Thor’s Helmet – a Magnificent Apparition

Thor's Helmet - NGC 2359
Thor’s Helmet – NGC 2359

Hello all,

One thing all astronomers chase is ideal atmospheric conditions. An apparently clear night can present poor transparency or poor seeing due to thermal energy high up in the atmosphere. But every now and then, ideal or even very close to ideal conditions do present themselves, and it gives us the finest view of the heavens.

Such conditions presented themselves to me on the night of January 18.

My first view of Thor’s Helmet, NGC 2359, was four years ago during the Ice In Space Astro Camp. My view of it seemed to me to be a fine one. So much so it inspired me to sketch it straight away! Four years later, presented with a night of exceptional transparency, I revisited Thor’s Helmet as it was right on zenith for me.

WOW! What an image! This night Thor’s Helmet had nebulosity extending in four different directions, not just the two from my first view. So much more structure was apparent, and the nebulosity extended so much further, and so many more stars were visible too.

I’ve also included an image of the sketch I did of Thor’s Helmet in 2011 for comparison. It is this way that the full impact of the differences in conditions between the two nights can be appreciated.

I hope you enjoy this sketch.

Alex.

Object: Thor’s Helmet, NGC 2359
Scope: 17.5” push-pull Karee dob
Gear: 30mm 82° Explore Scientific, 91X, OIII filter
Date: 18th January, 2015
Location: Katoomba Airfield, Australia
Media: White soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper
Duration: approx. 1hr.

Thor's Helmet - NGC 2359
Thor’s Helmet – NGC 2359 (2011)

NGC 2525

NGC 2525, a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Puppis
NGC 2525, a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Puppis

Good afternoon all,

NGC2525 is love from my location in Puppis and is very attractive.

I was using the 505mm mirror, cooled Watec 120N+ video camera, sketching form the monitor image onto cartridge paper with draughtsman 0.3 ink pen for brighter star images, HB pencil for fainter ones, 3B pencil for galaxy detail which is then worked with a blending stump and eraser to achieve the desired match with the screen image, the whole sketch is then scanned and inverted to give a realistic view.

Hope these interest? Dale

Do you want to know more about my interest in astronomy? If so take a look at my Website: www.chippingdaleobservatory.com

Keep up to date with observations from Chippingdale Observatory by reading the Blog http://www.chippingdaleobservatory.com/blog/


M22 – the quietly spoken big brother globular cluster

Messier 22, the great globular cluster in Sagittarius
Messier 22, the great globular cluster in Sagittarius

Hi all,
This was the second sketch I completed at this year’s Astrofest back in July.

M22 is a true jewel of the night sky. This giant globular cluster from a dark site it can be a naked eye object as well. It is large enough for even smaller telescopes to resolve its multitude of component stars, revealing its large and intense core.

M22 is beautiful in my 17.5” scope. It is very different from Omega Centauri and 47Tuc – could even describe it as the ‘runt’ of the giant globulars as its core is not as busy as its bigger brothers. But the component stars of its core are absolutely brilliant, arranged in so many signature patterns. It is slowly turning into a favourite of mine with its understated brilliance, loud without being overbearing presence, and sitting on a magnificent carpet of the Milky Way glow.

I won’t say much here. I’ll let M22 do its own quite whispering of its magnificence. Yeah, I think one firm fav of mine now…

Alex.

Object: M22 globular cluster
Scope: 17.5” push-pull Karee dobsonian
Gear: 22mm LVW, 91X
Location: Linville, Queensland, Australia
Date: 24th July, 2014
Media: Soft pastel and white ink on A4 size black paper
Duration: approx. 2.5hrs


Comet Jacques (C/2014 E2)

Comet C/2014 E2 (JACQUES) - August 22, 2014
Comet C/2014 E2 (JACQUES) – August 22, 2014

Object Name: Comet C/2014 E2 (JACQUES)
RA: 02h 04m 07.8s; Dec: + 63° 39′ 26.9″
Magnitude: 6.4
Constellation: Cassiopeia
Location: Pueblonuevo de Bullaque. Ciudad Real. SPAIN
Date: August 22, 2014.
Local Time: 01:57 (2h T.U)
Material used: pastel pencil and white ink on black paper.
Celestron Telescope S/C 8″ Mount Cgt-5
Eyepiece: 22 mm L-VW
Magnification: 92x.

More information: http://astrodibujo.blogspot.com


Light vs Dark – the Ink Spot and a lovely open cluster

The Ink Spot, B86 & NGC 6570
The Ink Spot, B86 & NGC 6570

Hi all,

This was the first sketch I completed at Astrofest in Queensland, Australia. I’ve been wanting to sketch this beautiful dark nebula ever since I first laid eye on it some three years ago. This dark nebula, B86, goes by the popular name of “The Ink Spot”. It sits smack bang in the centre of the densest star cloud in the whole sky, the Cloud of Sagittarius. And what sets it off even more is B86 has a gorgeous bright open cluster right next to it, NGC 6570. Both objects are more-or-less the same size as each other, even though both are not very large themselves. But it is the juxtaposition of these two very different objects against the blaze of the Milky Way that makes this pair a spectacular pairing.

Dark nebulae are clouds of dust and gas that are drifting through the Milky Way galaxy. Many of these conglomerations of dust and gas do end up being formed into stars and planets, but most just end up forming the fabric of the galaxy. In fact, the stars that we see actually only form a small percentage of the actual mass of galaxies. By far the greatest amount of a galaxy’s mass comes from this very dust and gas. The Ink Spot is a small patch of cloud. It is a very opaque nebula too. Dark nebulae are categorised according to their opacity, or how dark they are. The scale of opacity goes from 1 (very tenuous) through to 6 (very opaque). While the opacity of The Ink Spot may be a 5, it is because that it sits in the Cloud of Sagittarius that makes is a striking object.

The little open cluster NGC 6520 really works very well in setting off B86. Open clusters are groupings of stars that are all related to each other having been formed out of the same parent cloud of gas and dust. Evidence for this is seen in the spectra of the stars displaying the same chemical make up. The brothers and sisters of our own Sun have been identified this way, with the same chemical signature as our Sun having been identified in several close by stars even though the Sun’s ‘siblings’ have long drifted off away from each other. Open clusters are loose groupings, so even though they formed from the same source, their gravitational connection to each other is not strong enough to keep the group together for too long.

For me, this tiny patch of sky is one of my most favourite. Tiny and oh so precious. Brilliant, dark, stark, ghostly. All in one. Gorgeous.

Alexander Massey.

Object: The Ink Spot, B86 & NGC 6570
Telescope: 17.5″ push-pull Karee dob
Gear: 13mm LVW, 154X
Location: Linville, Queensland, Australia
Date: 24th July, 2014
Media: Soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper.
Duration: approx. 3hrs


NGC 6520 and Barnard 86

NGC 6520 and Barnard 86
NGC 6520 and Barnard 86

Object Name: NGC 6520 and Barnard 86.
RA: 18h 03m 25.1s; Dec: -27° 53′ 28″
Magnitude: 7.6
NGC 6520 size: 6′
Distance: 6,000 light-years approx.
Constellation: Sagittarius.
Type: Open Cluster and Dark Nebula.
Description NGC 6520: Cl, pS, Ri, lV, st 9 … 13
Location: Bonilla. Cuenca. SPAIN
Date: July 24, 2014.
Time: 00:10 UT.
Material used: pastel pencils and white ink on black paper. Inverted image with Photoshop.
Celestron Telescope S/C 8″ Mount Cgt-5
Eyepiece: LV-M 22mm; Magnification: 92x.
Condition: 21.39 SQM. Temperature: 16º. Humidity 29%. Calm wind.


Spring’s Trio

Spring's Trio, "The Leo Triplet", galaxies M65, M66 and NGC 3628
Spring’s Trio, “The Leo Triplet”, galaxies M65, M66 and NGC 3628

It is spring’s trio.

The dark lane in the 3628 is really fantastic!

Before this sketch, I always confused M65 and M66.
But now I can classify 65 & 66.
Sketch is magical tool in the visual astronomy. 🙂

Object Name : Leo triple
Object Type : Galaxies
Location : S. Korea
Date : Nov. 11, 2013
Equipment : Discovery 15″ Dob
Media : Black paper, Jelly pen, Pastel pencil


A little fat Owl

"A Little Fat Owl", Lunar craters Fra Mauro, Parry and Bonpland - May 8, 2014
“A Little Fat Owl”, Lunar craters Fra Mauro, Parry and Bonpland – May 8, 2014

It had been a while since I did a lunar sketch. May saw me complete my first lunar sketch in many months. I made several attempts, but on those occasions, seeing was so poor the Moon was ‘boiling’ using just 100X magnification. Disappointing and frustrating. Eventually things did change in my favour…

As always, unless I have a specific target in mind, I just let my eye wonder along the terminator to see what pricks my interest. And, as there are several repeated alphanumeric apparitions on the Moon, I’ve found a second avian one! Some time ago I spotted an owl formed around the crater Mercator. Last night I found a second Owl, this time around the flooded craters Fra Mauro (the fat body), Parry (the right eye), and Bonpland (the left eye).Cute little fella I think is formed here J.

As it turns out, Fra Mauro is just to the south of the Apollo 14 landing site – south is to the top of the page, so the Apollo 14 site lies just below where the Owl’s feet would be.

Object: “Little Fat Owl”, craters Fra Mauro, Parry and Bonpland
Scope: C8, 8” SCT
Gear: 5mm Baader Hyperion, 400X
Date: 8th May, 2014
Location: Sydney, Australia
Media: White & grey soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A5 size black paper
Duration: approx. 2hrs.


The Challenge of Finding the Owl’s Eyes

Messier 97 - The Owl Nebula, a planetary nebula
Messier 97 – The Owl Nebula, a planetary nebula

The observing of the owl’s eye is very difficult for me.

I just have a glimsed by sketch…

Object Name : M97 (Owl Nebula)
Object Type : Planetary Nebula
Location : S. Korea
Date : Mar. 30, 2013
Equipment : Discovery 15″ Dob
Media : Black paper, Jelly pen, Pastel pencil


The Biggest Face in the Universe!

Messier 84/86 Group of Galaxies
Messier 84/86 Group of Galaxies

Seeing many objects in an eyepiece view is my favorite things!

So, I love galaxy groups.

M84/86 group like face shape.

He has two eyes, one little nose, smiling mouth, only one eyebrow, and ear…

It is biggest face in the universe!

Object Name : M84/86 group
Object Type : Galaxies
Location : S. Korea
Date : May. 30, 2014
Equipment : Discovery 15″ Dob
Media : Black paper, Jelly pen, Pastel pencil

Nightwid 無雲


Sinus Iridum

Sinus Iridum - June 8, 2014
Sinus Iridum – June 8, 2014
Hi,

Find attached a sketch of Sinus Iridum with craters Bianchini, Laplace A, Laplace D and Heraclides E done yesterday evening.

Object Name Sinus Iridum, The Moon
Object Type Impact basin
Location Dusseldorf region, Germany
Date June 8th, 2014, 2120-2205 CEST
Media white pastel pen, charcoal pen on black cardbox paper
Telescope: Celestron Nexstar 127/1500 SLT
Eyepiece: TS HR Planetary 7mm
Best Regards,

Achim


Twilight Globular

Messier 5 Globular Cluster
Messier 5 Globular Cluster

Object Name: Messier 5
Object Type: Globular cluster
Location: Deventer, The Netherlands
Date: June 2, 2014
Media: White pastel and white gel pen on black paper

This time of year the sun never drops low enough under the horizon for
true astronomical darkness. Only after midnight we get a few hours of
relatively dark skies, but a faint blue glow always remains visible
above the northern horizon. However, bright objects can still be very
impressive in the eyepiece. Messier 5 is a fine example: a very bright
ball of stars, loosely scattered amidst a few dozen foreground stars.
When I made this sketch, the sun was only 12 degrees below the horizon.
What is very striking visually is the off-center core of M5. The
brightest part seems to be slightly to the west of the cluster.

I made the sketch using a white gel pen for the stars and a white soft
pastel pencil for the glow of unresolved stars. It was the first time I
made a positive deepsky sketch, normally I use graphite on white paper.
The image is the original field sketch.

Clear skies!

Roel Weijenberg
www.roelblog.nl


Trying something New with the Sun

The H-alpha Sun - May 9, 2014
The H-alpha Sun – May 9, 2014
Non inverted colors on white paper.
Non inverted colors on white paper.
Inverted
Inverted

Aloha!

I was enjoying the Sun this morning and trying to decide how to represent the most prominent features. Sketching the Sun has just not gotten me the feeling that I can really represent it as well as I would like to as far as colorizing goes. I like using black paper but it isn’t smooth enough whereas plain white paper is. But when I have tried to add color later, it just loses what I see in the scope.

So today I tried a little something different. I like how some inverted blue colors really become the right colors for the Sun. So I put some oil pastel colors to paper & inverted to see what I could use. The nice thing about the oil pastel is I can scratch off small little lines to try to get the details of the solar surface. I had to think in negative to produce the sketch in order to preserve black, white and the different tones of red. This is my 1st attempt using this technique and I am not entirely happy with it but it is a bit of an experiment.

H-alpha Sun
5/9/14
60mm Lunt 88x
Oil Pastel, white permanent pen, white paper, Lyra polycolor pencils, a needle to scratch off the oil pastels to produce dark lines
Inverted with Photoscape software

Cindy (Thia) Krach
Maui. HI


Light vs dark – The Jewel Box and The Coal Sack

The Jewel Box star cluster (NGC 4755) and the Coal Sack dark nebula
The Jewel Box star cluster (NGC 4755) and the Coal Sack dark nebula

Hello all,

A couple of weekends ago saw Ice In Space Astro Camp ’14 happen at Lostock in rural NSW, Australia. I arrived late on the Friday, and when I finally settled at the camp it was dark and I just didn’t feel like setting up a big scope. The sky was clear, the full brilliance of the Milky Way was arcing overhead, so it was a great chance for some wide field sketching with my little 4″ achro.

Some time ago I had made a mental note of a potential sketching target as being the area around the lovely cluster The Jewel Box in the Southern Cross. The great thing about this scope and eyepiece combination is the true field of view encompasses the Jewel Box, Mimosa or Beta Cruxius, and the western edge of the dark nebula The Coal Sack, all set off against the mottled background Milky Way. Gorgeous stuff!

The Coal Sack is also surprisingly detailed. Streamers of darker lines, patches of brighter, and ghostly arcs. These details made for a great challenge as they are, well, black… Another fainter open cluster can also be seen just to the upper right of the Jewel Box. The Southern Cross contains dozens of open clusters within its boarder.

This sketch is very close to showing the full 5deg True Field of View I had.

Object: Jewel Box and the Coal Sack.
Scope: 4″ f/5 achromatic refractor
Gear: 30mm 82deg Explore Scientific, 17X, 5deg TFOV.
Location: Lostock, NSW, Oz
Date: 25th April, 2014
Media: White soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper.
Duration: approx. 2hrs


The Brightest Supernova in My Life

Messier 82 and SN2014J - January 31, 2014
Messier 82 and SN2014J – January 31, 2014

I saw SN2014J in M82 on Korean New Year night.

It is very surprise event to me, since I’ve never seen bright supernova.

Already I saw some supernovas in 2011. (M51, M101, NGC2655)

But that is more dark than this one.

I feel some futility.. because it is too easy to observing 🙂

I drew a sketch with 10″ dob, black paper and white pastel & jelly pen.

And I compared with my previous M82 sketch.

It is so interesting, I want to share everyone!

(original sketch : http://www.nightflight.or.kr/xe/files/attach/images/25489/716/121/453c7cb7b53fccfc7ac22288b35e05ed.jpg)


Eta Carina – The Goliath through a 4″ Refractor

NGC 3372 / Eta Carina
NGC 3372 / Eta Carina

Hello all,

I finally got to go bush with my latest scope acquisition, and my smallest scope, a 4” achro refractor. I was spoilt for choice for potential targets, but I settled on one target I’ve sketched four times previously, Eta Carina. The previous sketches of Eta Carina were done with an 8” (once) and my 17.5” (twice) and once with my binos from my home. But this time, I had the opportunity to chase the full extent of the visible nebulosity of this celestial giant. With the single eyepiece I took on this outing, this little refractor gives me a whopping TFOV of 5°! This would be the perfect weapon and dark sky combination to tackle this target.

Oh my goodness! How much detail is visible! At first glance the nebulosity is nice and compact. As the sketch developed, and I slowly examined the scene, the nebulosity kept on reaching further and further out. Add to this the mottling of the background Milky Way star field that surrounds Eta Carina. I also spotted a couple of faint open clusters in the field of view.

The sketch doesn’t show the full extent of the TFOV – the sheet of paper wasn’t big enough! I was spent after this too.

I hope you find this sketch to your liking.

Alex.

Object: Eta Carina, NGC 3372
Scope: 4” f/5 refractor
Gear: 30mm Explore Scientific 82°, 17X, plus OIII filter
Date: 3rd January 2014
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Media: White soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper.


Mars, Jupiter and a Crescent Moon for Breakfast

Mars, Jupiter and Crescent Moon - October 29, 2013
Mars, Jupiter and Crescent Moon – October 29, 2013

Object Name : night sky
Object Type : Planets, stars and moon
Location : Montréal, Canada
Date: October 29th 2013
Media: pastel, white and pink gel pens on black paper

Unable to sleep I decided to get up early on October 29th. It was 5:00 in the morning and the air was crisp but the sight was absolutely gorgeous. I decided to get my pastels and try my best to represent the ambiance and colors of the scenery. Mars was at the left side of a crescent moon and Jupiter hanging high at the right hand side with Castor and Pollux (Gem)

Jean Barbeau


NGC 6231 in Cebu

NGC 6231
NGC 6231

My family went to international trip to Cebu, Philippines.

The Cebu’s latitude is N 10.2˙.

So I prepared 8inch travle dob (Uti 8) and observed deep sky in the resort beach.

The weather of Southest Asia is very changeable in the midnight.

For 3 nights, I drew a only one cluster! It located bottom of Scorpious.

Object : NGC 6231 (Open Cluster)

Location : Korea

Date : May. 19, 2013

Media : Black Paper, White jelly pen


Lunar Volcanism

Pyroclastic deposits in Alphonsus
Pyroclastic deposits in Alphonsus

Hi all,

I’ve been itching to have a go again at Alphonsus for some time. Along with its two buddies, Arzachel (to left) and Ptolemaeus (at right), this trio are a time line of Lunar history.

Ptolemaeus is the oldest. The crater floor is totally flooded, even the central peak is covered. It was fromed when the Moon was still very hot and lava readily flowed with a large impact.

Arzachel is the youngest. The crater floor is intact with no flooding, the crater walls are terraced with land slides both inside and outside of the crater.

Alphonsus sits bewteen the two in age. The crater floor is only partially flooded with the central peak still visible. The Moon has cooled since Ptolemaeus and lava flow has slowed. BUT, volcanic activity was still occuring after the flooding process had stopped. This is seen from the pyroclastic deposits that sit within Alphonsus. Four deposits lie within this crater and are marked in the labelled pic, and are seen as the darker shaded areas that are easy to see through the eyepiece.

Quite remarkable to consider that from here on Earth we can see the effects of ancient volcanism on a body that isn’t Earth.

Another treasure of the night was the Celestron Ultima LX 8mm eyepiece I used. These eyepiece are much underrated, but are surprisingly good. The 8mm in particular is easy to use for extended viewing. It made the 2.5 hours much more bearable, and my eyes were not as fatigued as they have been after with other sketches that have taken less time to do. It’s one of my favourite eyepieces.

Object: Pyroclastic deposits in Alphonsus
Scope: C8, 8″ SCT
Gear: 8mm Celestron Ultima LX, 250X
Location: Sydney, Australia
Date: 19th March 2013
Media: Soft Pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper
Duration: approx 2.5 hrs

Pyroclastic deposits in Alphonsus - Labeled
Pyroclastic deposits in Alphonsus – Labeled

Messier 52

Messier 52
Messier 52

M52 (OC in Cass)
Location : Yang-Pyung, South Korea
Date : July/28/2012
Media : Black paper, White Jelly pen / Pastel
Equipment : Discovery 15″ Dob, Pentax XL 14mm, Nagler Type6 9mm

The M52 is the open cluster without the impressive feature.
It’s hard to find because the boundary is uncertain.
The central part is vacant, and there is no brightness difference of comprised stars.
What is the fascination of the m52?
The answer is in this sketch.

Nightwid 無雲


Crater Moretus: a Tribute to Neil Armstrong

Crater Moretus to South Pole
Crater Moretus to South Pole

Hello all,

A sad time has befallen our hobby with the passing of Neil Armstrong. I never imagined as a little boy that I would be writing a tribute to him. And these words are not easy either.

Last Saturday night I managed a session with a good mate, both of us sketching the Moon. We never could have imagined what was happening on the other side of the world at the same time. What had been a very productive and happy time turned into a sorrowful one in a few short hours.

From my last sketch, I was determined to focus on the area around either one of the poles. Whatever took my fancy would become my subject. The spectacular crater Moretus caught my eye, and two hours later the sketch below appeared.

What most impressed me was the shadow flooded crater floor with its brilliantly white, massive and tall central peak surrounded by the silent blackness. Careful inspection showed a terraced internal crater wall, highly textured and fractured, as well as very crated too.

The whole scene was very dramatic with the foreshortened lunarscape, long, long shadows, and an impressively long leading edge of singularly illuminated peaks far beyond the terminator proper. By the time the main body of the sketch was done, I just couldn’t finish it without adding the position of the south pole and an extension of the south east limb with the irregular ‘horizon’ of the Moon.

This sketch will forever be a “remember where you were when…?” occasion with the passing of Neil Armstrong.

Neil, every time I look through a telescope, I become an astronaut too…

The world has lost a true hero. Humble, graceful, peaceful.

Alex.

Object: Crater Moretus to South Pole
Gear: C8, 8” SCT
Gear: 9mm TMB Type II Planetary, 222X
Date: 25th August, 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Media: Soft pastel, charcoal, white ink and china graph on A5 size black paper.