Improving My Backyard Deck Into a Better Observatory, a Nice Comfortable Nook For Debbie and I. The New Privacy Fence and Storage Shed Shields Ambient Lighting When Using My Telescope.

Posted April 12, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

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Back side close up: 

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New Shed for deck storage:

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Deck before renovation, modifications, and additions.  

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Now back to my privacy fence:   

The majority of my astronomical telescopic observing, for the past 35 years has been from my backyard deck.  It received a major renovation and enlargement about 15 years ago.  My NELM from this deck is normally about 5.0-5.2 on an excellent night.  On a cold and crisp winter night on occasion, the NELM can reach 5.5 at the zenith.  

For at least the past five or more years, I’d thought about adding a bit of privacy for both my observing and when my wife and I choose to just sit, relax, and talk.  

During the day, I can use my computer to write astronomy articles, emails to my many astronomy friends across the country and beyond. I can work on the Observer’s Challenge report, which just celebrated 123 consecutive months, as of April 2019.  

The Observer’s Challenge report is an international amateur astronomers report, which allows any and all serious amateurs the opportunity to share their observations…being notes, pencil sketches or images, of a predetermined  deep-sky object each and every month.  I co-founded this with the Las Vegas resident, Fred Rayworth of the Las Vegas Astronomical Society.  

Back to the privacy fence:   

The fence blocks the sun until late morning, and with Debbie’s new outdoor umbrella, we can enjoy it….should we choose.  The other day, it became a bit too warm, so we now have a fan that works extremely well.  So much breeze, that paper weights are necessary for books and related.  

On selected nights, when it’s clear and without a moon, I can use one of my many telescopes to observe deep-sky objects, galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters from this suburban deck.    

I also like to make eyepiece/telescope pencil sketches.  An example as following:  A few sketches of faint and distant galaxies.   

Rogers NGC-2300 Inverted

Rogers NGC-2964 Invereted

Rogers NGC-4236 Inverted b

Roger Ivester

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NGC 2964/2968/2970 – Galaxies in Leo – April 2019 Observer’s Challenge Objects

Posted March 28, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

Observer’s Challenge Report:

APRIL 2019 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-2964-68

Pencil sketch with colors inverted:

Rogers NGC-2964 Invereted

NGC 2964-68-70

Image by Mario Motta from Massachusetts, 32-inch telescope:

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NGC 2300 and NGC 2276 – Galaxy Pair in Cepheus – March 2019 Observer’s Challenge Objects

Posted March 7, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Work File Only - Observer's Challenge Reports

March Observer’s Challenge Complete Report:  Click on the following link:

MARCH 2019 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-2300

 

Pencil sketch 10-inch reflector @ 183x: 

NGC 2300 and 2276

Inverted color pencil sketch:  

Rogers NGC-2300 Inverted

NGC 2300 and NGC 2276 – Galaxies in Cepheus –  Date:  Wednesday, March 6th 2019 Telescope:  10-inch f/4.5 reflector – Sketch magnification:  183x – Eyepiece:  12.5 mm + 2x Barlow – FOV:  0.33º – 20 arc minutes – Conditions:  NELM ~5.0-5.2 

NGC 2300:  Bright, high surface brightness, brighter very concentrated nucleus, mostly round, but with a very subtle E-W elongation.  

NGC 2276:  Extremely difficult, mostly round, very low surface brightness, appearing only as a brightening in the sky.  Very even without concentration.  The glare from a magnitude 8.5 star located two arc minutes WSW of the galaxy, hinders the view.  Averted vision required.  The eyepiece view of this galaxy was far more illusive than my pencil sketch projection.  Roger Ivester 

 

Image and information by Mario Motta – 32-inch f/6 telescope 

NGC2300-2276

I fought some clouds late, and had to drop some subs, but got about 65 minutes total for this image.  

SBIG STL 1001B camera, five minute subs to keep the bright mag. 8.5 star, only a couple arc minutes away from blooming too much, with the 32-inch f/6 telescope, and then processed in PixInsight.  

NGC 2300 is mostly featureless as an elliptical, but I find NGC 2276 very interesting.  It has sharp arms that are chock full of H alpha knots it would appear.  

I wonder if NGC 2276 is a starburst galaxy?  Possibly by a close approach to 2300?  Such an interesting galaxy and image.  

Mario Motta from Massachusetts  

Supplemental Post: 

I  did a search and was right, concerning NGC 2276!  It is a starburst galaxy, see below:  A short abstract from Chandra observations.  Mario  

Abstract: 

The starbusting, nearby (D = 32.9 Mpc) spiral (Sc) galaxy NGC 2276 belongs to the sparse group dominated by the elliptical galaxy NGC 2300. NGC 2276 is a remarkable galaxy, as it displays a disturbed morphology at many wavelengths. This is possibly due to gravitational interaction with the central elliptical galaxy of the group. Previous ROSAT and XMM–Newton observations resulted in the detection of extended hot gas emission and of a single very bright (∼1041 erg s−1) ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX) candidate. Here, we report on a study of the X-ray sources of NGC 2276 based on Chandra data taken in 2004. Chandra was able to resolve 16 sources, 8 of which are ULXs, and to reveal that the previous ULX candidate is actually composed of a few distinct objects. We construct the luminosity function of NGC 2276, which can be interpreted as dominated by high-mass X-ray binaries, and estimate the star formation rate (SFR) to be ∼5–15 M yr−1, consistent with the values derived from optical and infrared observations. By means of numerical simulations, we show that both ram pressure and viscous transfer effects are necessary to produce the distorted morphology and the high SFR observed in NGC 2276, while tidal interaction have a marginal effect.

Fabulous Death Valley Photo Capturing a Dust Devil by Kerri Adams of North Carolina – February 2019

Posted February 25, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

My cousin, Kerri Adams visited Death Valley California, and Red Rock Canyon, Nevada just last week, February 2019.  I picked one of her many photos to share.   

The following is my favorite, as it represents a rare moment in time for this camera shot to come together.  
 
Now we all know what a dust devil but….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_devil
 

Roger Ivester    

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Famous Astronomer Quotes: By Guest Host James Mullaney; Astronomy Writer, Author, and Lecturer

Posted February 18, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

“The study of the heavens from a purely aesthetic point of view is scorned in this technological age.”- James Muriden

“The serene art of visual observing.” – Lee Cain

“I would rather freeze and fight off mosquitoes than play astronomy on a computer.” – Ben Funk

“The high-tech devices pervading the market are ruining the spirit of the real meaning of recreational astronomy.” – Jorge Cerritos

“Whatever happened to what amateur astronomers really care about – simply enjoying the beauty of the night sky?” – Mark Hladik

“To me, astronomy means learning about the universe by looking at it.” – Daniel Weedman

“Nobody sits out in the cold dome any more – we’re getting further and further away from the sky all the time.  You just sit in the control room and watch monitors.” Charles Kowal (Palomar Obs.)

“All galaxies deserve to be stared at for a full 15 minutes.” – Michael Covington

“Every tint that blooms in the flowers of Summer flames out in the stars at night.” J.D. Steele (ref. especially to double stars)

“But let’s forget the astrophysics and simply enjoy the spectacle. ” Scotty Houston

“I became an astronomer not to access the facts about the sky but to see and feel its majesty.” – David Levy

“The feeling of being alone in the universe on a starlit night, cruising on wings of polished glass, flitting in seconds from a point millions of miles away to one billions of lightyears distant is euphoric.” Tom Lorenzin

“…the fun of sight-seeing, the sheer joy of firsthand acquaintance with incredibly wonderful and beautiful things.” – Robert Burnham

“One gentle dose of starlight to be taken each night just before retiring.” – Leslie Peltier

“To me, telescope viewing is primarily an aesthetic experience.” Terry Dickinson

“Spend your nights getting intoxicated with photons!” – Telescope Advertisement

“Time spent with 2-billion-year-old photons is potent stuff.” – Peter Lord

“I am because I observe. ” Thaddeus Banachiewicz

“The views are so incredibly fantastic!” – Jack Newton

“When you’re in the observer’s cage of the 200-inch…it’s romantic, beautiful, marvelous.” – Jesse Greenstein (Palomar Observatory)

“Observing all seems so natural, so real, so obvious.  How could it possibly be any other way?” Jerry Spevak

“A night under the stars rewards the bug bites, the cloudy skies, the next-day fuzzies, and the thousands of frustrations with priceless moments of sublime beauty.” – Richard Berry

“And there’s always that special pleasure  in knowing that, when you look upon that distant light,
it has traveled all those lightyears – such an incredible journey – just for you.” – Ken Fulton

“Gazing into the beginning of everything, we are young once again. ” Ron Evans

“But it is to be hoped that [someone] will carry out the author’s idea and study the whole visible heavens from what might be termed a picturesque point of view.” – T.W. Webb

“This book is an effort to rescue the ancient love of simple stargazing from the avalanche of mathematics and physics under which modern astronomy threatens to bury it.” – Henry Neely

“But are silent worship and contemplation the very essence of stargazing?” – David Levy

“To gaze into space is to embark upon a spiritual quest, an experience of awe and wonder.” – Roger Ressmeyer

“How can a person ever forget the scene, the glory of a thousand stars in a thousand hues….” – Scotty Houston

“Delightful planetary nebulae – ephemeral spheres that shine in pale hues of blue and green and float amid the golden and pearly star currents of our Galaxy on the foam of the Milky Way like the balloons of our childhood dreams.  If you want to stop the world and get off, the lovely planetaries sail by to welcome you.” – Scotty Houston

“The celestial actors are in place, a serene majesty washes over the stage, and I can almost hear the music of galactic trumpets in their opening bar.” – Scotty Houston (anticipating his death that happened shortly after he wrote this??)

The following is by a contemporary amateur, who has always claimed to be nothing more than a humble backyard observer, and a good friend of mine for many years.  The co-founder of the Observer’s Challenge report, which has gained a following all across the country and beyond.  The Challenge will celebrate its 120th consecutive monthly report, February 2019.  An amazing contribution to amateur astronomy community for sure!  

“Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomers Together” – Roger Ivester  (Observer’s Challenge) https://rogerivester.com/category/observers-challenge-reports-complete-all-reports-from-2009/

Memories of “The World’s Greatest Non-Professional Astronomer” By Guest Host, James Mullaney

Posted January 22, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

Memories of “The worlds greatest non-professional astronomer”  

That’s how Harvard Observatory director Harlow Shapley in 1934 described the famed variable star observer and comet discoverer Leslie Peltier.  His wonderful and inspiring classic, Starlight Nights, is without a doubt the greatest and most significant (at least to amateur astronomy) book that I’ve ever read.  I reviewed the original hardcover edition for the February, 1966, issue of Sky & Telescope, and shortly afterward had the privilege of visiting him and his two observatories. 

I held his famed “strawberry spyglass” in my hands while we talked in his living room and then adjourned to the dining room where his wife Dottie had prepared a gastronomic Sunday dinner feast.  Afterward we went to his observatories, where he offered to let me sit in the chair of his famed rotating observatory.

His book takes you back to a simpler and saner time in life, now sadly long gone.  I re-read it several times a year to help keep my sanity amid the chaos of this troubled world.  There are many profound quotes throughout the book, but this one seems especially appropriate to what we are doing to our beautiful Mother Earth today:  “So much that man touches he destroys.”

Having personally known him, I’m quite sure that Leslie would so approve of the amazing contribution to the subject and amateur astronomy in general, as the “Observer’s Challenge” series.  Want to know more about the Observer’s Challenge?   Click on the following link….

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

Jim Mullaney

PS: Leslie was also the inspiration for my own life’s work culminating in my book Celebrating the Universe!   (HayHouse.com)

 

Debbie Ivester: My First Photo of The Moon Using an iPhone. I’m Now Ready To Go To Another Level and Attempt to Use My DSLR Camera With An Orion 80 mm (Model CT80) f/5 Refractor. Lots to Learn. I’ll Post My Results When Available.

Posted January 22, 2019 by rogerivester
Categories: Uncategorized

I was using an iPhone 10 and a 6-inch f/6 imaging Newtonian reflector telescope, with a 24 mm 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.  

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.  

Many thanks to Roger for helping me accomplish this goal on a very cold night…I just wish we’d been able to have done this Sunday night.  We just didn’t know!  

Also, thank you to Richard Nugent of Boston for the post of the Lunar Eclipse that spawned my appetite to be interested 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.    

Debbie Ivester 

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Roger helped me set the telescope up and get ready earlier in the evening.  With our Dachshund, Nova Sophia “Sophie” who wants to do everything with us.  Debbie Ivester

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Just received my T-ring and adapter, and have attached my DSLR to an 80 mm f/5 Orion (Model CT80) refractor.  I’m now ready to go to the next step, and will post my results when available.   Debbie 

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