Archive for the ‘Roger’s Articles’ category

The Southern Cross by Commercial Airlines Pilot: James Yeager

March 29, 2021

Jim Yeager has always allowed me to use any of his aerial photos, which over the years have included, a beautiful photo of the Barringer Crater in New Mexico, covered with snow, and the Mount Potosi Observing Complex in SW Nevada. Both of which I’ve used in previous blog articles and other.

I really like the following image, as I’ve never seen the Southern Cross.

Jim’s notes and photo:

Here is somewhat of clear picture taken with an iPhone using a 3 second exposure on a descent out of 41,000 feet about 100 miles north of Lima, Peru.

You can see Alpha and Beta Centauri pointing to the Southern Cross.

The residual cockpit lights, moonlight behind us, and the haze of high altitude cirrus kept us from seeing the Magellanic Clouds.

Other aerial photos by Jim Yeager:

https://rogerivester.com/category/mount-potosi-observing-complex-in-southern-nevada/

https://rogerivester.com/2016/12/06/aerial-view-of-meteor-crater-compliments-of-james-yeager-pilot-american-airlines/

Edmund Scientific of Years Past

March 6, 2021

Edmund Scientific was the company that really fueled my interest in amateur astronomy. From the following books (pictured below) to my first serious telescope, an Edmund 4.25-inch f/10 reflector.   It came with a 25mm eyepiece, which was called a 1-inch in the advertisements, and also an adjustable Barlow, to vary the magnifications. 

The year…1976:

This following photo of my Edmund reflector is especially important to me.  Not only a picture of my telescope, but also the living room of an old rented house which was built in 1927, and took a fortune to heat.  However, the rent was really cheap, so it was affordable.  I was just getting started with my working career, and most all of my money was required for the essentials of life.   

 This telescope allowed me to see many of the Messier objects to a level I’d never seen before.  And at that time…

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The Deer Lick Galaxy Group and Deerlick Gap Overlook, Little Switzerland, North Carolina

October 6, 2020

We had an incredibly beautiful day yesterday (October 5th, 2020) so Deb and I (and Sophie too) decided on a trip to Mount Mitchell (North Carolina) which is the highest peak, east of the Mississippi…@ 6,684 ft. 

When coming back down the mountain to eat dinner with friends (Mike & Rhonda and their Dachshund, Peta) in Little Switzerland, we stopped at the Deerlick Gap Overlook.  

I have always considered this a “very famous” location for amateur astronomers, and professionals alike.

The “Deer Lick Galaxy Cluster” in Pegasus:

Finally the “definitive” story of how the name came about:

It has nothing to do with the appearance of the galaxies, but from the location where they were observed from…on one special night, in the early 80’s by the late Tom Lorenzin.

So here is the story:

Friend and amateur astronomer (author of 1000+ The Amateur Astronomer’s Field Guide to Deep-Sky Observing) the late Tom Lorenzin was observing from this overlook, with a few others from the Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club.  

Tom was observing galaxy NGC 7331 in Pegasus, and on that night of  exceptional seeing and transparency, he made the following notes, taken from 1000+ of a very faint galaxy cluster, to the east of NGC 7331. 

Tom Lorenzin passed away after a heart attack on Aug. 23, 2014, in Winston Salem. He was 67.

NGC 7331: 10.4M; 10′ x 2.5′ extent; bright and much elongated edge-on spiral with stellar nucleus; axis oriented NNW-SSE; the Deer Lick group, a very faint triangle of 14+M GALs (N7335,6,40) is a few minutes E and a little N; “STEPHAN’S QUINTET” (soft glow of five very faint and distant GAL’s) is 30′ due S; good supernova prospect.

From this extraordinary night this galaxy cluster, observed from the “Deerlick Gap Overlook” and Tom coined the name “The Deer Lick group” which stuck, and is known by both professional and amateur astronomers throughout the country and the world, as such.

Mount Mitchell, not too far from Deerlick Gap Overlook

The Questar 3.5-Inch Telescope Story, Vernonscope/Brandon Eyepieces and a Meade ETX 90 Astro

April 25, 2020

     Questar Telescopes (Maksutov-Cassegrain) have been built in New Hope, Pennsylvania since 1950.  Questar has chosen Brandon eyepieces for many years, which are also made in the USA. https://www.questar-corp.com/ 

     Brandon eyepieces are optimized for telescopes with a focal ratio of f/7 or greater.   https://043a19c.netsolhost.com/

     The following are some photographs of a friends 3.5-inch Duplex.    

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     During the early 50’s, Cave Optical in Long Beach, California, manufactured the 3.5-inch mirrors.

    Questar graced the back of the front cover of “Sky & Telescope Magazine” for decades!

 

 

 

A challenge to Questar?   

     In 1996, Meade Instruments Corporation, introduced the Meade ETX 90mm Astro.  This telescope was designed to be an economy Questar.  Mostly constructed of plastic, but with all the emphasis on the optics.   

     At that time, Meade was manufacturing the ETX, as well as most all of their higher-end telescopes in Irvine, California.     

     I purchased an ETX 90 the following year (1997) for use as a very portable telescope, to observe deep-sky objects within its grasp.  It served that purpose well.  The telescope had very good optics and would easily exceed Dawes’ Limit on double stars on a night with good to excellent seeing. 

     Dawes Limit:  4.56/A (A is aperture in inches) for two equal stars of about 6th magnitude.   

https://www.astronomics.com/info-library/astronomical-terms/dawes-limit/                                                                                                                                                                                                

     However, when considering fit, finish, cosmetics and ease of use, the ETX cannot compare to the “much” more expensive and precision Questar.  

     The 3.5-inch Questar continues to have its place in astronomy, despite most amateurs of today wanting larger and larger telescopes, but how many telescope companies do you know that have been in business since 1950?

      And from their longtime advertisement in “S&T” the following was said:   “Questar, The World’s Finest, Most Versatile Telescope”

     This must be true, to have survived in the ever-changing world of amateur astronomy equipment for 72 years.  (1950 – 2022)  

https://rogerivester.com/2012/02/02/questar-a-high-precision-3-5-inch-telescope/

Modern and Improved, Full Cut-Off Lighting Fixtures In Matthews, NC:

March 7, 2020

     Since late summer 2019, my wife and I have had regular business in Matthews, North Carolina, which is a town on the outskirts of Charlotte.  

     Matthews has some excellent and very attractive, full cut-off lighting fixtures.  Lighting should be “fully-shielded” and directed downward to avoid glare and excessive light pollution, as the following photos show.  However, I can’t be for sure of the temperature….hopefully 2700k or less?  

     No one wants, or should want a bright “unnatural” daytime appearing light, which is that of a 4,000k LED light.  Unfortunately, most all of the new LED lights installed these days are 4000k, which is damaging to human health, wildlife and the natural world.  Unfortunately this light has now become the standard for lighting not only cities, but also for rural and even quiet residential streets. 

     Back to the lighting in Matthews:  Many of the lights have back-shields which eliminate unnecessary light shining into house windows.  This is a great feature.  Proper outdoor lighting should direct light where it’s needed only, downward and with a shield to avoid excess glare.     

     The lights in Matthews, which I’m discussing are in a “seemingly” newer business and residential area.  An example below:   

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      Currently, the trend is to light residential areas and sidewalks in cities are the “short pole” colonial style fixture with 360º of 100 watt, 4000k LED’s.

     No, I’m not suggesting that lighting is bad, but lighting should be of “intelligent” design, and used only where necessary.   And that would be using lighting of an “acceptable” wattage and with a temperature of (2700k or less) and with “full shielding” to prevent glare and unnecessary and “excessive” light pollution!   

     High-intensity LED lighting and all other “excessive” light pollution is proven to damage or injure wildlife, insects, and also increases the risk of cancer (especially) hormonal cancer(s) in both men and women, being prostate and breast cancer.  

Exposure to Artificial Light at Night Can Harm Your Health!

     Humans evolved to the rhythms of the natural light-dark cycle of day and night. The spread of artificial lighting means most of us no longer experience truly dark nights.

     Research suggests that artificial light at night can negatively affect human health, increasing risks for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, breast cancer, and more.

     Like most life on Earth, humans adhere to a circadian rhythm — our biological clock — a sleep-wake pattern governed by the day-night cycle.  Artificial light at night can disrupt that cycle.

     Our bodies produce the hormone melatonin in response to circadian rhythm.  Melatonin helps keep us healthy.  It has antioxidant properties, induces sleep, boosts the immune system, lowers cholesterol, and helps the functioning of the thyroid, pancreas, ovaries, testes, and adrenal glands. Nighttime exposure to artificial light suppresses melatonin production.

     An expressed concern about exposure to blue light from outdoor lighting and recommends shielding all light fixtures and only using lighting with 2700K color temperature and below.   

Some more excellent examples of proper lighting fixtures…. 

This article or post is featured on my site http://www.rogerivester.com listed under the title of “light pollution issues”  

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A report worthy to read, which I took from Dr. Mario Motta’s diverse site https://www.mariomottamd.com/ which includes light pollution issues as related to human health problems.  Rather than inserting a link, I chose to just copy and paste for easy reading…as following.   Dr. Motta is world renowned for his work, and dedication to the importance of proper lighting.   RI 

REPORT 4 OF THE COUNCIL ON SCIENCE AND PUBLIC HEALTH (A-12) Light Pollution: Adverse Health Effects of Nighttime Lighting Authors: David Blask, PhD, MD (Tulane University School of Medicine); George Brainard, PhD (Jefferson Medical College); Ronald Gibbons, PhD (Virginia Tech); Steven Lockley, PhD (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School); Richard Stevens, PhD (University Connecticut Health Center); and Mario Motta, MD (CSAPH, Tufts Medical School).

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Objective. To evaluate the impact of artificial lighting on human health, primarily through disruption of circadian biological rhythms or sleep, as well as the impact of headlamps, nighttime lighting schemes, and glare on driving safety. Concerns related to energy cost, effects on wildlife and vegetation, and esthetics also are briefly noted. Methods. English-language reports in humans were selected from a PubMed search of the literature from 1995 to March 2012 using the MeSH terms “circadian/biological clocks/rhythm,” “chronobiology/disorders,” “photoperiod,” “light/lighting” “sleep,” “work schedule,” or “adaptation,” combined with the terms “physiology,” “melatonin,” “adverse effects/toxicity,” “pathophysiology,” “neoplasm,” “epidemiology/etiology,” “mental disorders,” “energy metabolism,” and “gene expression.” Additional articles were identified by manual review of the references cited in these publications; others were supplied by experts in the field who contributed to this report (see Acknowledgement). Results. Biological adaptation to the sun has evolved over billions of years. The power to artificially override the natural cycle of light and dark is a recent event and represents a man-made self-experiment on the effects of exposure to increasingly bright light during the night as human societies acquire technology and expand industry. In addition to resetting the circadian pacemaker, light also stimulates additional neuroendocrine and neurobehavioral responses including suppression of melatonin release from the pineal gland improving alertness and performance. Low levels of illuminance in the blue or white fluorescent spectrum disrupt melatonin secretion. The primary human concerns with nighttime lighting include disability glare (which affects driving and pedestrian safety) and various health effects. Among the latter are potential carcinogenic effects related to melatonin suppression, especially breast cancer. Other diseases that may be exacerbated by circadian disruption include obesity, diabetes, depression and mood disorders, and reproductive problems. Conclusion. The natural 24-hour cycle of light and dark helps maintain precise alignment of circadian biological rhythms, the general activation of the central nervous system and various biological and cellular processes, and entrainment of melatonin release from the pineal gland. Pervasive use of nighttime lighting disrupts these endogenous processes and creates potentially harmful health effects and/or hazardous situations with varying degrees of harm. The latter includes the generation of glare from roadway, property, and other artificial lighting sources that can create unsafe driving conditions, especially for older drivers. More direct health effects of nighttime lighting may be attributable to disruption of the sleep-wake cycle and suppression of melatonin release. Even low intensity nighttime light has the capability of suppressing melatonin release. In various laboratory models of cancer, melatonin serves as a circulating anticancer signal and suppresses tumor growth. Limited epidemiological studies support the hypothesis that nighttime lighting and/or repetitive disruption of circadian rhythms increases cancer risk; most attention in this arena has been devoted to breast cancer. Further information is required to CSAPH Rep. 4-A-12 — page 2 of 25 evaluate the relative role of sleep versus the period of darkness in certain diseases or on mediators of certain chronic diseases or conditions including obesity. Due to the nearly ubiquitous exposure to light at inappropriate times relative to endogenous circadian rhythms, a need exists for further multidisciplinary research on occupational and environmental exposure to light-at-night, the risk of cancer, and effects on various chronic disease

      

Building a Hot Rod in November 1964: The Beatles Came to America in February of That Year, Cassius Clay Wins the Heavy-Weight Boxing Championship Over Sonny Liston. And I was Eleven Years Old…

January 15, 2020

Date:  November 1964  

     My five older brothers built something similar or akin to what might be called a “Rat Rod” today.  The origin was a 1951 Studebaker…using the frame, which had been shortened by three feet, the original engine and transmission.  

       In the following photos are my brother Jimmy, who was driving, I’m in the middle with the “cool” cowboy hat, and my brother, Phillip.

     My older brothers, Richard, Jimmy, Ronny, Donnie and Phillip, worked on fabricating “The Bug” as it was called.   I was a bit too young, and mostly just enjoyed watching.  Sometimes I would assist by handing them wrenches or anything else they might need.   

     Improvements were made over the next year with the installation of a mid-50’s Chrysler Hemi engine, which had much more horsepower than the Studebaker.     

     The sad looking tires, especially the front white-walls would eventually be changed out with some better looking wheels.  Additions would also be made to the body, however, still constructed of wood panels.  With a larger budget, many improvements could have been made, but….

     My brother, Donnie, being in high school drove the school bus in the background, which was an early 1950’s model Chevrolet.  

An astronomical telescope purchase in 1963:    

     It was my brother Jimmy, who had already purchased (at the time of the photo) a 60mm f/15 equatorially mounted refractor from Sears, at a cost of $100.  This would be the equivalent of $835 in 2019.  An expensive telescope for sure.

     Two years later, I would begin using this telescope to observe deep-sky objects (galaxies, nebulae and star clusters) and a lifelong interest in astronomy would follow, even to this day.

Roger Ivester   

The Beginning of a Hot Rod

The Beginning of a Hot Rod - 2

     

 

 Improved budget, greater skills and abilities, my brother Phillip would become a race car and engine builder.  He would also go on to win an incredible 164 drag racing events. with multiple drag cars.    

The following photo was made in September 2019:     

Race Car Wheeley

          

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The Three Types of Astronomical Deep-Sky Sketches Identified and Explained

January 5, 2020

      The following classifications of the various types of deep-sky sketches are solely my opinion only:   

                 Detailed visual telescope sketching:  Observing an object through a telescope via an eyepiece. Drawing the object on paper or a sketch card “as verbatim” as possible using a pencil, or pencils of various hardness.   

     I’m a visual back yard observer after more than forty years.  All of my sketches are made using a pencil and a 5 x 8 blank note card with a 3-inch circle.   

     Impression sketching:  A sketch made at the eyepiece, using a pencil, charcoal, or chalk and representing what the observer mentally perceives, without a great degree of scale or detail. 

      It’s my opinion that John Mallas of “The Messier Album” used this technique, for the…

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Christmas Day Bicycle Ride – What a Great Day To Get Outside…

December 26, 2019

     Cloudy skies and rain have prevailed for the past few days, but what a nice day it was on Christmas Day to get outside.  While relaxing, shortly after lunch I received a message from Mike Ribadeneyra, wanting to take a bicycle ride.  I was actually thinking about a nap, but as a cyclist, when someone offers an opportunity to ride…the guilt can be a bit overwhelming should you decline, especially for no good reason. 

     So I got my cycling stuff on, and as always, it’s a great feeling of accomplishment when you are riding back in your driveway.  

     When coming home, we were able to stop and visit with “Albert” the donkey who loves to see us ride by, behind his pasture fence.   It’s always great to hear him coming to us with his bell jingling…wanting to see us.   

     Albert loves for me to bring him an apple, but he has to have it quartered, and he will chew each piece individually.   If a piece falls on the ground, he’ll not eat it until I pick it up and offer it to him again.  He’s a bit finicky, but very kind and seems to love attention.   

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Albert is glad to see Mike Ribadeneyra:   

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Supplemental photo:  Saturday, December 28th, after a ride, changing out of cycling stuff and taking Albert an apple.  He was very disappointed I didn’t have or offer him an apple, when we were riding home.  So….Debbie, and I took him one later.  

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Below:  Sophie (our Dachshund) is a bit jealous of me feeding Albert an apple, on another afternoon in (January).  Albert is always excited to see us, knowing we have him a treat!

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Below:  A day in February 2020

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Debbie Ivester: My First Photo of The Moon Using an iPhone. I’d Like To Now Try With My DSLR Camera and an 80mm f/5 Refractor.

January 22, 2019

I was using an iPhone 10 and a 6-inch f/6 imaging reflector with a 24mm eyepiece for a magnification of 38x.  After focusing the telescope on the moon, I then handheld the phone up to the telescope eyepiece.  This was a bit more difficult than I would have thought.  

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The phone had to be perfectly aligned over the telescope eyepiece, while looking at the phone screen, which required some slight moving around until the moon was visible.  Then a light tap on the phone shutter button, and there was an image of the moon.  Pretty incredible!  A bit of practice was required to get this right. 

Unfortunately some high cirrus clouds began covering the moon.  I chose to use the following photo, despite the clouds as this was my best.  I’ll try again on a better night.  It was also really cold!  

It would have been great if I’d tried this during the lunar eclipse.  

Roger helped me to accomplish this goal on a very cold night. 

Also, thanks to Richard Nugent of Boston for the post of the Lunar Eclipse that spawned my appetite or interest in making a photo using an iPhone and a telescope.  

This is not a big deal to serious astrophotographers, but I’d just always wanted to take a photo of the moon.   

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Just received my T-ring and adapter, and have attached my DSLR to an 80mm f/5 refractor.  I hope to try the moon again with this combination.  Debbie 

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What? Sand Dunes In The Northeastern Corner Of South Carolina, 50 Miles From The Atlantic Ocean! And Also Very Dark Skies…

August 14, 2018

While visiting family in Mullins, South Carolina over the past few years, I’ve discovered some fabulous dark-sky areas, perfect for the use of an astronomical telescope.  

Only a few miles outside the city limits, there are country roads, agriculture fields, and no houses or lights for miles and miles.  

Hopefully in future visits, I’ll be able to take one of my smaller telescopes, but unfortunately, like most locations on the east coast, during the summer months, cloudy skies seem to prevail.    

However, this trip yielded some beautiful skies, but on our first night we were too tired to attempt to see the Perseid meteor shower. 

The next morning….Tuesday August 14th 2018.  

When driving in a secluded area, via unfamiliar country roads, you never know what you may find:   

While riding around with my oldest grandson, who just got his learners permit, and I was sharing my wisdom, of how to be a safe driver.  During our  leisure drive, we found something very interesting:  

Sand dunes, and a very sandy area….at first resembling snow, all in the middle of a dense forest and surrounded by swamp land.  There were Bald Cypress trees growing out of the black murky water, Spanish moss hanging from the trees, and who knows, maybe even an alligator or two in that dark water!

Note:  This very remote small sandy area is a protected site.  I took some pictures as following, but somehow missed the eerie swamp.   

Roger 

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Stopped and using the car as a size reference, to a part of the protected site: 

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South Carolina Grandkids

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Debbie (Grammy) with granddaughter Gracie

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Couldn’t leave our Sophie behind!  She’s ready to go anytime we are! 

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