Apollo 15 Landing Site

Apollo 15 Landing Site
Apollo 15 Landing Site

Apollo 15 Landing Site
Last evening proved to be a fine night for observing the Moon and the planets. The atmosphere at sunset settled down to a Pickering 8/10 and 9/10 for brief intervals. This was predicted so I had two telescopes outside (my 18 inch f/4.9 and 13.1 inch f/6 both Dobsonians). At 373x using the 18 inch scope I could clearly see the floor of Palus Putredinis (The Marsh of Decay) and not far away Rima Hadley at the foot of Montes Apenninus. I spent a 3 hour interval on this sketch but actual sketching time was more like 2 hours. The sketch was done using the smaller scope because it is driven. 4 mm and 6 mm eyepieces gave me magnifications of 499x and 333x and occasionally I used the 18 inch scope to verify some of the meanders of Hadley rille and other small features. I have marked the landing site (red dot) of Apollo 15 Lunar Landing Module which occurred the summer of 1971, a very exciting time for the US space program.
Craters visible in this sketch include Hadley C 6 km. in diameter and Aratus (10 km.).

For this sketch I used: Gray sketching paper, 9”x 11”, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and blending stumps.
Telescopes: 13.1 inch f/ 6 Dobsonian and 18 inch F/4.9, eyepieces : 4mm, 6mm

Date: April 29, 2015 01:00-04:00 UT
Temperature: 4.4°C (40°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Pickering 8.5
Transparency: 4/5
Co longitude: 29.9°
Lunation: 10 days
Illumination: 75.9 %
Frank McCabe

Apollo 15 Landing Site - Labeled
Apollo 15 Landing Site – Labeled

Comet Lovejoy from Chinese Skies

C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) - 20/30 December 2014
C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) – 20/30 December 2014

Object name: C/2014 Q2 Comet Lovejoy
Object type: Comet
Location: Lijiang, China
Date: 20th and 30th of December , 2014
Media: Graphite pencil and yellow notebook paper. Scanned, inverted and processed in photoshop CS6
Equipment: 15×70 Binoculars

Seeing Conditions:

20th Dec: Clear, seeing 2/3, T 0° C, moonless, some direct light over the observation site, Bortle 5
30th Dec: Clear, seeing 1/3, crescent moon, artificial sources of light close to the observation site, Bortle 5.

Hello dear ASOD friends,

Since I saw this wonderful comet on last december, I haven’t had the opportunity to process the raw sketches on photoshop.
I was initially planning to do one sketch, but since on 30th December there was a “conjunction” with M79, I decided to compare how bright they seemed compared each other. There was an enormous difference in apparent magnitude between the two objects as you can see in the sketch. I have the “feeling” of having seen the comet tail but being honest I could not adapt well my night vision since there was a lot of artificial lights around and therefore It could be just a “feeling” than a real view.

Once again let me invite you to check other of my sketches in my blog: pollutedskiesstargazing.blogspot.com.



Rocket and Moon for Dad

Cohete y Luna para Papa
Cohete y Luna para Papa

Estimado equipo de ASOD,

Para mi cumpleaños mi hija Sofía, de 9 años, realizó esta hermosa composición desplegable en “3D”. Un cohete con una carita feliz rumbo a la luna con un fondo de estrellas y cúmulos.

Sofía me acompaña en mi pasión por la Astronomía desde hace algunos años. Utilizamos un telescopio refractor 90/900 y unos binoculares 10×50, Ella es muy entusiasta y decidida a la hora de manipular la montura ecuatorial, especialista en encontrar satélites artificiales.

Conocedora de mi pasión por la llegada del hombre a la Luna, como todos aquellos que eramos niños en aquellos años, se decidió a realizar este regalo sorpresa.

Muchas gracias Sofi!

Mario Castillo (padre orgulloso)

In english (poor):

For my birthday my daughter Sofía, 9, did is beautiful composition “3D”. A rocket with a happy face towards the moon with a background of stars and clusters.

Sofia accompanies me in my passion for astronomy for several years. We use a 90/900 refractor telescope and binoculars 10×50, She is very enthusiastic and determined when handling the equatorial mount, specializes in finding satellites.

Aware of my passion for the man on the moon, and all those who were children in those years, she decided to make this surprise gift.

Sofi, thank you very much!

Mario Castillo (Proud Parent)

Thanks in advance!

Mario A. Castillo

Crab Nebula Binocular View

Messier 1
Messier 1

Object name: M1, Crab Nebula
Object type: Supernova remnant
Location: Lijiang, China
Date: November 27, 2014 05+30 hours
Media: Graphite pencil and yellow notebook paper. Scanned, inverted and processed in photoshop
Equipment: 15×70 Binoculars

Conditions: Clear sky with no moon, seeing 2/3, Bortle 5, Constellation above 60 degrees over the horizon.

Hello dear ASOD friends,

Since last time from Bogota Colombia, me and my family decided to move to Lijiang China. This is a very clean air “little” city (800000 hab aprox) and thanks to that and its altitude (2400 meters above sea level), I have had wonderful clear and dark nights to enjoy. Although it is only me and my binos since I sold my scope in Colombia, these skies have given me the most pleasant views of dim sky objects and now I am having the opportunity to add more and more dim DSOs to me sketching list. Let me invite you all to take a look in my blog for more sketches: pollutedskiesstargazing.blogspot.com

Clear skies and warm beds 🙂


Solar Filament – 8 February 2015

H-alpha Full Solar Disk - 8 February 2015
H-alpha Full Solar Disk – 8 February 2015


The Suns surface has been very interesting to follow the past few days. A fascinating solar filament stretching across the surface is one of the longest recorded, over 700,000 km long. Solar filaments are made up of unstable plasma held above the solar surface by the Sun’s magnetic field.

I was able to observe it for 2 days in a row and marvelled over its sheer size, looking like a tear in the Suns surface. On this day there was also an interesting filament like region near the west limb that was wide and appeared dimensional in light and dark values. The “wishbone” prominence to the north appeared to be from beyond where the limb was visible, the top portion reaching toward the observer.

H-alpha Full Solar Disk
60mm Lunt 14mm 35x
February 8, 2015 1920-1940 UT
Seeing Wilson 4/5
Transparency 2-3/4

Cream colored sketch paper, grey & white Conte’ Crayon, 2B & 6B pencils and #2 pencil. Contrast adjusted in Photoscape.

Maui, Hawaii 4,000 el
Cindy (Thia) Krach

Venus and Mercury After Sunset

Conjunction of Venus and Mercury - 6 January 2015
Conjunction of Venus and Mercury – 6 January 2015

Venus and Mercury were putting on a great show over several days at my location.
You didn’t need optical aid to enjoy the view of the sky to the southwest. Distant tropospheric clouds are likely responsible for the separate pink/violet pillars clearly visible after sunset for a brief time.
Venus was visible before sunset but Mercury required a darker sky to shine through for naked eye visibility.


Location: Mesa, Arizona
Date and Time: January 6, 2015, 18:15 pm local time
Temperature: 19° C (67° F)
Venus visual magnitude -3.9; distance from Earth 1.6 au
Mercury visual magnitude -0.8; distance from Earth 1.2 au

Assorted color pencils and pastel crayons, blue construction paper cut to size to fit my clipboard,
blending stumps and facial tissue paper for blending, white Pearl eraser.

Frank McCabe

Young Winter December Moon

"The Young Winter December Moon" - December 23, 2014
“The Young Winter December Moon” – December 23, 2014

Young Winter December Moon

During the early part of the current lunation I was observing and sketching in Mesa, Arizona and caught the thin crescent Moon in the southwestern sky just after sunset. Venus was also visible much closer to the horizon but not close enough to the Moon to be included. Earthshine improved and brightened as the hour passed.

For this sketch I used dark blue sketching paper (8.5” x 11”), white, yellow and brown pastel pencils, blending stumps, white Pearl eraser.

Telescope 6”f/7.2 Dobsonian telescope, 28mm eyepiece 39x
Date and Time: 12-23-2014; 18:15 – 19:10 local time
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Transparency: clear 4/5
Temperature: 18 °C (65°F)
Colongitude: 295.3°
Lunation: 1.74 days
Illumination: 4.1%

Frank McCabe

NGC 2244

NGC 2244
NGC 2244

The real difficulty with this sketch was not to see the object in the eyepiece, but mostly the cold temperature (below -20C with humidity and wind). Unfortunately I couldn’t see the nebula, probably mostly due to its large apparent dimension

Object Name: NGC 2244
Object Type: Open Cluster
Location: St-Elzéar, Québec
Date: December 30th, 2011
Media: white chalk on dark blue paper, scanned black and white
Instrument: Meade 16″ + 50mm Eyepiece
Weather: uncovered and cold !

Louise Racine

Comet PanSTARRS: Panoramica e Particolare

C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS)
C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS)

Hello Artists,after a long time with rain(GRRRRR!!), I made two sketches about Comet PanStarrs!! I go out from work and I go to hill near Little town of Saltara. Very cold temperature and light icely wind. The clouds covered the zone but ,finally they go out from the horizon. I see the comet under the rest of gray clouds and, on blue paper i made the first sketch with bino 10×50. In the same time I take my big bino 25×100 on tripod and made the second sketch, with pencil on black
paper. Unfortunately the comet was very low and the sketch was very difficult to made.
I hope like you.
Ciao a tutti!!

Site: Saltara,19 March 2013

Instruments: bino 10×50 and big bino 25×100
Media: Coloured pencil on blue paper, with pencil on black paper
seeing: Very clear after rain but icely temperature!

C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) with Horizon
C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) with Horizon