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!