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

  Now going to the future and current:     

     As time progressed, and with an 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.    

The following photo was made in September 2019:     

Race Car Wheeley

 

     Phillip still has two race cars, and continues to race this car, as well as his second “almost” identical car, and will race again in 2020.      

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

Posted January 5, 2020 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

rogerivester

     Recently it occurred to me, there is not a definitive identification of the various types of deep-sky sketching techniques.  It’s my opinion, there are basically three types of sketches, but as of current, have never been identified or named.    

     I would like to recommend or propose to the amateur astronomy community, that this identification of deep-sky sketches be considered as a standard for all future discussions and for proper identification, concerning deep-sky drawings.      

     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 or other.   

     I’m a visual back yard observer with more than forty years of experience.  All of my sketches are made using a pencil and a 5 x 8…

View original post 261 more words

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

Posted December 26, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

     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 from behind his pasture fence.   It’s always great to hear him coming to us with his bell jingling, to see who might be there.   

     Albert loves for me to bring him an apple, but Debbie has to quarter it, and he will chew each piece very thoroughly.   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 for sure, but is a very kind, gentle guy and seems to love attention.  Roger 

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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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NGC 1999 – Reflection Nebula With Hole: January 2020 – Observer’s Challenge Report

Posted December 12, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

January 2020

Report #132

NGC 1999 Reflection Nebula in Orion

Complete Report 

JANUARY 2020 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _ NGC 1999

 

    

A Brief “Astrobiography” of Gus E. Johnson

Posted December 7, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

      I became acquainted with Gus Johnson almost ten years ago, and as time passed, we became good friends.  Shortly afterwards, he became a regular contributor to the Observer’s Challenge report.  

     Gus has never used a computer, so it has always been necessary for me to call him via telephone, to receive his observation notes each month.   However, this has never been a problem for me, as I have always enjoyed our conversations over the years.  

     In 2018, Gus sent me his autobiography that he had typed himself.  Yes, Gus still uses a typewriter.  It was my plan to turn his “typewritten” story into a Word document, and then post on my blog site.  However, I could never seem to get started.  So in November 2019, I put out an email, asking if anyone would be interested in helping me tell the story of Gus Johnson “in his own words”.

       A few weeks passed, and I received an email from Nina Craven of Massachusetts.  Nina offered to convert the typewritten notes by Gus into a Word document. And she did a fabulous job!  Both of us decided that his story should indeed be in his own words.  Thank you Nina for your work!    

       My wife, Debbie is my in-house editor, and also anytime I need advice on the best word to use, she seems to always come through.  Debbie did a quick edit of the autobiography, but made only a few minor changes.  Again, trying to keep the story as close to the original as possible.

     Many of you may not know who Gus Johnson is, or his accomplishments and contribution to the world of astronomy.    Roger Ivester 

 

The following information is from wikipedia:  

SN 1979C was a supernova about 50 million light-years away in Messier 100, a spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices. The Type II supernovawas discovered April 19, 1979 by Gus Johnson, a school teacher and amateur astronomer.[2] This type of supernova is known as a core collapse and is the result of the internal collapse and violent explosion of a large star. A star must have at least 9 times the mass of the Sun in order to undergo this type of collapse.[3] The star that resulted in this supernova was estimated to be in the range of 20 solar masses.[1]

On November 15, 2010 NASA announced that evidence of a black hole had been detected as a remnant of the supernova explosion. Scientists led by Dr. Dan Patnaude from the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA evaluated data gathered between 1995 and 2007 from several space based observatories. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission, as well as the European Space Agency‘s XMM-Newton, and Germany’s ROSAT all participated in the examination.[4]

The researchers observed a steady source of X-rays and determined that it was likely that this was material being fed into the object either from the supernova or a binary companion. However, an alternative explanation would be that the X-ray emissions could be from the pulsar wind nebula from a rapidly spinning pulsar, similar to the one in the center of the Crab Nebula.[4] These two ideas account for several types of known X-ray sources. In the case of black holes the material that falls into the black hole emits the X-rays and not the black hole itself. Gas is heated by the fall into the strong gravitational field.

SN 1979C has also been studied in the radio frequency spectrum. A light curve study was performed between 1985 and 1990 using the Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico.[5]

More information from Chandra:  

https://chandra.harvard.edu/chronicle/0410/sn1979c/

 

A BRIEF “ASTROBIOGRAPHY” OF GUS E. JOHNSON

     In late 1938 I was born, and lived in Vanergrift, Pennsylvania, which is short, about 40 miles north-east of Pittsburgh.  We lived on the bluff overlooking the Kiski River and the Pennsylvania Railroad;  trains soon became a big interest of mine that continues to the present, especially steam-powered trains.

     From I know not where I acquired an interest in classical music, which also is still a big interest after 68 years.  I learned to play violin and organ, though not very well.

     One clear starry night I recall, when living on that bluff, but to no avail, as my parents knew next to nothing about stars (or music).  The news media reported a bright comet, but I didn’t see it.  It scared me.  I wasn’t keeping notes then so that comet’s name is gone from me.

     In 8th grade, at the Lincoln School in Vandergrift, I chanced upon an article in the classroom encyclopedia, about Mars, with an artist’s version of what Mars looked like as seen from one of its moons.  I think that is what sparked my interest in astronomy.  I read many books on the subject, well, not really many since school libraries had few on astronomy.  Somehow I learned of “Sky and Telescope” magazine.  I still have my first issue , for January 1954, and nearly every issue since then.  Some 1200 issues take a lot of space, and other magazines I have saved in great numbers.  My house is badly a-clutter! 

     Around 1953 I got my first telescope, a hand-held 8 x 30 spyglass.  The optics were good, but hand-held, it was of little use astronomically.  About 1954 I was in high school, where I found that I knew more about astronomy than my general science teacher (9th grade).  She loaned me a larger telescope, of 15x to 40x, but hand-held.  Soon I bought a similar telescope and tried to mount it using a very flimsy music stand, so by the time vibrations died down the object under observation often had drifted out of the field, so I tried some other contrived mounts.  I got a few observations with it like of Venus and Mizar and the moon.  Saturn’s rings were visible, though tiny.

     My father passed away in 1951, and then my mother in 1961.  In 1954 she remarried and we then moved to Castle Shannon, a suburb of Pittsburgh.  I attended a high school in Mt. Lebanon, about 2 miles away, where there was a pretty fair library and more astronomy books.  The librarian acquainted me with the autobiography of John A. Brashear, which I have read numerous times, he being an excellent telescope builder and astronomer at Allegheny Observatory.  His book is a joy to read.  He, as a beginner who worked at a steel mill, had built himself a 5-in. refractor and a 12-in. f/10 reflector.  

     I was inspired to get a real astronomical telescope, and seeing an ad in “Sky and Telescope” I got a 3 ½ in. Skyscope, base priced at $30.  It had ¼ wave optics, and that was adequate to give fairly good views, at 35x and 60x.  A 2.4-in. f/15 Unitron refractor followed, then a Cave 6- in. f/7.8 Newtonian, which really did wonderfully on deep sky and high resolution planetary observing.  Suburban skies were light polluted but sometimes I could use high powers.  My stepfather had a cabin in the woods at Deep Creek Lake, in western Maryland, where skies were fairly dark.  Many trees obstructed the horizons, except to the north and northeast.

     My father’s name was Gus E. Johnson like myself.  My mother’s was Maryon.  My stepfather was Floyd Crouch; he passed away in 1957, as I wrote, my mother passed away in 1961, after which I moved from the Pittsburgh suburb to Deep Creek Lake.  I now have an 8-in. f/6 Orion reflector and a very handy 4 ¼-in. f/7 reflector from Three B Optics, from Mars, PA (They advertised “Mirrors from Mars”) and their optics were very good.  Alas, as with Cave, no longer in business.  Three B’s head optician was Bill Herdman.

     With so many surrounding trees I didn’t get very many observations.  One memorable observation was made, perhaps my only sighting of M51’s spiral arms was from that home.  I remember once carrying (no vehicle) my 55 lb. 6-in. at least a quarter mile so I could see into Scorpius.  I’d get set up on the road then a car would come with its bright lights and I’d have to move the telescope. I think I made that ordeal only once.  When I observe I like to have a writing desk beside the telescope, and along that road I couldn’t have that.

     In around 1973 I got married.  The house was too small so we moved around 24 miles away to Aurora, W.VA. to a sort of  “farmette”, a couple acres, but with good sky access.  My wife didn’t like me out observing, much discord, and a divorce came, a costly one; then I couldn’t afford a good house, so I got this rather dumpy one back near Deep Creek Lake.  It has some NW sky then a fairly low horizon NE through SW.  I can’t quite see Omega Centauri, but just up over the hill it can be seem dimly.  Gamma Velorum can be resolved from that site too, with a 40mm Unitron finder at 12x.  From my home site I can reach Theta Eridani, resolving with a 2.4-in. at 21x.  Those three are my most southern objects.

     More regular observing came with my joining the American Association of Variable Star Observers (the AAVSO).  Besides observing long period variables, like Mira, I observed some galaxies, looking for supernovae, though probably not too seriously at first.  On April 18, 1979 I invited the pastor of my church to join me observing, for he had an interest in astronomy.  I took him on a “tour” of the Coma-Virgo Galaxy Cluster with my 8-in. and Leland Copeland’s “Coma-Virgo Land” chart from the Feb. 1955 “Sky & Telescope”.  The pastor’s name is David Long, now a missionary in Botswana.  Anyway, when we looked at M100 (NGC 4321) I noticed a little star, about mag.11 near the galaxy’s edge.  I kept it in mind and later checked a Palomar photo and the star was not there so I phoned the AAVSO and they put out an alert.  By the next day, April 19,1979 it was confirmed, by L. Rosino of Asiago Astrophysical Observatory and R. Kirschner, of the University of Michigan, reported that McGraw-Hill Observatory got its spectrum.

     It was reported to be the third time ever that a supernova was discovered by telescope direct vision, rather than photographically.  The SN was no longer visible by 1980, but I read that it was by infra-red and/or radio telescopes.  I thank GOD for my noticing the SN.  Between mag. 10 and 11 are around a half million stars, and I couldn’t have memorized more than a “handful”. 

     At the autumn meeting of the AAVSO I was awarded a handsome plaque.  Some notable observers were also at that meeting: Canadian astronomers Rolf Meier, discoverer of numerous comets, and Warren Morrison, who discovered Nova Cygni with only a 2.4-in. refractor (probably a Unitron). Decades passed and I watched more galaxies just in case. 

     One interesting observation was made on Feb. 19, 1983.  I was looking for Omicron 2 Eridani (40 ERI) and where I expected to find what normally looks like a wide unequal pair, I saw a nearly equal double aligned apx. E-W, puzzling me. I didn’t become aware of what I had until too late.  The dim star is a pair of white and red dwarf stars, the latter occasionally erupting; it was flaring!  And I didn’t make any timings!

     In autumn of 2010 the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory scientists, using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory satellite discovered x-rays coming from the site of my supernova, which suggested that the SN had left a black hole behind. 

     All of a sudden I was getting calls from newspapers and the HSAO scientists, and a television interview was made.  The “Washington Post” newspaper wrote “…Gus Johnson talks about his black hole discovery 31 years ago.”  NOT quite correct; I found the supernova but NOT the black hole.  Dated Nov. 29, 2010.

     I have done little observing lately, due to my observing eye having a cataract, which I hope to have fixed this spring 2018.

     Like most amateurs I had “aperture fever” but am getting over it.  For over 60 years I wanted a 12-in. telescope, but feel now that it would be too heavy to lug around as long as I live here, where light pollution is increasing.  A good small telescope on a steady mount can give many wonderful evenings.  Just to get a rare clear night is a blessing.  My 4¼-in. at 38x can see mag. 12 stars and even my short 2.4-in. at 25x can see mag. 11.3 (and once reached mag. 13.0 at 86x).  And there are about 1,000 galaxies in range of my 8-in.

     Big automated observatories are putting visual observers “out of business”, yet I feel there are small opportunities for us to find a new nova or maybe even a comet.  Don’t give up.  It is fun trying.       

Gus Johnson

March 7, 2018 

Outdoor Lighting Fixtures From Days Past, and Before the Advent of Incredibly Bright and Health Damaging LED Blue Lighting.

Posted December 2, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Light Pollution Issues

At one time, most all commercial outdoor lighting was fully shielded and pleasant to the eye, without glare and without creating excessive light pollution.  

Antique lighting fixtures, as pictured below: 

These old and fully shielded lights represented a time when people could still see the night sky.  This was before the era of incredibly bright LED’s, which emit health damaging blue light.  

Light pollution and especially “Blue Rich lighting” not only affects human health, but the entire ecosystem.  

A few of the following photos were made this morning (December 2, 2019) while driving to a local bagel shop.  Some of the lights are within a mile of my house and the others, fairly close.   

I’ve always thought of these 1920-50’s lights as objects of beauty.  

Many old and vacant stores or businesses have had their outdoor lights removed by those appreciating antique lighting fixtures.  

Supplemental photos:

On Sunday afternoon (December 8th) Debbie and I noticed quite a few more of the lighting fixtures of days past in uptown Shelby.    

Beginning with Quilting Fabrics and Notions (Lee Furniture and Sewing Center) and also on the side wall of “Pleasant City Wood Fired Grille” 

Roger Ivester

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IC 1805 – “Cluster + Nebula” In Cassiopeia – December 2019 – Observer’s Challenge Report #131

Posted November 23, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

 

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

DECEMBER 2019

Report #131

IC 1805 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia

Observer’s Challenge Report Final:  Click on the following link

DECEMBER 2019 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – IC-1805

 

Note:  The following are mostly original notes, with very little if any editing, to preserve the feelings and thoughts of the observer during the observation.  This is not the “official” Observer’s Challenge report, but what I call a “work-file” just to organize the entries.  Roger Ivester

     IC 1805 is a 6.5-magnitude cluster about 62 stars that spans about 20 arcminutes. It’s nearly centered on the group’s brightest member, HIP 11832 shining at magnitude 7.1. The cluster is young at only 2.5-million years and we see it at a distance of roughly 6,500 light-years. IC 1805 is enveloped in and associated with the emission nebula Sharpless 2-190, commonly called the Heart Nebula, which sprawls across 1.6 º of sky.

     Edward Emerson Barnard discovered IC 1805 photographically and included it on the first two plates of his wonderful Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way.  The atlas can be viewed online at:

https://exhibit-archive.library.gatech.edu/barnard/     Intro by Sue French  

 

IC 1805, December 2019, Observing Report by Mario Motta: 

Color Image:  This was combined with 1 hour each of Oxygen 2 filter and Sulfur filter:  See attached.

IC 1805 (the Heart Nebula), North is to the right on this image, rotated to show the “heart” shape more readily.

Of course…to a cardiologist the Right heart (on the left, person facing you), is very “enlarged” so this is a rather sick heart, with what I would call right heart failure.    Mario Motta 

 

 

IC1805

 

Sue French: Observer from New York:

14×70 binoculars:

IC 1805 is a fairly large, loose open cluster of six to eight moderately bright stars, depending on the borders, plus about 15 more stars on the backdrop.

105/610mm (4.1-inch f/5.8) refractor

     17×: Nebulosity is faintly visible without a filter, a little better with a UHC filter, and very nice with an O III filter. The brightest areas include: the IC 1805 cluster; a wide arc that runs between clusters IC 1805 and NGC 1027 and then loops around north of the IC 1805 cluster; and a small patch in the position of the nebula complex NGC 896/IC 1795. A fainter arc starts between the two clusters, loops around south of cluster IC 1805 and then northward on the western side of this cluster.  Both loops are quite patchy with very uneven brightness. Nebulosity also stretches from cluster IC 1805 to the eastern loop.

     87×: About 40 stars are visible in cluster IC 1805. Its brightest member is a double star, residing in a rough circlet of fainter suns at the cluster’s heart. Arms of stars starting north and south of the circlet curve westward. Two fairly bright stars northeast form a faint star with the lucida.  A broad scattering of stars straggle east through southeast from the circlet, while extremely faint specks of light can be seen within the circlet and rounding out the group.

     The double star is Stein 368 AB (STI 368 AB), PA 97º, separation 9.9″, component magnitudes 8.0 and 10.1. NGC 1027 displays about 50 stars centered on the group’s central lucida. Starting north-northwest of the star, its brightest attendants spiral outward from it for about 1½ turns.

     These observations were made in the northern Adirondack Mountains of New York, where my naked-eye limiting magnitude near Polaris was 6.3.

 

Roger Ivester:  Observer From North Carolina 

     In November I used a 6-inch f/6 reflector in an attempt to see the nebula in IC 1805. My eyepiece of choice for this night was a 2-inch-barrel 26mm with an O III filter. This gave me a field of view of 2º. 

     Scanning the area before using the O III filter, I first saw open cluster NGC 1027. A bright cluster at magnitude 6.7, consisting of about 20 stars with one brighter member located in the center. This cluster is located just to the east of IC 1805. 

     Now to IC 1805: I could easily see the cluster of stars located in the central region of the IC 1805 nebula. When adding an O III filter, I scanned the area for more than an hour; however, I cannot say definitively that I could see any nebulosity.

     On December 15, 2019, I used an 80mm f/5 refractor, with a 24mm eyepiece and a UHC filter. I was a bit dubious before beginning my observation that I’d be able to see the IC 1805 nebula based on my results using a 6-inch reflector only a month earlier, and with similar sky conditions. 

     After about thirty minutes, I could not see any of the nebula, but the central stars were easy and bright. However, when I began using my “manual” slow-motion controls, I began scanning across the IC 1805 area, and to my surprise, I began seeing very faint brightenings in the area. I scanned one section at a time, and was able to sketch extremely faint tentacles and fingers of nebulosity, only marginally brighter than the background. After more than two hours of “slow-motion” scans, well over two hundred crossings, I was able to sketch some of the brighter sections, encircling the central cluster. 

Telescope: 80mm f/5 achromatic refractor 

Eyepiece: 24mm + UHC filter 

Sketch Magnification: 17× 

Field of View: ~3.5º 

Roger IC 1805

 

James Dire:  Observer From Illinois 

     The Heart Nebula, IC 1805, is part of a vast complex of nebulae located in the constellation Cassiopeia. The nebula is located five degrees southeast of the star Segin and eight degrees east of the star Ruchbah. Segin and Ruchbah are the two easternmost stars making up Cassiopeia’s “W” asterism. 

     The brightest part of the Heart Nebula is separately known as NGC 896. NGC 896 was discovered by William Herschel in 1787 using his 18.7-inch reflector. NGC 896 measures 27 x 13 arcminutes and is estimated to be magnitude 10.

     The Heart Nebula itself extends about one degree in both right ascension and declination. The Heart Nebula lies 7500 light years away in the Perseus arm of the Milky Way Galaxy.

     IC 1805 is also the designation of an open star cluster in the middle of the Heart Nebula. This cluster is also known as Melotte 15. This loose open cluster is estimated to be a mere 1.5 million years old and contains several bright stars 50 times the Sun’s mass. These stars are responsible for exciting the hydrogen gas in the Heart Nebula resulting in the red glow as seen in photographs.

     My image of IC 1805 was taken with a 71 mm f/4.9 apochromatic refractor using an SBIG STF-8300C CCD Camera. The exposure was 140 minutes. In the image north is up and east to the left.

     The second image has labels pointing out the location of NGC 896 and the central star cluster in IC 1805. Two more open clusters are labeled in the image. The first is NGC 1027 located on the east side of the heart. NGC 1027 is a bright rich cluster of approximately 50 stars all within a 20 arcminute circle. The cluster has a total magnitude of 6.7. The other cluster is called Markarian 6 and is located southwest of the heart. Markarian 6 is magnitude 7.1 and is 6 arcminutes in diameter. All three star clusters contained in the nebula are worthy of inspection with any telescope at medium to high powers.

     My best view of the Heart Nebula was with my 14-inch f/6 Dob using a 26mm eyepiece (82x). This combination provides a one-degree true field of view. While the view comes nowhere close to my image, it was possible to see many of the brighter regions of the nebula, especially NGC 896 and the three above-mentioned star clusters.    

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NGC 246 – Planetary Nebula – Cetus November 2019, Observer’s Challenge Object

Posted November 22, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

NOVEMBER 2019 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-246

 

 

NGC 7448 – Galaxy in Pegasus – Observer’s Challenge Object – October 2019

Posted November 9, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

The complete Observer’s Challenge report link as following: 

OCTOBER 2019 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-7448_

My first observation of galaxy NGC 7448, came on the night of October 24, 1994, using a 10-inch reflector.   Roger Ivester 

October 24th 1994: 

“10-inch @ 57x, can vaguely detect with direct vision, situated between two two dim stars, which are oriented ESE-NW of the galaxy.  When increasing the magnification to 190x, the galaxy appeared elongated, still fairly difficult, but could be seen with direct vision.  However, averted vision allowed a clear view of the elongated shape, oriented N-S, with a brighter stellar core.” 

It would be almost twenty five years before I would observe this galaxy again, on September 26th, 2019.  

An astronomy friend, Richard Nugent from Massachusetts, visited both my wife Debbie and I, and were fortunate to be able to observe the galaxy that night.  We estimated the NELM at about 5.0, which is actually pretty good for my back yard this time of the year in the foothills of North Carolina. 

Using a 10-inch reflector, the galaxy was fairly easy to see with direct vision, at 114x.  When increasing the magnification to 174x, using a 12.5 mm eyepiece and a 1.9x Barlow, the galaxy appeared elongated and oriented N-S, with a brighter core.   

However, for a faint galaxy such as this, and using a 10-inch reflector in a moderate-plus light polluted location….just being able to recognize and see a few minor details can be an accomplishment or considered a success.  

I was pleased to be able to see the very faint double star, magnitudes, 13.5 and 14.0 located to the NNW of the galaxy.   (Magnitudes from NOMAD, and provided by special advisor to the Observer’s Challenge, Sue French)  

The double is actually a triple, but the third component is very faint at magnitude 15.7, which is far too faint for my 10-inch reflector.  I’m hoping that others using much larger telescopes were able to see this third star.  

Roger Ivester 

Pencil sketch:  10-inch reflector @ 174x 

Rogers NGC-7448 Inverted

Notes and pencil sketch by Sue French:

NGC 7448 is the brightest of five NGC galaxies that mark the corners of a nearly equilateral triangle with 28′-long sides. It sits at the triangle’s western corner. I first logged NGC 7448 in 1988 for the Astronomical League’s Herschel 400 observing program. Since then I’ve visited it a number of times, along with its buddies, through a few different scopes. My Observer’s Challenge sketch was done with my 254/1494mm (10-inch f/5.8) reflector at magnifications of 187× to 299×.

NGC 7448 appears fairly bright and elongated at 68×, with a 10th-magnitude star in attendance 2½′ east by south of the galaxy. At 115× NGC 7448 presents a moderate-size oval glow, twice as long as wide, that grows gently brighter toward the center. At 187× the galaxy shows a south-by-east tilt. Its large, elongated core looks brighter in the north. At 213× I estimate a size of about 1.7′ × 0.8′.

NGC 7465 shares the field of view with NGC 7448 at 68×, but it’s dimmer and roundish with a tiny, bright center. The galaxy sits 4′ east of an 8th-magnitude star and is tucked inside the western corner of a ¼° trapezoid formed by that star and three others, magnitudes 9 and 7. At 115× the small glow of the galaxy is easily viewed. Its core is tipped NNW and harbors a tiny bright nucleus. At magnifications of 187× to 299×, the core grows brighter toward a stellar nucleus and the faint halo is just a thin coating of fluff that slightly rounds out the galaxy’s profile.

NGC 7463 emerges as an east-west glow at 115×, dwelling just 2½′ WNW of NGC 7465. At 213× it shyly offers an elusive stellar nucleus and has a very elongated façade. At 299× NGC 7463 maintains an almost uniform surface brightness.

NGC 7464 is a tiny little thing dangling south of the eastern half of NGC 7563. I was only able to spot it during one of my observing sessions. With averted vision at 299×, I could catch repeated glimpses of the galaxy as a round dot. It was difficult to see, and I couldn’t hold it steadily in view.

Together NGC 7463, NGC 7464, and NGC 7465 hold down the western corner of the galaxy-pinned triangle. 

NGC 7454 is parked on the triangle’s northern point and is visible even at 43× as a tiny smudge off the ESE side of a 11½-magnitude star. A 9th-magnitude star lies 4½′ east by north. The galaxy is faint and somewhat oval at 68×, and 115× reveals a relatively large, bright, oval core. In addition to the 11½-magnitude star near the galaxy’s WNW side, the higher power captures a 13½′-magnitude star a little farther away to the NNW. NGC 7454 grows gently brighter toward the center at 187×, and at 213× I estimate the visible size as about 1′ × ⅔′.

I’d hoped all the galaxies would fit in my 187×, 32′ field of view, but that wasn’t big enough, so I cheated and nudged the scope north to get NGC 7454. I also used higher magnifications to add some of the details. Sketching stars, I began with those near the galaxies and brighter field stars. For three nights it kept clouded up before I could try to get the rest, so I decided leave the sketch as is. North is to the left and west is up. 

NGC 7488 group c inv

Mario Motta image:  32-inch telescope

See attached, 90 mins exposure on NGC 7448. Wiki says it is 80 million LY away, about 60,000 LY across. Notable for “detached spiral arm segments” which I think you can easily see in my image. Interesting object.

Taken with 32 inch scope SBIG STL 1001E camera, 500 seconds subs, 90 mins total exposure.  Processed in pixinsight. 

NGC7448

The Importance of Taking Notes and Making Sketches For Future Reference

Posted November 7, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Roger's Articles

I wanted to share information concerning an observation I made on April 20, 1993.  It’s a testament that documenting and taking good notes is indeed a good thing!   

Forward to February 1994: 

While reviewing my logbook, I discovered that I’d not followed up on an object viewed on 20 April 1993.  The primary object was NGC 3893, an 11th magnitude galaxy in Ursa Major.  While making my sketch of this galaxy, I noticed a smaller, much fainter object, SE of NGC 3893.  

So, while browsing through my logbook, I saw my notes that said:  “follow up on this observation.”  However, it would be ten months later (February 1994) before going back and checking data.   

I checked Burnham’s Celestial Handbook, Tom Lorenzen’s 1000+, and the Tirion Sky Atlas 2000.0 only to find that none of these sources listed a companion galaxy.  I then went to the NGC-2000.0 Catalog by Roger Sinnott, and found the companion listed as NGC 3896, a very faint and small 14th magnitude galaxy.  

If I had not sketched NGC 3893, most likely I would have missed NGC 3896.  And, if I had not noted  the companion, I probably would never have checked any reference material.  

This might be a good story in favor of being sure to document your observations.  

Roger Ivester

A newer pencil sketch of the galaxy pair, made April 1st 2014 

My original pencil sketch from the night of April 20th, 1993, which spawned my  interest in this galaxy pair.