing Stuff
H – – Rings, Rails, Dovetails, etc
I – – Lasers and Accessories
J – – Eyepieces and Barlows
K – – Filters
L – – Visual Accessories
M – – Visual Adapters
N – – Other Accessories
O – – Observing Aids
P – – Upgrades and Maintenance
Q – – Collimation Stuff
R – – Threaded Things – Telescope and Mount Hardware
S – – Caps and Cases
T – – Red Things
U – – Machined Things – Fine Focus Knobe, Filter Wrenches, Etc.
V – – Telescope Electronics – Interface and Replacement Cables
W – – 12 Volt Stuff
X – – ATM Stuff
Y – – Not Astro Stuff
Z – – Ordering, Warranty Etc


Collimation Of An f/4.5 Newtonian Reflector With Emphasis On “Offsetting The Diagonal” And The Purpose For This Procedure.

Posted February 13, 2023 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

When I purchased my first f/4.5 Newtonian in February 1992, I learned about the need or reason for offsetting the diagonal. This was something totally new to me, as all my previous reflectors had focal ratios of f/8 or slower.

From my instruction book for the 10-inch Meade f/4.5 Newtonian which was beneficial for me at that time. I’m including a couple pages as following:

Meade Instruments Corp.

Newtonian Notes: Possibly or “arguably” one of the best books covering everything and anything someone would want to know about how to collimate a Newtonian reflector.

A page from “Newtonian Notes” as following, concerning the purpose and need for offsetting a diagonal.”

Preliminary (Report) March Observer’s Challenge Object: Galaxy NGC 2841 in Ursa Major

Posted February 12, 2023 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

Mario Motta image via 32-inch telescope: Extraordinary Image for sure!

Mircea Pleancu: Observer from Romania

I observed galaxy NGC 2841 with a 250 mm Dobsonian reflector, and was easy to locate using Sky Safari.

This galaxy was easily seen at 48x, appearing elongated, with the axis being oriented NNW-SSE. When increasing the magnification to 171x, and with averted vision, the galaxy appeared grainy, or mottled, with a bright core and a faint surrounding oval halo.

An interesting feature noticed by myself and my friend Armand, who assisted me in locating the galaxy, and we could see some faint structure.

The galaxy NGC 2841 was well visible in an Omegon 20x80mm tripod mounted binocular. Just the elongated core was discerned but the mag 13 was not visible.

As following:

Rough pencil sketch(s) of NGC 2841 using a 10-inch f/4.5 reflector, from 30 years ago! Pencil sketching technology has changed little in the past 200 years.

My personal reason for wanting to keep the “ancient art of pencil sketching alive” for future generations:

There are fewer and fewer amateurs (each and every year) that visually observe deep-sky objects, and fewer that sketch the objects they observe.

Now you might wonder how I know this, and can make such a “seemingly” definitive statement. A simple IE tool used in industry to quickly access what’s causing most of the problems (or it could be anything) is called random sampling.

So, just go to any astronomy club site, and see what is the most popular subject, or facet of amateur astronomy is being discussed. Maybe….just open any astronomy related magazine, and see what the “primary” topic is.

My preferenceor my personal interest in amateur astronomy:

I much prefer amateur astronomy from days past, and will continue this way all the rest of my “observing” days. And what is that? That would be pencil sketching with supporting notes.

My most fun days were using a 4.25-inch f/10 Edmund Reflector, in a light polluted back yard, during the 70’s….hoping to one day see all of the Messier Objects.

Can’t wait for a clear night, without a moon:

I’m most anxious to see this galaxy again (this month) for a new, and more precise pencil sketch. I would think it would appear more “lens-like” but all of my sketches show something else.

A supernova reported in the galaxy NGC 2841:

My first magnitude estimate based on and using “Thompson and Bryan” search charts. At 13.25, this was the brightest of my estimates and occurred on the night of May 10th 1999.

Supernova on the night of May 15th 1999, estimated SN magnitude of 13.4 and will be getting dimmer in the nights to come.

Supernova magnitudes, as following and with my last estimate at 14.25 which was surprising I could see from my back yard, even despite a moon!

May 10th 1999: 13.25

May 15th 1999: 13.4

May 19th 1999: 13.9 (Required 200x to see, and with first quarter moon!)

May 20th 1999: 14.2 (16mm UO Konig + 2.8x UO Klee Barlow) = 200x “Difficult!”

May 20th was my last night to see the supernova….disappointed to watch it fade away. Never to be seen by the human eye…ever again.

The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, As Viewed From Laurens, South Carolina. What A Fabulous Day!

Posted February 6, 2023 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

Image of the eclipse, the diamond ring, and Bailey’s beads provided by Barre Spencer and Patrick White using a Canon Rebel with a 200 mm zoom lens.  Location of photo:  Columbia, South Carolina

(s) Diamond / Baily's Beads 9

A group of folks from various places met outside of an Italian restaurant to enjoy the solar eclipse together.  We were all surprised how few came to this quaint little town to observe this historic event.  The totality duration was ~ 2 mins  34 seconds, and with perfect weather!    

During totality the sky darkened to a surprising level, but not as dark as a clear full moon night.  Venus appeared very bright in the western sky and Jupiter in the southeast.  I could not see any stars….naked eye.  

Both Debbie and I were amazed at the sudden flash of the diamond ring.  (See the image above) 

The temperature drop was very significant.  A weather bureau report from Newberry, SC, not many miles away and also in the line of totality, recorded a temperature drop of 11º Fahrenheit.  

We can assume that this temperature drop would have been similar in Laurens.  When the sun began to re-emerge, we noticed a shimmering of light waves on the pavement in front of us, known as shadow bands.  A very interesting phenomenon, that I was hoping we’d see, and we did!  

What an incredible day!  


Sunday, February 5th 2023:

One enjoyable day for myself and Debbie, was the August 21st 2017 total eclipse.  We didn’t have very far to travel…less than an hour to the line of totality, which was Laurens, South Carolina.  

Interesting, This morning (Sunday, February 5th 2023) 

I wore my Astronomical League (Total Solar Eclipse lapel pin) which I do quite often.  John Goss, who at that time was the President of the AL, sent both Debbie and myself this/these very nice and high-quality pins. 

If you are planning to “witness” and document the 2024 eclipse…see if the Astronomical League will have a similar pin.  It will become an heirloom for you, and your proof that you saw the event.  Not “likely” that this will ever be required, or that you’ll have to manifest for any reason, but you’ll have it….just in case.  🙂  

If your club is not a member of the Astronomical League, talk to your president.  If your club does not have an interest in being a member, become a member at-large.  

The Astronomical League does so much for amateur astronomy.  How about observing the Messier Objects and receiving a certificate, The Herschel’s, Double Stars, and too many other “amateur projects” to list. Let it be known, that everyone in an astronomy club doesn’t have to become an AL member.

I’m wishing all that are planning on observing the 2024 total solar eclipse will have “perfect” weather, and as much fun as Debbie and I did in 2017.

Be sure to document via the “written word” your thoughts, a few photos of the area, and the occurring events around you. Look for the shadow bands!  

A photo of the event is what most “eclipse chasers” desire….but try to encompass all that’s taking place around.  After all…they’ll be “most likely” thousands of photos of the actual eclipse, from still shots to videos.  Roger Ivester