Crater Davy and its Crater Chain in Davy Y

Crater Davy
Crater Davy

Crater Davy (35 km.) and the Davy crater chain (catena) were my targets for this evening of sketching and although the seeing and transparency were predicted to be above average that was not the case.
The Davy crater chain is 45-50 km. in extent. It arcs across the floor and eastern rim of crater Davy Y (70 km.). Since it does not line up with any impacts of note it is not likely a sequence of secondary craters. There is also no evidence of volcanic activity associated with this chain. Robert Wichman and Charles A. Wood as well as H. J. Melosh and E. A. Whitaker believe that a comet (or asteroid) may be responsible as it broke up while inside the Earth’s roche limit. As it went in on the moon like a train of meteors it would have created a chain of impacts. A paper published in 1994 by Melosh and Whitaker explains the hypothesis.

Crater Chains on the Moon: Records of Comets Split by the Earth’s Tides?; H. J. Melosh and E. A. Whitaker, Lunar and Planetary Lab, University of Arizona, Tucson, Az.

Sketching:

Black Artagain paper, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils, white Pearl eraser, blending stumps

Telescope 13.1” f/6 Dobsonian telescope on an equatorial drive platform at 332x with 6mm eyepiece

Date: 03-29-2015, 00:00 – 03:00 UT


Temperature: -5°C (24° F) clear, calm

Seeing: Variable, Antoniadi III(fair)-IV (poor)

Colongitude: 11.6 °

Lunation: 8.4 days

Illumination: 64.7 %



Frank McCabe

Crater Davy - Labeled
Crater Davy – Labeled

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.).

Sketching:
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

Craters Diophantus and Delisle

Craters Diophantus and Delisle
Craters Diophantus and Delisle
Craters Diophantus and Delisle - Labeled
Craters Diophantus and Delisle – Labeled

On the western side of Mare Imbrium are craters Diophantus (19 km.) and Delisle (25 km.) with mons Delisle in between and closer to the crater of the same name. A dorsum or ridge here is perhaps a buried crater rim and creates a sharp edge curving demarcation on the terminator side of the Moon at the time of sketching. Some of the massifs in this region such as mons La Hire (1.5 km. high), mons Vinogradov (1.4 km.) and mons Delisle( 0.8km. high) are described by some geologists as likely left over remnants from the rings of the Imbrium impact. Additional craters seen at this observation included Euler (2.8 km.), Artsimovich (9 km.), Gruithuisen (17 km.) and Heis (15 km.)and numerous smaller unnamed.

Sketching:

For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 9”x 12”, white and black Conte’pastel pencils, a soft charcoal pencil, brush and a blending stump.

Telescope: 13.1 inch f/6 Dobsonian and 9mm eyepiece 221x
Date: 01-31-2015, 03:10 – 04:25 UT
Temperature: -7°C (20°F)
clear, breezy
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 38.7°
Lunation: 10.33 days
Illumination: 84.9 %
Phase: 45.8°

Frank McCabe


Comet and Globular

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) and the globular star cluster M79 in the constellation Lepus
Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) and the globular star cluster M79 in the constellation Lepus

M79 and Comet Lovejoy in Lepus

I have been monitoring comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) for the past several nights and on this occasion they both shared the same field of view at130 power. I was using my daughter’s 10 inch Orion Dobsonian telescope and was able to capture this sketch under clear skies and good seeing conditions. The observation site was in eastern Mesa, Arizona with a good view to the south. The comet can be seen much brighter and larger in angular size than than 8.5 magnitude globular cluster M 79. This was a pleasing view at the eyepiece with the comet showing a hint of green color. I switched to 48 power and a wider field of view for the sketch.

Sketching:

White and Black Conte’ pastel pencils on black sketching paper
blending stump and Pink Pearl eraser also used
R.A. 05hr 24′ ; Dec. -24 degrees 33min.
Comet distance less than 100million km.
M79 distance 42,100 light years 150 million stars

Frank 🙂


Crater Posidonius at Sunset

Lunar crater Posidonius and environs at sunset - August 7, 2012
Lunar crater Posidonius and environs at sunset – August 7, 2012

Crater Posidonius at Sunset

On this night I watched the sunset terminator creep slowly toward ring-plain crater
Posidonius; in addition I sketched the crater and other features on the floor of Mare Serenitatis. Posidonius (96 km.) is an old upper Imbrian era impact remnant. Its age is underlined by the way shadows penetrate the rim at numerous points betraying impact damage there. The highest part of the rim is on the terminator side of this crater. Sunlight was still reaching Posidonius A and other high points on ridges including one on the inner ring. Beyond this crater to the west and south the great serpentine ridge could be seen in best light. This ridge is made up of dorsa Smirnov and dorsa Lister.

Sketching:

For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 9″x 12″, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and a blending stump. After scanning, Brightness was decreased just slightly using my scanner.

Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece 241x

Date: 08-07-2012, 06:30 – 07:40 UT

Temperature: 29°C (85° F)
clear, calm

Seeing: Antoniadi III

Colongitude 147.9 °

Lunation 19 days

Illumination: 73.4 %



Frank McCabe


Lunar Crater Copernicus

Lunar crater Copernicus - November 3, 2014
Lunar crater Copernicus – November 3, 2014

Lunar Crater Copernicus

Across the Carpathian Mountains resting on the eastern Ocean of Storms is the
landmark crater of the Sea of Islands, mighty Copernicus. Copernicus is a 95
kilometer diameter complex crater that begins to show itself in all its majesty
two days past first quarter. During the time of “Snow-Ball Earth” 800 million
years ago the event that created Copernicus suddenly occurred. What remains is a
3.8 kilometer deep hummock covered flat floored, centrally peaked, terrace walled
spectacular sentinel. Especially during high sun the bright ray system of this
crater can be seen extending from the base of the glassy glacis in all directions.
The descent from the rampart to the mare floor below is about one kilometer. Three
of five peaks were clearly visible in morning sunlight. In 1999 the Clementine
near infrared camera detected magnesium iron silicates in the peaks indicating
rebound of this deep rock through the surface crust following the impact event.
To view this impressive crater all you need is a good pair of binoculars and an
opportunity between two days past first quarter and one day past last quarter.
Weather permitting, you can see it tonight.

Sketching:

For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 9”x 12”, white and
black Conte’pastel pencils and a blending stump.

Telescope: 13.1 inch f/5.9 Dobsonian and 9mm eyepiece 218x
Date: 11-03-2014, 00:45 – 02:10 UT
Temperature: 0°C (32°F)
clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 23.2°
Lunation: 8.9 days
Illumination: 69.3 %
Phase: 67.4°

Frank McCabe


Early Morning Pitatus and Neighbors

Lunar crater Pitatus and environs - September 17, 2014
Lunar crater Pitatus and environs – September 17, 2014
Lunar crater Pitatus and environs (labeled) - September 17, 2014
Lunar crater Pitatus and environs (labeled) – September 17, 2014

Pitatus is an old, large 97 km. diameter crater on the edge of Mare Nubium. The floor of this crater has a linear central peak which was casting a fine elongated triangular shadow at the time of this observation and sketch. To the south craters Wurzelbauer (88 km.) and Gauricus (79 km.) could be seen; both of these craters show badly warn rims; both much older than Pitatus. Attached to the northwest rim of Pitatus is the crater Hesodius (43 km.). At about the eighth or ninth day of lunation you can observe the famous “sunrise ray” beaming across the floor of Hesodius through a break in the wall with Pitatus. This is certainly a sight worth observing.

Sketching:

For this sketch I used: Black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 12”x 9”, both white and
black Conte’pastel pencils and blending stumps.

Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 Dobsonian and 9mm eyepiece 161x
Date: 09-17-2014 10:00-11:25 UT
Temperature: 5°C (42°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 187.3°
Lunation: 22.6 days
Illumination: 39.0 %

Frank McCabe


Another Look Near to the Altai Scarp at Higher Sun

The lunar craters Riccius, Rabbi Levi, Zagut and Lindenau near the Altai Scarp - July 4, 2014
The lunar craters Riccius, Rabbi Levi, Zagut and Lindenau near the Altai Scarp – July 4, 2014
Riccius, Rabbi Levi, Zagut and Lindenau - Labeled
Riccius, Rabbi Levi, Zagut and Lindenau – Labeled

Two hundred or so kilometers to the southwest of the Altai Scarp you will find a mix of large and small highland craters that may catch your eye as they did mine. Many have written of the “boring” look-a-like craters of this region but good lighting can make a big difference in appeal here. Ancient Riccius crater (71 km.) is a worn, an almost obliterated remnant, covered and surrounded by crater from 10-15 km. of various ages. Adjacent to Riccius is crater Rabbi Levi (81 km.) with an interesting short chain of craters across its floor. The next crater Zagut (84 km.) is the largest of those in the sketch with Zagut A (11 km.) near the center of the floor and Zagut E (35 km.) pushed through the eastern wall of Zagut. Next to Zagut is crater Lindenau (53 km.) which is younger than the other large crater here as evidenced by the sharper rim and what looks like a part of a central peak remaining.
A fine summer evening of observing and sketching after a long spell of poor weather.
Sketching and Equipment:

For this sketch, I used black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 8” x 12”, white and
black Conte’ pastel pencils and blending stumps.
Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece (241x) riding on an equatorial platform
Date: 07-04-2014, 01:15-02:50 UT
Temperature: 16° C (60° F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Average – Antoniadi III
Transparency: 4.5/5
Colongitude: 349.0 °
Lunation: 6.7 days
Illumination: 36 %

Frank McCabe


Lunar North Polar Region

Lunar North Pole Region-04-09-2014
Lunar North Pole Region-04-09-2014
Lunar North Pole Region-04-09-2014
Lunar North Pole Region-04-09-2014

Lunar North Polar Region

For several nights this week the lunar North Pole has been tilted more towards earth due to favorable lunar libration in latitude. It has been a good opportunity to view craters such as Whipple, Peary, Byrd and others. I had a clear night with average seeing so I took advantage of the opportunity to sketch the illuminated region near the pole. At my location the Moon was at more than 60 degrees above the horizon which also helped with the time needed to complete a sketch.

Sketching and Equipment:

For this sketch, I used black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 9” x 12”, white and

black Conte’ pastel pencils and blending stumps.

Telescope: 13.1 inch f/6 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece (333x) riding on an equatorial platform

Date: 04-09-2014, 01:00-02:35 UT

Temperature: 3° C (38° F)

Clear, calm

Seeing: Average – Antoniadi III

Transparency 4/5

Colongitude 16.2 °

Lunation 9 days

Illumination 63.9 %

Frank McCabe


14.16-day-old Moon

Gibbous Moon - February 14, 2014
Gibbous Moon – February 14, 2014

I’ve been doing a study on lunar phases and this is my latest sketch. This is a photo of it from last night after wrapping up my observing session. No adjustments have been made to the sketch other than cropping the lower blank portion of the paper.

My phase sketches used to take close to two hours to complete at the eyepiece. I’ve been building up my endurance to 3-4 hours for a single sketch to include more detail. Obviously, the terminator is drawn first to “freeze” the time stamp on the phase. Then I work my way across the disk at a more leisurely pace, moving my observing chair and stool gradually as the session progresses.

I used a 102mm f/9.8 refractor on an LXD75 mount, 20mm eyepiece setting on my Hyperion zoom, and a 13% T Moon filter to help with contrast. The media is black Strathmore Artagain paper (60 lb., 160 g/m2), white charcoal pencil, black charcoal pencil, white Conte’ crayon, white Conte’ pastel pencil, black Conte’ color pencil,and a blending stump for the maria. I used a circular 6-inch protractor to outline the lunar disk.

Total eyepiece/sketch time is just over four hours on this one.

Best regards,
Erika Rix
www.pcwobservatory.com
Texas, USA


Four Day Old Waning Lunar Crescent

Crescent Moon - February 3, 2014
Crescent Moon – February 3, 2014

An unusually clear winter day here in Chicagoland with high clouds racing towards us in front of our next round of snow. As twilight began the Moon remained at a good altitude for sketching as long as I worked quickly. During this sketch earthshine became exceptional but high thin clouds began to erase the fine view and heavy clouds ended the sketch before I finished.
Sketching:
For this sketch I used black sketching paper (12” x 14”), white and black Conte’ pastel pencils, blending stumps, white Pearl eraser.

Telescope 4.25”f/5 Dobsonian riding on an equatorial platform, 21mm wide field eyepiece 26x
Date and Time: 02-03-2014; 17:30 – 18:25 local time
Seeing: mostly Antoniadi III
Transparency: clear to overcast
Temperature: -6.7 °C (20°F)
Colongitude: 315.8°
Lunation: 3.85 days
Illumination: 20%
Favorable longitudinal libration

Frank McCabe


Langrenus and Vendelinus Sunset Approaches

Langrenus and Vendelinus Craters
Langrenus and Vendelinus Craters

This evening presented the rare, clear sky that we always look forward to enjoying. Early on some deep sky treasures presented themselves at the eyepiece but before long the Moon was up and deep sky targets became washed out. Now my attention and telescope turned toward old luna with the Moon just past full by 2.5 days. My eye ran along the terminator and the famous “four in a row” which rest upon the 61° E longitude line. All four were standing at the edge. I skipped over craters Furnerius and Petavius this time and went north to Vendelinus (147 km.) and Langrenus (133 km.) as they were the easier two sketching targets. As I sketched the younger crater Langrenus, all that was visible from the floor were the tips of the two tallest central peaks pushing up to catch the last of the sunlight. North and west of Langrenus on the eastern edge of Mare Fecunditatis, the trio of Atwood (30 km.), Naonobu (35 km.) and Bilharz (43 km.) were easily seen and parts of the ray system extending from Langrenus was detectable even at this time of low illumination. To the south and straddled by Lohse (41 km.) and Holden (48 km.), Vendelinus was showing its best look for an old shattered crater. Parts of the shallow floor were illuminated by grazing light and presenting a fine view.
Sketching:
For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 8”x 10”, white and black Conte’pastel pencils, white pearl eraser and blending stumps.
Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 Dobsonian and 6mm eyepiece 241x
Date: 07-25-2013 04:15-06:00 UT
Temperature: 20°C (68°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 115.0°
Lunation: 16.7 days
Illumination: 93.0 %
Phase: 329.4°
Frank McCabe


H-Alpha Sun – May 3, 2012

H-Alpha Sun - May 3, 2012
H-Alpha Sun – May 3, 2012

2012 05 07, 1315 UT – 1500 UT.
NOAA 11476, 11474, 11475, 11471.

PCW Memorial Observatory, Texas – Erika Rix
www.pcwobservatory.com
Temp: 26.72°C, winds SE 4mph, partly cloudy to scattered.
Seeing: Wilson 4.5, Transparency: 4/6, 50x, Alt: 30.2, Az: 087.2.
Maxscope DS 60mm H-alpha, LXD75, Baader Planetarium Hyperion 8-24mm Mark III.

Sketches created at the eyepiece with black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conte’ crayon and pencil, white Prang color pencil, Derwent charcoal pencil, black oil pencil.

I’ve really been enjoying the current set of active regions the past few days. It would be nice to sketch each individual active region as a close up view, but to do that would take several hours. As it was today, I struggled with a group of thick clouds for the first hour of my session. The sky was crystal clear when I set up and I chose to ignore the weather channel for my area stating that we could have thunderstorms at 8 a.m. Thankfully the storms never came…the clouds did. I was able to catch glimpses of the Sun in between the clouds and by 8:45 a.m., the sky was nearly unobstructed.

The first features added to the sketch after the prominences were plage from 1476 and 1471. Next came the sunspots themselves and filamentary structure. By 9:10 a.m. (1410 UT), very bright plage appeared just north of the sunspots in 1471. I haven’t been able to confirm yet if it was a solar flare, having expected possible flare activity in 1476 instead. But it lasted nearly an hour before it dulled somewhat. Near the end of my session, 1471’s plage brightened quite a bit to the eastern side of the major sunspot in that region as well as about five more degrees further east again.

1474 and 1475 paled in comparison to the two major active regions. There were nice filaments and thin plage that made them easy to find.

The large chain of filament reaching to the southern limb was still there, although thinner. Prominences scattered around the limb were insignificant.


Crater Albategnius

Crater Albategnius
Crater Albategnius

This sketch is centered on the large walled plain crater Albategnius (135 km.). The well illuminated inner and outer rim margins appeared very rugged in contrast to the smooth floor interrupted by the off center mountain casting a large shadow. A sizable portion of the western wall was destroyed by crater Klein (45 km.). Klein also has a central peak which was overtaken by shadow during this observing session. Also visible in the sketch on the eastern side of Albategnius are craters Ritchey (25 km.), Hind (30 km.) and close by Halley (36 km.)

Sketching:

For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 8”x 12”, white and black Conte’pastel pencils, flat white paint, pink pearl eraser and blending stumps.

Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 Dobsonian and 6mm eyepiece 241x
Date: 09-26-2013 00:30 – 02:00 UT
Temperature: 15°C (60°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 165.3°
Lunation: 20.55 days
Illumination: 60.7 %
Phase: 282.3°

Frank McCabe


Craters Stofler and Faraday

Craters Stofler and Faraday


Craters Stofler and Faraday
Move cursor over image to view labels.

There are some very fine craters to be found in the lunar highlands among the look-alike craters there. Two that I have included in this sketch are craters Stofler (125 km.) and Faraday (70 km.). Many of the craters in the region have large smooth regions on their floors. The remains of the eastern wall of Stofler form a rampart between older Stofler and Faraday and can be seen near Stofler’s center. The Faraday impact moved the east wall like an enormous excavator. On the south rim of Faraday sit two more overlapping craters, Stofler P (33 km.) and Faraday C (30 km.). That makes 4 fairly large overlapping craters in a small lunar region and many, many more small ones beyond resolution.
Sketching:
For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 6”x 11”, white and black Conte’pastel pencils, white pearl eraser and blending stumps.
Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 Dobsonian and 6mm eyepiece 241x
Date: 08-13-2013 00:10 – 01:50 UT
Temperature: 15°C (60°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 356.1°
Lunation: 6.9 days
Illumination: 43.3 %
Phase: 97.7°
Frank McCabe


Eight Active Regions and a Billowy Prom

Solar Prominence - May 16, 2012, 1445 UT - 315° PA
Solar Prominence – May 16, 2012, 1445 UT – 315° PA

2012 05 16, 1300 – 1600 UT .
NOAAs 11476, 11477, 11478, 11479, 11481, 11482, 11484, 11485.

PCW Memorial Observatory, Texas – Erika Rix
www.pcwobservatory.com
Temp: 17.2°-27.8C, calm-N 5mph, clear.
Seeing: Wilson 4.8-4.6, Transparency: 5/6, 50x.
Maxscope DS 60mm H-alpha, LXD75, Baader Planetarium Hyperion 8-24mm Mark III.

Sketches created at the eyepiece with black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conte’ crayon and pencil, white Prang color pencil, Derwent charcoal pencil, black oil pencil.

As of this morning, there were 8 active regions on the Sun. Plage and filaments scattered over three quarters of the solar disk with sunspots popping in and out of view crisply as it moved in and out of the scope’s sweet spot. A large diffuse quiet region filament, similar to the one observed on May 6, 2012, was to the SE quadrant reaching out over the limb. Two large bright prominences were located at PA 70 and 115 with several smaller ones scattered around the limb. The prom at 70 degrees had very faint wisps of structure reaching between the three brightest regions.

I had started to draw the full solar disk when a faint pair of prominences to the NW caught my eye. I had accidentally kicked the adaptor that was plugged into my power pack and the mount turned off, allowing the disk to drift across my field of view. When this happened, a huge billow of plasma floated above the limb. It was attached by very slender lines of plasma to the thick fainter prom at the 315 degrees position angle. It had the appearance of a large balloon being blown to the south while tethered to the ground. Tossing my larger sketchpad to the side, I grabbed the smaller pad and quickly sketched this prom. As the course this morning’s observation went on, the billowed top of the prominence changed quite dramatically. I almost expected it to either break free or collapse on itself before my session ended but by the time I completed the full disk sketch, it was still there.

The prominences near 1476 were dense and compact. The plage was very brightly formed as several slender lines within that active region. The main sunspot in 1476 was very easy to spot in h-alpha although the ARFs were very thin and few.

1479 is reminiscent of 1476 several days ago, although the preceding spot standing alone is on the opposite end. Of course, another difference that the sunspots in 1479 are smaller. They may develop more as the days go on. Here’s hoping for beautiful weather so we can keep an eye on it.

Solar Prominence - May 16, 2012, 1345 UT - 70° PA
Solar Prominence – May 16, 2012, 1345 UT – 70° PA
H-Alpha Sun - May 16, 2012, 1550 UT
H-Alpha Sun – May 16, 2012, 1550 UT

Crater Cichus and Environs

Crater Cichus and Environs
Crater Cichus and Environs

Crater Cichus (41 km.) sits on the remains of the high rim of Mare Nubium in one of the few places where the edge of this mare is clearly visible. Resting high on the rim of Cichus is small crater Cichus C (11 km.). This region is a very interesting piece of lunar real estate which includes craters young, old, concentric ringed, buried ghosts, grabens like the one in this sketch to the north called Rima Hesiodus and domes like Kies Pi just beyond the sketch area. To the west of crater Cichus is a portion of Palus Epidemiarum.
The seeing was slightly less than average but you could wait for intervals of better seeing which arrived now and again.
A fun observation and relaxing sketch with mosquito repellent applied.

Sketching:

For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 9”x 12”, white and black Conte’pastel pencils, white pearl eraser and blending stumps.
Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 Dobsonian and 6mm eyepiece 241x
Date: 07-18-2013 02:05-03:50 UT
Temperature: 31°C (88°F)
Hazy, calm, humid
Seeing: mostly Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 27.3°
Lunation: 9.5 days
Illumination: 67.8 %
Frank McCabe


Dancers on the Northwest Limb

Solar Prominences - August 16, 2012
Solar Prominences – August 16, 2012

2012 08 16, 1330 UT

NW Prominence

Erika Rix – Texas

www.pcwobservatory.com

DS Maxscope 60mm h-alpha, LXD75, Baader Planetarium Hyperion 8-24mm Mark III

Temp: 86 F (30 C), winds SE 5 mph, lightly scattered, 37% H
Seeing: Wilson 4.7-4, Transparency: 4/6, 50x, Alt: 72.7, Az: 175.3

Sketch created at the eyepiece with black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conte’ pencil and crayon, and white color pencil.

NOAA 11543 had very bright plage. The sunspots within it weren’t quite as pronounced as the other day. There was a very large filament going east to west in the SE quadrant of the solar disk. More plage located to the SW and the E-NE quadrants.

The brightest, largest prominence that I spotted was located on the NW limb and resembled two dancers joined by their outreached hands with their other hands stretched out behind them. More prominences were scattered about the limb, but to the SW, a very short, bright set of prominences were apparent.


Craters Mercator, Campanus and Ramsden at Sunrise

Craters Mercator, Campanus and Ramsden
Craters Mercator, Campanus and Ramsden
Move cursor over image to view labels.

After another canceled public telescope viewing Friday evening due to thick clouds and light snow, I was pleased to see a nice Saturday filled with sunshine followed by a clear night.

With no particular sketching targets in mind, I scanned the terminator for interesting sketching targets and stopped when I could see sunrise at Ramsden (26 km.) along with all those crisscrossing rimae (rilles).

Northeastward away from Ramsden and across Palus Epidemiarum, I also added two additional ancient craters Mercator (49 km.) and Campanus (49 km.).

This break in our poor Chicagoland spring weather was long overdue.

Sketching:

For this sketch I used: 400 series black Strathmore Artagain paper 9″x 9″, white and black Conte’

pastel pencils , and Conte’crayons, a blending stump, plastic eraser.

Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 Dobsonian with 6mm (241x)

Date: 4-21-2013 01:00 – 02:45 UT

Temperature: 7.2°C (45°F)

Weather: clear, calm

Seeing: good Antoniadi II-III

Co longitude: 35.4°

Lunation: 10.6 days

Illumination: 74.1%

Frank McCabe


Theophilus and Cyrillus

Theophilus and Cyrillus
Theophilus and Cyrillus

As the evening progressed the sky became mostly clear with some ground fog adding to the light scatter and the inevitable falling temperatures of an early spring night. Nevertheless, it was good enough for some observing and sketching. Crater Theophilus (100km.) was more than 450 kilometers from the terminator but remained an attractive target in the eyepiece as the Moon cleared a nearby building in my southeast.

Theophilus is a complex Erastothenian era crater at just over 1.3 billion years in age with large central peaks of deep crustal material that formed on the rebound from the initial impact. The appearance looks fresh when compared to its much older Nectarian period neighbor Cyrillus (100 km.). It was evident while observing this pair that Cyrillus was showered with ejecta from Theophilus and prior millennia of countless strikes by incoming rocks from space. The central peaks of Cyrillus are smaller, more muted and worn down. 300 kilometers to the west of Theophilus the Apollo 16 astronauts Charles Duke and John Young collected 96 kilograms of rocks over 3 days back in 1972 which included some ejecta from the Theophilus formation.

Remote sensors on the orbital spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 detected Iron rich Magnesium –Aluminum oxides on the central peaks of Theophilus adding to the knowledge of the composition to the deep lunar crust as indicated by a publication last spring.

Two other craters included in the sketch are Mädler (29 km.) also of Erastothenian age and Ibn-Rushd (34 km.) an ancient one at more than 3.2 billion years.

Sketching:

For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 8″ x 10″, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils, a blending stump, white Pearl eraser. Contrast was slightly increased after scanning.

Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece 241X

Date: 3-30-2013; 04:30-05:35 UT

Temperature: 2° C (36° F)

Some thin clouds, calm

Seeing: Antoniadi IV poor

Colongitude 128.9 °

Lunation 18.4 days

Illumination 90.1 %

Frank McCabe


Posidonius and Northern Serpentine Ridge

Posidonius and Mare Serentatis

With the first clear night in more than one week, I was able to catch the sunset across crater Posidonius (99 km) at the northeastern edge of Mare Serentatis. Posidonius A (11 km.) , the highest of the small central peaks and the tilted and uplifted concentric ridge were the last features catching the light at sunset inside the rim. Also visible and included in this sketch was the northern most portion of Serpentine Ridge. As temperatures were falling throughout the night, I found myself stopping to warm my hands indoors not once but several times. The lunar viewing was excellent this night.

Sketching:
For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and a blending stump.

Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 9 mm eyepiece 161X
Date: 01-02-2013: 04:30 – 06:00 UT
Temperature: – 16° C (2° F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Colongitude: 150°
Lunation: 19.83 days
Illumination: 79.6%

Frank McCabe


Craters Lansberg and Reinhold

Craters Lansberg and Reinhold
Craters Lansberg and Reinhold

Both of these craters look similar when their floors are in shadow as was the case when I viewed them. Lansberg (40 km) is a walled plain crater sitting where Mare Insularum meets south Imbrium. This old impact dates back to the Upper Imbrian and is near the center of my sketch. Reinhold (49 km) is a prominent lunar impact crater of the Eratosthenian period and is also on Mare Insularum. It is below Lansberg near the bottom center of the sketch which by direction is north as per the inverted Newtonian telescope view. At the top of the sketch (south) I was able to catch the Riphaeus Mountains receiving first light during this waxing gibbous phase.

Sketching:

For this sketch I used: black Canson paper 9″x 10″, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and blending stumps. Sketch was scanned

Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece 242x
Date: 10-25-2012, 00:30 – 01:25 UT
Temperature: 16°C (60° F)
hazy, high clouds, calm
Seeing: average Antoniadi III
Transparency: poor
Colongitude: 29.0 °
Lunation: 9.52 days
Illumination: 79.0 %

Frank McCabe


Western rim of Mare Crisium

Crater Line Linne
Mare Crisium (Move mouse over image to view labels)

2012 09 04, 0330 UT – 0615 UT Mare Crisium
Erika Rix, Texas – www.pcwobservatory.com

AT6RC f/9 1370mm, LXD75, Baader Planetarium Hyperion 8-24mm Mark III (FOV 68 degrees at 171x), no filter
84F, 56% H, winds gusting 5-10 mph, clear, Antoniadi IV increasing to II, T 3/6
Alt: 11deg 43´, Az: 83deg 22´ to Alt: 46deg 21´, Az: 105deg 21´
Phase: 318.4 degrees, Lunation: 17.48 d, Illumination: 87.4%
Lib. Lat: -03:07, Lib. Long: +03.74

Type: Sea (Sea of Crisis)
Geological period: Nectarian (From -3.92 billion years to -3.85 billion years)
Dimension: 740km
Floor: lava-filled and is ~ 1.8 km below lunar datum
Outer rim: ~3.34 km above lunar datum

Eyepiece sketch on black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conte’ crayon and pencil, Derwent watercolor pencil, black charcoal, black oil pencil.

The evening started off with DSO hunting while waiting for the Moon to come up, even though the stars were and faint galaxies were starting to wash out from the moonlight rounding the eastern horizon. I started a sketch of M12 that will have to wait for another night to complete when the Moon isn’t so much of a factor.

Once the Moon rose between two short junipers behind me, I switched to black paper and scanned the terminator. Mare Crisium looked like it was taking a bite out of the Moon. I’ve always been a bit intimidated at sketching rough terrain, but took a stab at it nevertheless. Sketching in the highlights makes it incredibly easier in fast moving areas such as along the terminator. The trick is to have very sharp pencils at hand, and I made sure of that during set up before it got dark outside – although I did have to resharpen once or twice during the session (as well as stand up and stretch.) It was a rush against time to render the basin’s western edge before the shadows swallowed the view.

I began with the inner ridge line along the terminator, marking each highlighted crest individually with a very sharp Conte’ pastel pencil. Then as quickly and accurately as I could, started working my way west, alternating between the Conte’, charcoal, Derwent and oil pencils, focusing first on the highlights, then the shadows, followed by albedo.

Of particular interest, Crisium sports the crash landing site(although not visible from last night’s lunar phase) of the Soviet’s Luna 15 in 1969 and the landing site of Luna 24, 1976, when soil samples where successfully brought back to earth.

This was my first time observing the Moon with the AT6RC and once seeing sharpened up, the views were crisp and clear with good contrast. It’s especially good that we’ve never had to collimate this scope and I’m looking forward to trying it out on Jupiter soon.


Lunar Terminator: Mare Spumans and Mare Undarum

Mare Spumans and Mare Undarum
Mare Spumans and Mare Undarum

On this evening, two days past full moon and with favorable libration on the eastern portion of the Moon, I chose two irregular maria targets for sketching. Mare Spumans was completely visible while Mare Undarum was only partly exposed beyond the terminator.

Although I have examined these little ancient “lakes” in the past this has been my first attempt to capture them on paper. Both are surrounded by bright, densely cratered upland and are close enough to Mare Crisium to be within its eject blanket and basin rings.

This is a very attractive region of the Moon for sketchers with craters Langrenus and Messier and Messier A nearby and Mare Crisium just to the north. I purposely kept these features out of my view to focus on lesser observed targets. In addition to the maria subjects, craters : Webb (22 km.), Apollonius (53 km.), and Firmicus (56 km.) provided eye catching targets across the view.

Mare Spumans and Mare Undarum - Labeled
Mare Spumans and Mare Undarum - Labeled

Sketching:

For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 9″x 12″, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and a blending stump. After scanning, Brightness was decreased just slightly using my scanner.

Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece 241x
Date: 08-04-2012, 04:00 – 05:50 UT
Temperature: 29°C (85° F)
hazy, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Colongitude 110.6 °
Lunation 16 days
Illumination: 94.9 %
Libration: in Lat. -5° 45’, in Long. +05° 38’

Frank McCabe


Moon and Venus – May 22, 2012

Moon and Venus - May 22, 2012
Moon and Venus - May 22, 2012

I was in Mesa, Arizona for a few days and on the evening of Tuesday May 22, 2012, at 8:45 pm (local time) I was treated to a fine view of the Moon and Venus before they set in the West Northwest.

A sliver of the Moon was illuminated by the sun and the remainder lit by the gibbous earth (earthshine), a real treat for a mid-westerner like myself. I had some sketching materials with me so I made this sketch of the view on this warm evening 37°C (98°F).

Sketching:

Blue sketching paper, blending stumps, Crayola pencils (assorted colors), oil pastel crayons (assorted colors), Conte’ crayon pencils black and white, white and pink Pearl erasers

Venus was at waning crescent phase on 2 weeks from its solar transit.

Moon phase: 2.2 days old waxing crescent

Illumination 4%

Frank McCabe


Partial Annular Eclipse

Partial Annular Eclipse Sequence - May 20, 2012

2012 05 20 Partial Annular Eclipse
PCW Memorial Observatory, Texas, Erika Rix
www.pcwobservatory.com
www.solarastronomy.org

H-Alpha Sun - May 20, 2012
H-Alpha Sun - May 20, 2012
H-Alpha Eclipse Diagram - May 20, 2012
H-Alpha Eclipse Diagram - May 20, 2012

Knowing that we fell within a good band to view a partial portion of the annular eclipse, Paul and I scoped out the local county roads earlier in the day for optimal horizons. The partial eclipse for our location was due to start at 1932 ST (0032 UT) which would only give about 50 minutes of eclipse viewing before sunset. The skies cleared up and we were fortunate to have perfect viewing conditions that evening.

I started off drawing the full solar disk in h-alpha. Four active regions lined up east to west with two more to the south (depicted to the top of the first sketch in the animation). I then made a quick second sketch to use for recording the times and placements of the Moon as it passed between Earth and the Sun.

First contact was at 0032 UT. The first marking was at 0035 UT. I set my iPhone’s timer to go off every five minutes until sunset, marking the Moon’s progress each increment with my oil pencil along with the times. In between, Paul and I would alternate using a pair of solar glasses from solarastronomy.org and the views from my double-stacked Coronado Maxscope 60mm h-alpha telescope.

The first image of the animation shows the original sketch in its entirety. Later, I used the second solar disk sketch as a reference to recreate the eclipse on the original sketch with a cut out circular piece of black Strathmore paper. This animation is the result.
http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa201/ErikaGRix/20120520-animation.gif

As the solar disk became too dim to view (represented in the last couple frames of the animation), I was forced to leave the eyepiece and enjoy the last several minutes with the solar glasses and my camera.

Two original sketches created at the eyepiece with black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conte’ crayon and pencil, white Prang color pencil, Derwent charcoal pencil, black oil pencil.


Prominence Ejection Sequence – May 17, 2012

Prominence Ejection Sequence - May 17, 2012
Prominence Ejection Sequence - May 17, 2012

2012 05 17, 1245 UT – 1845 UT
NOAAs 11476, 11477, 11478, 11479, 11482, 11484, NE Prominence

PCW Memorial Observatory, Texas – Erika Rix
www.pcwobservatory.com
Temp: 20-30C, calm – S 5mph, clear.
Seeing: Wilson 4.8-1.2, Transparency: 5/6-4/6, 50x.
Maxscope DS 60mm H-alpha, LXD75, Baader Planetarium Hyperion 8-24mm Mark III.

Sketches created at the eyepiece with black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conte’ crayon and pencil, white Prang color pencil, Derwent charcoal pencil, black oil pencil.

Link to gallery of individual sketches within the sequence.

During the time I observed, a very large prominence off the northeast limb was enlarging and in the process of ejecting as it broke free from the magnetic fields supporting it. I’ve never visually witnessed that large of a prominence breaking away from the Sun before. What really stunned me was how bright it remained over several hours that far off the limb. I grabbed an 8-sketch sequence spanning over 6 hours of the event, not including the full disk rendering I recorded earlier in the day. The last 35 minutes of my session, the prominence became very faint and diffuse. I stopped seeing any connection from the limb after 1717 UT. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean there wasn’t, but was perhaps too faint for my tired eyes to see.