NGC 925 – Galaxy – Triangulum December 2017 Observer’s Challenge Report #106

Posted January 11, 2018 by rogerivester
Categories: Observer's Challenge Reports

Click on the following link for the complete Las Vegas Astronomical Society, Observer’s Challenge report: 


Pencil Sketch:

Rogers NGC-0925 Inverted

Photo by Mario Motta from Massachusetts:  32-inch telescope 




University Optics Close Doors After More than 55+ Years

Posted December 3, 2017 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

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

NGC 772 – Galaxy In Aries – November 2017 Observer’s Challenge Report #105

Posted December 1, 2017 by rogerivester
Categories: Observer's Challenge Reports

LVAS Observer’s Challenge:  Click on the following link. 


NGC 772, faint mag. 12 galaxy in Aries 

10-inch reflector at 104x, NGC 772 is faint, difficult with low surface brightness, elongated, but subtle, oriented NW-SE.  The middle is a bit brighter with little concentration.  A pin-point stellar nucleus was noted, however intermittently, and required averted version.  Very soft mostly even halo with the edges fading gradually outwards.  My observing location was from my my 5.0 NELM backyard.  

The last time I observed this galaxy was November 1993, from the same location and telescope.  My notes from that session were almost verbatim to my most recent observation.  A true dark site is necessary to see faint details and structure, especially when using a 10-inch telescope.    Roger Ivester

Pencil sketch 10-inch reflector with a 5.0 NELM


Image and notes by James Dire from Hawaii using a 10-inch Newtonian Reflector


Image by Mario Motta:  32-inch Telescope 



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

Posted November 27, 2017 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

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


M15 Globular Cluster – Pegasus October 2017 – Observer’s Challenge Report

Posted November 14, 2017 by rogerivester
Categories: Observer's Challenge Reports

October 2017 Observer’s Challenge:  Click on the following link for full report. 


Easy to see in 7 x 50 finder.  10-inch reflector at 267x, M15 appears mostly round with a bright intense middle, and an excellent resolve of stars in the outer regions.  When using averted vision, an intermittent sprinkling of faint pin-point stars in the central region.  An impression of dark lanes extending outward from the core and a star chain around the SSW edge.  Bright field star to the north.

3.5-inch Maksutov, M15 appears circular with a very bright and intense center.  There is no resolution of stars with this aperture.  RI 

Pencil sketch 10-inch reflector at 267x 



Image of M15 by James Dire from Hawaii using an 8-inch f/8 RC telescope  

James M-015-2


M15 photo by Mario Motta of Massachusetts using a 32-inch telescope. 


Does Anybody Remember Science Hobbies on Central Avenue in Charlotte?

Posted November 7, 2017 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

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

Posted November 3, 2017 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

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….

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.