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!


Some Great Books…

I have noticed on the right sidebar of this blog that there was a significant jump in the views yesterday.  From the first  10 minutes of my previous post there was at least 10 views.  It brought the total to 79.  Now as I am making this post, it is  up to 85!  I really thank all of you that visit my blog.  I would like to hear what you think of it.  Please send me a comment at the top of this post by the title.  When you comment, you will have to enter your email ( it won’t let me change that).  When you do comment, it will be sent to me via email and I will put it on the blog with a reply from me.

Anyway, today I’m talking all about books.  If you want to become really successful astronomer, you’ll find you accumulate many books.  Books about astronomy come in many forms.  They vary from subjects suitable for beginners or equations regarding quantum physics.  It just depends on what you need or want.  For example, in the deep sky observing catagory, I recieved the book,  Deep Sky Observing, by Steven R. Coe.  He is a very accomplished astronomer and makes gorgeous astronomical sketches.  Basically, his entire life’s work is in that book.  He uses an array  of different instruments as well!  Telescope sizes range from 6inches to 36inches!  I is all explained well in Coe’s notes.  Highly recommended.













One of the best deep sky observing books I have heard about but don’t have is Burnham’s Celestial Handbook  by Robert Burnham Jr.  It is kind of an old book, but covers the entire sky and shows what to look at.  His 3 volume set is one massive work.  Steve Coe, recently observed every object in Burnham’s book.

There is one more book I would like to share on today’s post and that book is called Universe: the Definitive Visual Guide edited by Martin Rees.  The book shares many authors, too numerous to mention.  There are 2 versions available, A large hardback edition or a smaller paperback edition.  This book covers everything having to do with astronomy.  Each page has beautiful high contrast color photos on it.  The last 20 pages or so has some exceptional star charts that I have used many times before.  If you want a big book covering countless topics, you need this book.

All of these books are available through and can be purchased reasonably cheap.


All of these books are  really great for astronomy and you will be impressed with all of them.  Also, tonight there is an astronomy meeting tonight for my astronomy club, here’s the link again:  I will bring my observing notes and sketches as I haven’t had time to post them on the blog yet.  Hopefully sometime soon in the future would be nice.