“Celestial Harvest” The Book: By Guest Host, James Mullaney

Posted May 18, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

CELESTIAL HARVEST:  HOW IT HAPPENED

When I first become a budding stargazer at age 14 and anxious to see everything in the sky, I consulted a number of supposed “showpiece” lists – and soon became disappointed and frustrated.  Many were obviously compiled based on photographs and not visual impressions, including objects like the Horsehead Nebula.  So I decided to survey the entire sky visible from my home (back then) in Pittsburgh.  I wrote to my idol Walter Scott Houston (Scotty) and told him of my plan.  He kindly replied saying he was afraid this was an impossible project in aesthetics – but then, characteristically, said “Go for it!”

As a result, nearly 50 years later and over 20,000 hours spent at the eyepieces of many dozens of telescopes of every size, type, and make from 2-inches to 13-inches (Allegheny Observatory’s famed 13-inch Fitz-Clark refractor) in aperture, in 1998 I self-published Celestial Harvest: 300-Plus Showpieces of the Heavens for Telescope Viewing & Contemplation (later reprinted by Dover Publications in 2002).   Thus, my lifelong labor-of-love came to be born!

James Mullaney

NGC 188 – A Very Faint and Difficult Open Cluster, and so Close to Polaris

Posted April 30, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

AUGUST 2010 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-188 

 

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

Posted April 25, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

     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 advertised on the back of the front cover page 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” even remotely 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 70 years.  (1950 – 2020)  

      I wrote the following story back in (2012) and it still receives views, even to this day.    Roger Ivester

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

M85 and NGC 4394: Galaxies in Coma Berenices: Observer’s Challenge Report for May 2020: #136

Posted April 22, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

May 2020

Report #136 

M85 and NGC 4394:  Galaxies in Coma Berenices 

May 2020 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _M85 and NGC 4394

Fully Shielded LED Streetlights In Chimney Rock, North Carolina: Population 140

Posted April 18, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Light Pollution Issues

     While driving through Chimney Rock (population ~140 ) I noticed some very nice fully shielded streetlights.  This is a small tourist town in the North Carolina Mountains, about twenty miles southeast of Asheville.  

     However, I did note some “unshielded” high-intensity LED street-lighting, also in the area.  But, I’m hoping the “seemingly” new shielded lights are the future lighting objective or plans for Chimney Rock?     

     I’ll try to find out more about these lights, maybe this week (April 19th 2020.) I have no idea of the wattage or (temperature) Kelvin of the lights at current, but just the  (fully-shielded) design is a welcome relief as compared to the (unshielded) lights for the past 70 plus years!  

     However, unnecessary high wattage LED lighting without any type of shielding continues to be a problem.   No one seemed to have known how bad the LED lighting revolution would be, as related to light pollution, human health and environmental hazards.  

     Yes, little seems to be known (even today) of the human health and environmental hazards the “invisible” blue lighting of high-intensity unshielded LED lights have created.   

     Hormonal cancers  (prostate and breast cancer) are greatly increased with the new LED lighting, based on the latest AMA studies and report.  

     See the latest report by AMA Trustee, Dr. Mario Motta:  

AMA Light Pollution Study Concerning Highway Safety and The Heath Hazards: By Guest Host, Mario Motta, MD, FACC

https://www.mariomottamd.com/

     Chimney Rock is only a mile or south so from the very small community of Bat Cave, NC. (population ~176)  and about an hour from our house.  

Roger Ivester 

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Modern and Improved, Full Cut-Off Lighting Fixtures In Matthews, NC: Also an Example of Very Poor Lighting In Shelby, NC

Posted March 7, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Light Pollution Issues

     Since late summer 2019, my wife and I have had regular business (Animal Eye Clinic) 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.  I can’t be for sure if they are 3000k or less, but hopefully not 4000k, and have no idea of the wattage, which is just as important as fully shielded.   

     Many of the lights have back-shields which eliminate unnecessary light shining on or in house windows.  This is a great feature.  Proper outdoor lighting should direct light where it’s needed only.  

     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, 4,000k LED’s.  

      This type of lighting, especially with the short poles (directing light into the line-of-sight of a driver) which can make it almost impossible to see in the rain.  

      This can cause it to be difficult to see a pedestrian walking on the side of the road, a cyclist, or any road hazard, and especially difficult for drivers with poor night vision. 

     The following photo is an excellent example of poor lighting that I am referring to, with “many having only been recently installed” in Shelby.  

      I’ve heard from others saying the lights create a real problem, due to the glare creating a hazard, especially in the rain.  

Re: Lighting in Shelby    

      Each light (as pictured below) provides 360º’s of “high intensity” 100 watt LED lighting, which is the equivalent of  ~four (4)  “60 WATT, HIGH-PRESSURE-SODIUM” lights!   

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     The four lights shown in the following photo is the equivalent of ~sixteen (16) 60 watt “high-pressure sodium lighting fixtures” and without any type of shielding!  And this is only in ~100 feet, or less!    

     No, I’m not suggesting that lighting is bad, but lighting should be of “intelligent” design…used only where necessary.   And that would be using lighting of an “acceptable” wattage and with a temperature of (3000k or less) and with “full shielding” to prevent glare and unnecessary and “excessive” light pollution!  

     What is a “high-pressure-sodium” light?   This is “mostly” the “barrel shaped” lighting fixtures we’ve seen on the top of utility poles, all of our lives. 

  IMG_7374       

     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.  

     The following was taken (directly) from an IDA “International Dark Sky Association” article.   See their site, to learn more about light pollution:  

https://www.darksky.org/

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.

Circadian Rhythm and Melatonin

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.

A 2016 American Medical Association report expressed concern about exposure to blue light from outdoor lighting and recommends shielding all light fixtures and only using lighting with 3000K color temperature and below.   IDA

 

Re: Excellent lighting fixtures (below) in Mathews, as following:        

      As I have mentioned earlier, this is a good illustration of excellent full-shielded” lighting fixtures.  Note the “apparent” optional back-shield on the following light, which prevents light from entering through house windows or other…behind the fixture.  

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      An example of some excellent “fully shielded street lighting fixtures” mounted on standard height utility poles, in Chimney Rock, North Carolina.  A  tourist town, with a very small population. 

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NGC 3877 – Galaxy In Ursa Major: April 2020 Observer’s Challenge Report #135

Posted February 28, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

 

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York 

April 2020

Report #135

NGC 3877 Galaxy in Ursa Major  

April Observer’s Challenge Report:

April 2020 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _ NGC 3877

 

NGC 2859 – Galaxy in Leo Minor: March 2020 Observer’s Challenge Report

Posted February 27, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

March 2020

Report #134

NGC 2859 Galaxy in Leo Minor

Complete Observer’s Challenge Report Link as following:

March 2020 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _ NGC 2859

NGC 1931 – Bright Nebula and Cluster in Auriga: February 2020 Observer’s Challenge Report

Posted January 23, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

February 2020

Report #133

NGC 1931 Bright Nebula and Cluster in Auriga 

Complete Report:

February 2020 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _ NGC 1931

 

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…

Posted January 15, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

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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