Whispering Pine Observatories

is located at Harrison, Arkansas, working in conjunction with Dr. Jeff Robertson, Dean, College Health, Science, and Technology at the University of Central Missouri, we provide data on cataclysmic variable stars for universities and CBA (Center for Backyard Astrophysics). Our work has been published in astronomical journals. But, true to our hearts as amateur astronomers, my wife and I especially enjoy showing guests the marvelous wonders of the night sky.

Latest Photos



The Pinwheel Galaxy is a face-on spiral galaxy 21 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major. It has a diameter of approx. 170,000 light years and is believed to contain approximately 1 trillion stars.

Siamese Twins (NGC 4567 and 4568)

Siamese Twins (NGC 4567 and 4568)

The Siamese Twins, also known as NGC 4567 and 4568, are a pair of colliding spiral galaxies located in the Virgo constellation. At a distance of 60 million light years from us they appear to be in the process of slowly merging. The intense radiation produced during this merger process may possibly sterilize any life that may be harboring there.

Photos July 2020

Observing Deck

Observing deck for visitors to enjoy the wonders of the night sky with 12", 14" and 16" scopes.

Observing Deck

Observing deck features the Vern Campbell 16" F/4.2 Newtonian reflector, originally built in 1977 with rotating tube saddle on a fork mount. Still a fine visual observing instrument after all these years.

Tut Campbell and Cody Hudson observing meteors next to a 14-inch Meade LX-200.

Photos July 2019

Photos by Cody Hudson.
Milky Way in Sagittarius

Milky Way in Sagittarius

Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula
NGC 2244

Trifid and Lagoon Nebulas

Trifid (M20) and Lagoon Nebulas (M8)


Horse Head Nebula in Orion.

M42 Orion Nebula

M42, the Great Orion Nebula


We currently have expanded our hobby to include six observatories in the backyard that house a variety of scopes, each for its individualized special research. Several use CCD cameras for time-resolved variable star photometry, one for supernova patrol, one for H-alpha solar observing, and two for visual deepsky, lunar and planetary observing. Three observatories are shown below:

20" Observatory

20-inch Planewave CDK Optical Tube Assembly on a Paramount MX Equatorial Mount with an SBIG Model STL-6303 ccd camera. George Roberts, Proprietor.

16" Observatory

Our 10' x 12' roll-off roof observatory houses a 16" F/4.2 Newtonian Reflector Telescope.

36" Observatory

36-inch F/5 reflector, designed and built on a driven Alti-Az mount for us, by the late Andy Saulietis, Mayhill, N.M. We use this primarily for visual observing of deep-sky objects. The observatory building is a 10' x 18' carport kit, that's been converted to roll away on rails.


5", 10", 12", 14" 16", 20", and 36" telescopes. For varied projects, we have seven different scopes in our observatories along with a multi-deck observing platform to accommodate visitors.

12" & 14" LX-200's

Jeannie next to a 14" LX-200 on the observing deck, and a 12" LX-200 is in the Skypod behind.

Bird's Eye View

Roof-top view of Whispering Pine Observatories, June of 2012, with observatory domes in the foreground and the older roll-off roof observatories in the distance, still in use.

CCD & Photometry

ST-9 CCD and flip mirror system attached to our 12" LX-200 in the Skypod. These scopes are used primarily for ccd photometry of variable stars.


M-51, first light, raw image (no processing) 4-minute unguided exposure, made at WPO with George Roberts' 20-inch Planewave telescope on Paramount ME II, using SBIG STL-6303 CCD camera through a Sloan g-filter.


These are deep-sky images taken in the late 1990's using our then newly acquired SBIG ST-6 CCD camera, through our 16" telescope.

NGC 253 in Sculptor

NGC 253 in Sculptor is one of the largest nearby galaxies R.A. 00h 47m dec. 25° 17m mag. 7.1. This is a 30 second ST-6 CCD exposure of NGC 253

"Stephen's Quintet"

NGC 7317-20 "Stephan's Quintet" Interacting galaxies in pegasus R.A. 22h 36m dec. +33° 58m mag. 13. 1-13.6. This is a 4 minute ST-6 CCD exposure of Stephan's Quintet

NGC 7331

NGC 7331 is a spiral galaxy in Pegasus R.A. 22h 37m dec. 34° 24m mag 9.5. This is a 6 minute ST-6 CCD image of NGC 7331


Old School Refractors

In the 1980's I collected antique Clark Refractors. Here are two six inchers, and a five inch, dating from 1887, 1888, and 1889. Their image sharpness was sometimes used to visually estimate variable star brightness.

Walter Scott Houston

Mr. Houston proudly showed me his 4" clark refractor that he used to make the many wonderful observations for years described in his monthly column "Deep-Sky Wonders" for Sky and Telescope Magazine. He also was an avid variable star observer for the The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO).

Cataclysmic Binary Star System

This is an artist's concept of a cataclysmic binary star system. The normal low mass star at upper left is in orbit about a more massive, but much smaller, white dwarf star, which is situated at the...


Program Abstract

A Meade 16-inch telescope equipped with an SBIG ST-9 CCD camera is being used to systematically monitor some 200+ spiral galaxies that lie less than 300 million light years from our Milky Way, in hopes of capturing the rise in light from a supernova outburst. Supernovae (of type-Ia) are important astrophysical objects because of their use as absolute distance indicators. The use of the CCD camera is equally as important so as to increase the number of faint targets that are usually left untouched by visual observers.

How Supernovas Form

Although many stars like our sun can remain stable for billions of years, more massive stars can race through their entire life cycles in a relatively short 10 million years or so, ending in a cataclysmic explosion called a supernova that literally tears the aging star apart. A supernova remnant is the expanding gaseous nebula created by these titanic explosions. Supernova remnants are of interest to many areas of astrophysics.