Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

University Optics Close Doors After More than 55+ Years

December 3, 2017

I’m a bit late in finding out, but University Optics closed its doors in ~June 2017.  I am saddened to hear this. 

After 25 years, I still use my UO Konigs 12 mm, 16 mm, 24 mm in 1.25″ format, and a 32 mm 2-inch, and a 20 mm UO Erfle.  I also have a University Optics 2.8x Klee Barlow.  

About 15 years ago I called the owner, Mr. Seyfried.  My 12 mm Konig had a streak of light crossing the FOV when observing brighter stars.  Seyfried told me to send it back (after more than 10 years) and he would replace the lens.  

I received the EP back in less than a couple weeks, and it performs perfectly to this day.  Now this is a warranty and service for sure!  I was willing to pay, but Mr. Seyfried would have no part of this.  

An ad from the 70’s in S&T:  A complete UO 6-inch reflector OTA kit for sale.  You had to assemble all parts, black the inside, and paint the outside.  The cost was $164, and did I ever want this kit telescope!  

It’s for sure sad to see a company that supplied at one time, mirror making kits, mirror cells and other items which other vendors did not sell….out of business after 55+ years.  I like things to stay the same  😦 

Roger Ivester

Advertisements

Bob’s Knobs – Collimation Thumbscrews For Newtonian and Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes

November 27, 2017

It was almost forty years ago when I sold my 6-inch Criterion RV-6.  Life became really busy and just didn’t have time to observe for several years.

Earlier this year, I decided to replace the RV-6, with another 6-inch reflector.   I really didn’t need another telescope, but you know how that can be.

The telescope came with a bag of Bob’s Knobs thumbscrews, but I had not installed, until this weekend.  It was very easy….replacing one screw at a time and collimating after each replacement.

The 6-inch reflector: 

In the days of yesteryear, a 6-inch reflector was the workhorse of amateur astronomy, but in recent years has lost favor among the amateur astronomy community.  Not so fast!   Please consider:  The 6-inch reflector is reasonably easy for most anyone to handle, and has good light gathering capability.  The venerable six is an excellent all purpose telescope, especially with an f/6 focal ratio.   

Roger Ivester

IMG_1073img_5338

Does Anybody Remember Science Hobbies on Central Avenue in Charlotte?

November 7, 2017

I will always remember purchasing my first telescope from Science Hobbies in Charlotte, North Carolina during the mid-70’s.  It was an Edmund Scientific 4 1/4-inch f/10 reflector. Science Hobbies sold mostly Edmund products, and always had a big 8-inch Edmund f/6 reflector sitting in the window.  The 8-inch would have been my dream scope at the time, but the cost was well over $600.  The year was 1976….and this was far beyond my budget.

I was looking at both the Edmund 4 1/4 and the larger 6-inch Super Space Conqueror.  I really wanted the 6-inch with a much heavier equatorial mount, but had to settle for the smaller scope, due to the cost. 

Throughout the years, I always enjoyed going to Science Hobbies.  It was fun to see the latest from Edmund, which included telescopes, eyepieces, and other fun science products.  I bought a lot of stuff over the years from that little store.

I also purchased The Finest Deep-Sky Objects by Mullaney and McCall, a Tirion Atlas.  One item I really like and use is an eyepiece shelf which mounts on the pedestal and will hold six eyepieces.  I also purchased all of those old, but fabulous astronomy books written for Edmund by Sam Brown and Terence Dickinson.  I still use them on occasion.  

A sad day:

It was a Saturday, back in the late 90’s, and I said to my wife Debbie “hey lets ride down to Science Hobbies”.  Debbie always enjoyed going to a shopping mall after my spending a couple of hours looking at telescopes, etc.  We drove into the parking lot, something did not seem right, there was no telescope sitting in the window.  The rusty sign that had been hanging over the front door for many years was missing.  I got out of the car and pressed my nose on the front door.  Oh no…..the store was empty!  The store had closed!  

The last time I had been there, one of the clerks told me that business had been slow.  This concerned me a bit…..I was the only person in the store.

I really miss that place, spending time and looking at astronomy equipment “live” and not on the pages of a catalog.  Retail stores are having a difficult time these days, regardless of what they sell.  It’s really hard to compete with the internet, and mail order.  

If you have problems via mail order it can be quite difficult having to box up a defective product.  I had to return two Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes quite a few years ago.  One would not focus, and the other had a serious problem with the drive.  It would have been great if I could have checked them out in a store before taking them home.    

The good thing….all major astronomy equipment vendors online have excellent return policies, should there be a problem, or if the product does not meet your expectations.   

All of my astronomy purchases are now online, since the closing of Science Hobbies, which has now been almost twenty-five years.   However, I still miss those Saturday afternoons, looking at astronomy equipment.  

Roger Ivester

The “Finest Deep-Sky Objects” by Mullaney and McCall Still Available From Sky & Telescope

November 3, 2017

Just saw this on the Sky & Telescope “Shop at Sky”.

S&T has the classic book The Finest Deep-Sky Objects by James Mullaney and Wallace McCall for only $0.49. This is a great little paperback (good quality slick paper) and one of my first reference books. I got mine many years ago at Science Hobbies in Charlotte, where I also purchased my first real telescope, a 4.25-inch Edmund f/10 reflector.

This book, along with James Mullaney, Tom Lorenzin, and Tom English inspired my interest in both red stars and doubles, which I enjoy still to this day….

https://www.shopatsky.com/finest-deep-sky-obj

I also had to include a photo of my first serious telescope (4.25-inch Edmund Palomar Jr. circa 1977) which was a step up from my brothers 60 mm Sears (Jason) refractor. My son, Chadwick pictured (now in his 40’s…wow! time flies) beside my first and second telescopes. The Edmund is on the right, and my RV-6 Criterion (circa 1979) on the left.

favorite-telescopes-from-the-past

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

August 26, 2017

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

(s) Diamond / Baily's Beads 9

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, with perfect weather!  My wife, Debbie took the photo.  

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, as well as all of the others standing with us.  

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 F.  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.   

IMG_8982

Laurens, South Carolina

IMG_9009

Debbie and myself all ready for the main event!

IMG_8976

 

 

 

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.   

 
Image
   

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 

 
Hale-Bopp

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

April 29, 2017

http://charlotteastronomers.org/southernstar/

The following is a brief review and a few photos of the 31st Annual Southern Star Astronomy Convention.  It was great catching up with old friends and also making a few new ones.  This was another great event in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains at Wildacres, a private retreat near Little Switzerland, North Carolina. 

Time passes so fast and life is both unpredictable and fleeting….however, lets try our best to meet again next year.  Roger Ivester 

DSC_0623

A picture of me (Roger Ivester) 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 very good friends.  Lorenzin later developed an updated 2000+ digital software package.    

The Tele Vue Gibraltar Alt-Az Mount has the 2000+ database by Tom Lorenzin.  Lorenzin passed away unexpectedly in August 2015.  Tom was a friend and I learned a lot from him over the years.  I listened carefully….

Probably very few “1000+ Amateur Field Guides” with a personal note and autograph by both Tom Lorenzin and Al Nagler.  I’ll always cherish my 25 year old Atlas which Tom signed in a cow pasture back in 1993, and now Al Nagler, 2017 in Little Switzerland, North Carolina.   Roger 

FullSizeRender

DSC_0635

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

DSC_0614

Charlotte Amateurs very own Jim Lamm presiding over the meeting, and also a photo with Nagler. 

DSC_0612

DSC_0615

Al Nagler with longtime member of the Charlotte Amateur’s, Gayle Riggsbee, a multiple winner at Stellafane over several years.

DSC_0630

Featured Speaker:  Dr. John Mather NASA 

teSStar2017-2

Featured speaker and former observing partner, Tom English.  (Roger Ivester) 

image1

Speakers:  Drs. Jay Pasachoff and John Mather enjoying the event.  

DSC_5172

Featured speaker Dr. Brad Barlow, enjoying a conversation with Southern Star Attendee, Megan Gialluca “Astronomical League Promising Young Astronomer 2016”

DSC_0636

Time to eat!  Wildacres retreat has incredible food!

IMG_5916

A photo of the surrounding mountains, looking toward Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi @ 6,684 feet.   (Debbie Ivester)

My wife Debbie with our Dachshund, Nova Sophia “Sophie” at Wildacres.  We had a great day!    

IMG_5886

More photos of beautiful Wildacres Retreat, as following:    

DSC_0627

DSC_0629

DSC_0633

DSC_0626

DSC_0618

DSC_0628

During the event I was fortunate to meet and talk with Chris Waldrup from Tennessee who is interested in being a part of the Las Vegas Astronomical Society Observers Challenge report.  Chris had two full books of pencil sketches and notes.  My kind of amateur:  Visual observer, pencil sketches and notes!  

https://rogerivester.com/category/observers-challenge-reports-complete-all-reports-from-2009/

https://rogerivester.com/category/2017-2016-2015-2014-2013-2012-2011-2010-2009-observers-challenge-objects-list/

Roger Ivester