Astronomical Sketches: Old And New

I’ve been going through some of my old observing notes lately and pulled out my very first astronomical sketch book.  I took a few minutes and looked through every page.  If you’ve seen my recent sketches, they are perfect representations of what you would see through the eyepiece, except they are negatives.  All of the sketches in my first book were all made with #2 pencil.

My first sketches were made on lined paper and the sketching circle representing the field of view in a telescope eyepiece was just merely hand drawn.  These first sketches were crude, and they were not descriptive or an accurate sketch either.  I the went to taping circular pieces of sketching paper which proved much better.

I was still not very satisfied with my results, and wanted more oomph from the sketches.  I read Steve Coe’s Deep Sky Observing, which is one of the best deep sky/ sketching books I have ever read.  Then came the perfect set up.  I has ample room for notes, including dates; times; and telescopes used plus a 3 inch circle complete with North and East markings.  These could be made on the computer and were used with ease.For an example of what these sketches look like versus the real thing: I have a picture of the real object and one of the sketch I made.











This object is a planetary nebula- the Dumbbell Nebula (M27).  See the Dumbbell? The sketch was made using my small 70mm Refractor, and the view would have been much more impressive from a darker sky.  For those who live in light polluted skies, you feel my pain and know what I am talking about.  There is one other type of deep sky object I like to sketch: globular clusters.  At first I thought this was not possible but once again, referring back to Deep Sky Observing, it shows how to sketch these stellar nodules of stars in space.

The view through a small telescope is dramatically less impressive than looking at a high quality photograph.  A strip of 35mm film can capture much more light than your eye.











You can really see the difference in globular clusters obviously.  By the way, Hi Digi Com and Media!


Observing Multiple Sky “Medias”

As many people who own telescopes, one usually has a regular that they use more often than not.  Mine has obviously been the 70mm f/10, which I have talked about on many occasions.  In the night and daytime sky, I have best found a way to classify each type of object groups as medias.

A media is a group of one kind of objects, like the deep sky for example.  This group could the be broken down in to smaller subgroups such as star clusters, nebulae, etc.  Solar system media includes solar observing, planetary observing and lunar observing.  This could also be yet divided again into more subgroups such as certain types of craters on the moon, the list goes on and  on.

I was observing 2 medias last night, the deep sky group and the lunar group.  For the majority of the night, it was the deep sky which was observed as the moon is in its waning phases currently.  First on my list was M22, a prominent bright globular cluster in the constellation of Sagittarius.  It is very bright with a distinctive oval shape.  Even with the blinding lights from the LA county fair glowing bright, many stars were on the edge of resolution and some were individually picked out.

After M22 came M11, the famous compact open cluster known as the Wild Duck Cluster.  Many objects were viewed last night and the list is too numerous to mention.  Just when I decided to bring it in, I noticed most of Cassiopeia peaking over the roof of the house and swung my scope over for a look.   The Double Cluster was still too low, and the light from the moon was coming in the east.  I decided to choose NGC 457, an open cluster that many people see an owl or “E.T.” from t.he hit movie.  I never saw the owl shape but the E.T. shape came right out instantly.

Just before I went in, the moon also came up high enough and just for the blog I took a picture:

Clear Skies.