Archive for the ‘Roger’s Articles’ category

2017 Total Solar Eclipse from Laurens, South Carolina – A Great and Memorable Day

August 26, 2017

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, SC 

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A great group (pictured below) 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.   

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

We can only 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.  

What an incredible day!  

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Remembering Comet Hale-Bopp – March 1997 – Charcoal Sketch and Photograph

August 14, 2017

A pleasant memory and a fast 20 years.  

Comet Hale-Bopp
March 1997
10-Inch Reflector
Magnification: 160x
FOV: 0.38º

White charcoal pencil sketch on black card stock.  The anti-tail, gas and dust tails are clearly visible.   

 
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Image by Mario Motta of Massachusetts.  

Nikon camera at F2, 50mm lens if I recall….piggybacked on my telescope just before dawn, with FILM  kodachrome. (what is that stuff again?)

I scanned it to digitize a few years back.  Mario Motta 

 
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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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Mount Potosi Observing Complex – Aerial Photos By James Yeager, Pilot-American Airlines – Article Excerpts From Astronomy Magazine

December 4, 2016

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Above aerial photos from an American Airlines Airbus at 13,000 feet:  

“When flying from Los Angeles into Las Vegas, air traffic control will usually give an arrival called KEPEC3, to set you up for a landing on 25L.  Yesterday morning, they vectored us off the arrival and gave us a heading to fly….that allowed me to get a view of a very cool piece of property on Mount Potosi.”  James Yeager, Pilot, American Airlines.

Cockpit view of Mount Potosi in the distance from McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada. 

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Thank you James Yeager for the fine photos and allowing me to use.  Roger Ivester

The following photo of the observing complex provided by Keith Caceres of Las Vegas. 

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The Dr. James Hermann, 14-inch RC Telescope from Lincolnton, North Carolina.

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Some brief excerpts from the Astronomy Magazine article, February 2016, pages 54-57, complete with photos of the telescope, domes, pictures of the building process, and other.  A fabulous article indeed!   By Raymond Shubinski 

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“BE PREPARED. The Boy Scout motto is familiar to everyone, and excellent advice for all. Being prepared requires planning and vision, and this observatory project on a Boy Scout camp southwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, shows both.” 

“A beautiful Officinal Stellare telescope now sits housed at an elevation of 5,680 feet on Mount Potosi, 25 miles from the world famous and incredibly bright…Las Vegas strip.”  

“Jim Gianoulakis is the prime mover behind the efforts to bring this level of astronomical experience to Southern Nevada.  He has been involved in the LVAS for more than 10 years.  His passion for amateur astronomy, coupled with that of the current president of the LVAS, Rob Lambert, has made this project bloom on a desert mountain.”

The flame is lit:

“The catalyst of the project came in August 2012.  Gianoulakis, then president of the LVAS, received a message from Roger Ivester, an LVAS member living in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.  Ivester knew of an individual looking to gift a scope and mount to a group with a good use for it.”

“Gianoulakis and Lambert collaborated on the proposal, which was accepted, and the project was off and running.  James Hermann, a North Carolina resident donated the scope, a 14-inch Officinal Stellare Pro RC-360.  The gift also included an Astro Systeme Austrian equatorial mount.  The value of this donation is $50,000.”  

Note:  James Hermann, MD is an emergency room physician.  Roger Ivester

Other facts:

“…members started looking for donations.  An initial gift of $2,500 came from the LVAS  membership.  Then the club raised an additional $10,000 from Las Vegas individuals and businesses.  

“Dan Johanneck at Explora-Dome in Litchfield Minnesota promised 11.5-foot dome and 8-foot domes for the Project.”

“Now where to put the observatory?  The Las Vegas Area (Scout) Reservation southwest of the city. Located on the reservation is Camp Potosi where scouts can camp and work on many of their merit badges.  With an elevation of more than a mile and shielded from the direct glare of the strip, Mount Potosi was an excellent candidate for a future observatory.  So, the LVAS entered into discussions with the council.  It was a win-win arrangement.  The LVAS gets the land on Mount Potosi within the scout camp.  In exchange, the LVAS will provide assistance with the merit badge program and organize viewing events.”  

Success:

“But the future already has arrived on Mount Potosi.  In June 2015, about 1,500 boy scouts had a chance to use the observatory and its site to work on and complete the astronomy merit badge.  To LVAS members, this is one of the most exciting aspects of the project.”   

Again, this is a four page article, and the above is just to fill you in on what the Mount Potosi Observing Complex is all about.  

Roger Ivester

Roger Ivester: Amateur Astronomer

December 15, 2015

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

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I first became interested in astronomy in the mid-60’s at the age of twelve. One of my brothers, Jim had purchased a 60 mm refractor, and I soon became interested in this telescope.

It had an equatorial mount, several eyepieces, a Barlow lens, and a host of other accessories. I would take this small telescope into a weedy field beside  my house, where I hoped to view some of those fabulous spiral galaxies, nebulae and star clusters I’d seen in my science books. However, this was not yet to be, as I had quite a bit of learning to do, which continues to this day.     

I grew up in the foothills of North Carolina, and my house was located near the end of a dirt road with only two others.  

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. 

My progression was slow, and found amateur astronomy to be difficult.  However, it was fun just being outside with my telescope in total solitude.

When looking into the eyepiece, the colors of the stars became obvious. I perceived some as being rust, white, blue, bluish-white, or orange. And sometimes while looking at those distant suns, I’d wonder if there was life beyond the Earth.

I can still remember the frogs in the spring and summer, and occasionally a solitary great horned owl in the distance on those cold wintry nights.  

Summer in western North Carolina had a sound all its own, with a million insects singing in perfect harmony.  Gazing at a dark sky, full of stars and listening to the sounds of nature was mesmerizing.  

During those early years, I didn’t know of another kid having an interest in telescopes and astronomy.  At least twenty years would pass before I would meet that other person with a similar interest.  And finding that other person with an interest in astronomy would finally happen in 1985.  A local astronomy club was formed and I became a member with my youngest son, Brad.  

I gave my first amateur astronomy presentation to my eighth grade science class in October 1967.  The title of my presentation was “How To Use An Astronomical Telescope.” I used my brothers 60 mm Sears (Jason) refractor, and told the class all about it, and most importantly, how to use it.  I was a big hit…even if it only lasted for the remainder of the day.  

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

Using an inflation calculator, the cost of the Edmund reflector which was $159.50 in 1976, would be $744.45 in 2019.  

I’ll never forget one special night using that humble Edmund scope, while attempting to locate M81 and M82, two of the most beautiful galaxies in the heavens. And by this time, the fabulous skies of my early years were gone. I’d moved to an area packed with houses and street lights.   

One night, I was using my hands in an attempt to block the ambient light from entering my eyepiece, and then it happened:  A small and faint fuzzy object entered my telescope view, and then with a slight nudge, 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.  I went to bed smiling that night, and in my mind, I was now a real amateur astronomer!    

Getting Serious:

There would be many other successes and failures in the years to follow, however, it wasn’t until 1992 that I became a serious observer. A new 10-inch, equatorially mounted reflector allowed me to see faint deep-sky objects that were impossible with my previous smaller telescopes. 

After a period of time with my new 10-inch reflector, I soon realized that just going outside and observing was not enough.  I needed a purpose, something more lasting.  I began taking copious notes on all objects observed, noting the minutest of details, or at least to the best of my abilities.  This also proved to be somewhat lacking, so I added to those notes by pencil sketching.  I soon realized that drawing deep-sky objects challenged me to really see what I was trying to observe.

Over the past years, I have observed and cataloged many deep-sky objects, accumulating more than a thousand pencil sketches. This has required many hours at the eyepiece, and a countless number of hours working on notes, organization of the notes, sketches and astronomy articles.  

My first recorded notes were fairly brief, and my sketches were not as detailed as I would have liked.  Even today, I’m still working to improve both my notes and sketching, never being totally satisfied  with the results.  I suppose that sketchers and astrophotographers are very much alike in this regard…always striving for something better.   

Supplemental:  

Co-founder of the Las Vegas Astronomical Society Observer’s Challenge report.   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 observer’s challenge will begin its eleventh year in 2019.  

Observer’s Challenge mission statement: “Sharing observations and bringing amateur astronomers together” 

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, the Las Vegas Review Journal and other publications.  

https://rogerivester.com/2016/12/04/mount-potosi-observing-complex-las-vegas-astronomical-society-an-aerial-photo-by-james-yeager-pilot-american-airlines/

Astronomy blogger since 2010.   http://www.rogerivester.com 

Roger and Debbie Ivester 

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Just had to include a photo of my other hobby….cycling.  I’ve been fortunate to have logged more than 140,000 lifetime miles, as of 2018.      

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Chaple’s Arc and the Cygnus Fairy Ring

August 14, 2015
  • Date of observation:  August 13th 2015
  • Transparency:  Poor – Very high humidity  
  • Seeing:  Excellent
  • Telescope:  10-Inch f/4.5 Reflector 
  • Location:  Foothills of North Carolina

I located and recognized immediately using a 32 mm eyepiece @ 36x with a 1.8º FOV.   The first star I noticed was double star h1470, with the primary being a ruddy or rust color.  

When increasing the magnification, using a 20 mm eyepiece @ 57x with a 1º FOV, at least eight or more pairs of double stars, making a circle could be seen and separated.  This beautiful ring of doubles are framed very nicely within the 1º field.  A fabulous and most interesting asterism.  Dimensions: 40 x 40 arc minutes.   RI 

A pencil sketch by the writer using a blank 5 x 8 notecard with the colors inverted using a scanner.

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The following is an excerpt from an article by Glenn Chaple and posted by “Skyscrapers, Inc.” 

“Forgive me for the apparent ego trip, but this month I’m going to introduce you to an amazing little asterism called “Chaple’s Arc.” I stumbled upon the Arc in the mid-1970s while looking for the double star h1470. Instead of one double, I found four arranged in an arc 1/2° across. So smitten was I by its extraordinary appearance that I eventually wrote about it in the September 1980 issue of Deep Sky Monthly. New York amateur astronomer John Pazmino viewed the group and dubbed it “Chaple’s Arc.”

A quarter century later, I decided to introduce the Arc to a much larger audience by featuring it in my “Observing Basics” column in Astronomy. To my amazement, I saw the same group described in the British magazine Sky at Night. The writer called it the “Fairy Ring.” Uh-oh! Had I missed something?

After a little detective work and an assist from Sky and Telescope’s Sue French, I learned that the Arc had been seen by Utah amateur astronomer Kim Hyatt in the early 1990s. Like me, he found it during a search for h1470. Because he was using a larger telescope than I had, he was able to view some faint pairs that, along with my four, formed a ring of double stars. Not knowing about Chaple’s Arc, he and a friend christened it the Fairy Ring.”   Glenn Chaple/Skyscrapers, Inc. 

 

 

 

Open Cluster’s NGC 752, NGC 7243, and NGC 7789

August 10, 2015

NGC 752 – Open Cluster in Andromeda

Date: October 27th 1994 – Location:  North Carolina Foothills

Conditions:  Poor; NELM 4.5 – Telescope: 10-inch f/4.5 reflector – Magnification: 20mm Erfle EP @ 57x FOV: 1º

Notes: Naked eye object with a dark sky. A very large open cluster easily fills a 1º eyepiece field of view. Approximately 75 or more stars could be counted. Two prominent bright stars, one being yellow and the other reddish or rust lies to the SSW. This cluster is mostly irregularly round with many chains of stars crossing throughout.

NGC 7243 – Open Cluster in Lacerta Date: September 30th 1994 – Location:  North Carolina Foothills

Conditions:  Fair; NELM 5.0 – Telescope: 10-inch f/4.5 reflector – Magnification: 20mm Erfle EP @ 57x FOV: 1º

Notes: Very irregularly shaped, fairly loose open cluster. Double star Struve 2890 with both stars at mag 8.5 lies in the center. A dark lane crosses the central region.

NGC 7789 – Open Cluster in Cassiopeia – Date: December 20th 1994 – Location:  North Carolina Foothills 

Conditions:  Good; NELM 5.5; Telescope: 10-inch f/4.5 reflector; Magnification: 16mm University Optics Konig EP @ 71x and FOV:  0.92º

Notes:  Circular chains or patterns of stars. This cluster is large, very rich and condensed. Beautiful and refreshing after looking at faint objects.

Roger Ivester