Posidonius Area

Posidonius Crater
Posidonius Crater

Hi all,

Friday evening just before the altocumulus clouds of the approaching depression covered the sky, I could do another sketch of the moon: This time it was crater Posidonius and its surroundings.

Ah, by the way, this time I tried a new pen: For the bright areas (e. g. the western rims of Posidonius A and J), I took a whitecoal pen instead of chalk pen. That provided much brighter contrast.

Another novelty for me: I didn’t use a diagonal but an Amici prism, so that the view in the eyepiece wasn’t mirrored at all. The view was a bit less bright, but for the moon it’s still bright enough.

Object Name: Posidonius
Object Type: Lunar Crater
Location: Germany, Dusseldorf area
Date: 2015-04-24, 2130-2205 CEST
Media: chalk pastel pencil, whitecoal pencil and charcoal pencil on black sketching cardbox
Telescope: Celestron Nexstar 127 SLT
Eyepiece: TS HR Planetary 7mm

Clear skies


Sirsalis & Damoiseau Craters

Sirsalis & Damoiseau Craters
Sirsalis & Damoiseau Craters


I submit my most recent lunar sketch of Sirsalis & Damoiseau Craters at the western limb of the moon. What a wonderful area to explore with interesting concentric craters of Damoiseau & the double crater of Sirsalis at this angle of light. Unseen Grimaldi is in the darkness to the west.

Object: Lunar craters Sirsalis & Damoiseau @ ~13 days lunation
Telescope: 12.5” Portaball 9mm Nagler 169X
Location: Maui Hawaii, 4000 ft elevation
Date: 2/4/12 7:45pm
Medium: Black art paper, white & black charcoal

Thia Krach

Solar Serpent

Solar Filament & Prominence - 26 April 2015
Solar Filament & Prominence – 26 April 2015


I was delighted this morning to find this dark and large filament at the north-eastern limb of our Sun. It had the appearance of a large serpent with foot like projections anchoring it to the solar surface and then visible curving around the limb. The filament is magnetic curtains of plasma hovering over the Sun’s surface, this an especially large and detailed one. I read on the Spaceweather site that the length of the filament would measure the distance from the Earth to the Moon. That’s one big serpent!

Solar Filament & Prominence
h-alpha 60mm Lunt 35x
Maui, Hawaii
4/26/15 0800-0845 HST
Black Strathmore Artagain Paper
White Conte’ Crayon & charcoal pencils, black & white
Photoscape Software to colorize, Photoshop Software to reduce size

Cindy L. Krach
Haleakala Amateur Astronomers

Copernicus Crater


Object Name: Copernicus Crater
Object Type: Lunar Crater
Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada
Date: 2 May 15
Media: Vine charcoal background, graphite pencil for the crater

I am very new at sketching, this being the first one I’d consider worthy of uploading. It was drawn from a photo of Copernicus crater I brought up on my computer screen as practice for the sketching course I’m currently taking. I’m still struggling to convey a sense of depth, as well as develop a rapid technique that I will need when I am at the eyepiece of my telescope.

Lunar Crater Gassendi

Crater Gassendi - 31 January 2015
Crater Gassendi – 31 January 2015

Hi all,

tonight I had a look outside and – yeah, no clouds and clear skies.

So I took out the 10″ f/5 truss dobsonian and prepared for lunar sketching: Today the floor-fractured crater Gassendi attracted me and presented nice central peaks and its rimae on its ground.

Telescope: 10″ f/5 Martini Dobsonian

Eyepiece: Skywatcher Planetary 5mm

Date & Time: Jan 31st, 2015 / 1925-2015 CET

Place: home terrace, Dusseldorf region, Germany

Technique: chalk, charcoal and white pastel on black sketching cardbox paper

Hope you like the sketch.

Clear skies!


Flaming Star Nebula

C31 IC 405 Flaing Star Nebulawordssmaller
C31 IC 405 Flaing Star Nebulawordssmaller


IC 405, Caldwell 31 or the Flaming Star Nebula is an emission/reflection nebula that requires darkness and patience to pull details out. A 12.5” reflector was used here to observe and a NPB filter from DMG optics helpful. I observed & sketched the same object 3 years ago and didn’t see the details visible this time around. I would partly account this to gaining greater ability from sketching the object again with more patience this time around.

Proper motion studies of AE Auriga show it to be an ejected star from the Orion Belt region. Its chance passage through this nebulous region of gas & dust give it a “Flaming Star” appearance.

Heavyweight white paper, 2B pencil, charcoal and brush.
Photoscape to invert
12.5” Portaball 80X
NPB DMG Optics Filter

Cindy (Thia) Krach
Maui, Hawaii

The Horsehead Area with a RFT

Horsehead Nebula Environs
Horsehead Nebula Environs

Object name: IC434, B33, Horsehead Nebula
Object type: dark nebula
Location: Cottage Grove Lake, Oregon
Date: Feb 21, 2015
Media: charcoal and graphite pencils on drawing paper, scanned to jpg

Telescope: 13.2 inch [34cm] f/3.0 on a night of incredible transparency
Eyepiece: 21mm Ethos giving a 1.8 degree field of view
Filter: H-Beta

Mel Bartels

Comparison of Two Sketches of Atlas and Hercules

Atlas and Hercules
Atlas and Hercules

Yesterday evening I could sketch the wonderful pair of craters Atlas and Hercules with charcoal and chalk on black cardbox. This was the second sketch I did of these craters. I had a look into my archive and compared the current sketch with the one done on May last year.

Both sketches have been done with my 5” Celestron MAK. What we can see is the different lighting conditions based on moon age and libration. Furthermore, the seeing conditions last time have been much better than yesterday – I could not go up to 300x yesterday but had to leave it with the 7mm EP.

Clear skies!


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.


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)

Craters Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel

Lunar craters Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel -October 1, 2014
Lunar craters Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel -October 1, 2014


Here’s my lunar sketch of today.
Object Name: Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel
Object Type Lunar Craters
Location: Home terrace, Dusseldorf region, Germany
Date: Oct 1st, 2014, 1930-2000 CEST
Media: charcoal and white pastel on black cardbox
Clear skies!


Brilliant Saturn at the Dark Lunar Limb

A conjunction of the Moon and the planet Saturn - September 27, 2014
A conjunction of the Moon and the planet Saturn – September 27, 2014


I had plans to go to the summit of Haleakala to observe the occultation of Saturn by the Moon, but clouds and wind kept me closer to home. I was delighted when a patch of sky opened up and I could observe the wonderful phenomenon from home.

As I was observing Saturn get closer to our Moon I was struck by how small it appeared in comparison, appearing the size of some of the smaller lunar craters. I began sketching in the details of the Moon and noticed a few stars I wanted to include. I needed to do some erasures because one of the stars was occulted ~15 minutes before Saturn, an unexpected treat. Once Saturn made it to the limb I could not clearly time the initial ingress as conditions began to deteriorate. It was however brilliantly lit in comparison to the dark lunar limb. I noted time as 19:41:36 HAST when all evidence of Saturn disappeared. My sketch is as Saturn had partially slipped past the limb. I was unable to view egress as the Moon had slipped behind clouds by this time.

Occultation of Saturn by the Moon
Maui, Hawaii
SV102ED 79x
Black paper, white & black charcoal
Photoscape to clean up sketch

Cindy (Thia) Krach

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

Three Months of the Double Cluster

The Perseus Double Cluster, NGC 869 and NGC 884 - three month sketch
The Perseus Double Cluster, NGC 869 and NGC 884 – three month sketch
NGC 869 and NGC 884, The Perseus Double Cluster annotated
NGC 869 and NGC 884, The Perseus Double Cluster annotated

object Name – 3 months sketch ngc869 ngc884

But-gogae Gosong-ri Yangdong-myeon Yangpyeong-gun Gyeonggi-do S.KOREA—–[6day observations]
International Observatory(Yard) Yongcheon-ri Yangpyeong-gun Gyeonggi-do S.KOREA—–[2day observations]

Media – pencil, charcoal
Paper – AQUARELLE ARCHES(Cold press)white Paper. [54.5cm x 78.8cm]
XQ 10″ Dob(f5) / ES 100′ 14mm “89x”


Perseus double cluster ngc869,ngc884

Under the night sky….
3 months sketch ngc869 ngc884..
2012. October start. 2013. January 11 END…..

click to image big size.

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.

Maurolycus at Terminator

Lunar craters Maurolycus and Barocius on the terminator - June 6, 2014
Lunar craters Maurolycus and Barocius on the terminator – June 6, 2014

Object Name : Maurolycus

Object Type: Lunar Crater
Location Torrevieja Spain
Date Friday 6th June
Media (graphite pencil 2H/6B/2B , charcoal (Hard/Dark), white paper,
Sketched whilst on holiday with good conditions and viewed through small Travelscope 70 mm refractor and 9mm eyepiece.



Supernova 2014L in Messier 99

Messier 99 and SN2014L - February 4, 2014
Messier 99 and SN2014L – February 4, 2014

ASOD – Supernova in M99 sketch – “Kim byong su”

file name – “m99_supernova_Kim Byong su”
object Name – Supernova in M99 sketch
Location – But-gogae Gosong-ri Yangdong-myeon Yangpyeong-gun Gyeonggi-do S.KOREA
Media – pencil, charcoal , white Paper
XQ 10″ Dob / TMB 6mm “208x”

this sketch image 1280 pixel..

140x – Sharp => Looked for a short time(0.2~1.5 seconds)
208x – Cloudy Sharp=> Looked for a long time (2~3 seconds)

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.


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 – January 7, 2012

Mars - January 7, 2012
Mars – January 7, 2012

2012 01 07 – Mars
PCW Memorial Observatory, OH – Erika Rix
16” Zhumell, f/4.5, non-tracking Dobsonian mount
12mm WA Burgess, 2x Barlow, 300x magnification
Filters: Mars, 82A blue, 21 orange
5.6 C, 64% H, S: Pickering 4-5, T: 3/6
CM: 159.8°, Ls: 54°, Phase: 0.92, V. Mag: 0.1
RA: 11h 32m, Dec: 6° 18′ 51″

This was my most recent Mars observation from a few weeks ago. With only one or two clear nights since then, the timing was such that it prevented me from being able to crack open the observatory.

The early morning of the 7th, I had ample time to let the mirrors cool down on the telescope and collimated before dark. It was a little windy but had calmed down by 3am. Still, seeing wasn’t the best. I cold make out the NPC straight away and it appeared tucked in on the western and eastern edges more so than my observation the week prior. There was a definite dark streak above the NPC in my view and a few more darkened patches scattered around the disk. Very slight limb brightening on both the preceding (just prior to the terminator toward either pole) and following limbs.

I had to nudge the scope time and time again to let Mars slowly drift through my FOV before slight variances in albedo became apparent. It was nearly impossible for me to match them up with labeling programs such as Mars Previewer II or my Mars Globe app on my iPad because the two views on those programs were a little off from each other even though I checked the date, time and location several times. In the end, I went with Mars Previewer II since I’ve been using that program the longest.

I’m very much looking forward to more opportunities with Mars as it reaches opposition. If only my primary mirror was clean…sigh.

The sketch was created using charcoal on card stock, charcoal pencils, willow charcoal, vinyl eraser pencil and kneaded rubber eraser.


Eratosthenes Crater
Eratosthenes Crater

2011 10 07, 0330UT Eratosthenes

PCW Memorial Observatory, OH, USA, Erika Rix


Eratosthenes: Complex crater from Eratosthenian geological period (from –3.2 billion year to –1.1 billion years)

Lat: 14.5 deg N, Long: 11.3 deg W

Zhumell 16”, 21-7mm Zhumell, 257x, no filter

Temp14C, 89% increasing to 98% humidity, S: Antoniadi II, T: 6/6

Eyepiece sketch on Rite in the Rain paper, charcoal

Phase: 54.3 deg, Lunation: 9.68d, Illumination: 79.1%

Lib. Lat: -05:01, Lib. Long: +05:37

Az: +246:38, Alt: -07:34

Eratosthenian geological period includes fairly young, non-rayed fresh craters. I did notice a Copernican ray to the N of Eratosthenes and several patches of lightened areas within the surrounding areas. Eratosthenes has very steep, tormented walls and is approximately 60km x 60km wide. It has an elongated central mountain with several summits. Its morphology is very similar to impact crater Copernicus, but its rays most likely deteriorated from weather and age.

The distance of this crater from the terminator made it perfect for studying the floor and terraced walls. The western floor edge was difficult to differentiate from where the upslope began for its wall. It appeared to be more a lightening with a few darkened lines.

For comparison, here is an image from the Lunar Orbiter (through the Lunar and Planetary Institute site). My sketch is the eyepiece view from my telescope and will need to be rotated 180 degrees to match the Lunar Orbiter image.

Luminous Butterfly

Messier 6
Messier 6

object Name – M6 “Butterfly cluster” sketch
Location – bohyun Mountain, Yeongcheon-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, S.KOREA
Media – pencil, charcoal , white Paper(croquis book)

XQ 10″ Dob / Explore 14mm 100′(2 inch)= “89x”

supplement image Link – twenty second afterward butterfly shape gif “M6 sketch”
(20 second please….gif butterfly shape….)



m6 butterfly shape sketch edit supplement gif image Link


Gassendi Crater

Gassendi Crater
Gassendi Crater
Move cursor over image to view labels.

2012 06 01, 0238 UT – 0446 UT Gassendi
PCW Memorial Observatory, Texas, Erika Rix

Celestron Omni XLT 102mm, 24-8mm Baader Planetarium Mark III Hyperion, 2x Barlow, 250x
Temp 71° F, 60% humidity, S: Antoniadi II, T: 5/6
Eyepiece sketch black Strathmore Artagain paper, Conte crayon and pastel pencil, charcoal pencil
Phase: 45.8 deg, Lunation: 11.21 d, Illumination: 84.8%
Lib. Lat: +05:08, Lib. Long: -04:13
Az: +209:11, Alt: 41:03

Located on the northern border of Mare Humorum, crater Gassendi is an impact crater formed during the Nectarian period (-3.92 to 3.85 billion years ago) that later was modified after volcanic activity, becoming a fractured-floor crater. Gassendi is believed to have been filled with lava from the inside, raising its floor, creating stress fractures in the process. This would explain it being considered a walled plain with a shallow depth of 2.8 km. The central peaks (~1200 m high) remain and several rilles (called Rimae Gassendi) were formed on the lava-filled floor during the Imbrian geological period -3.85 to –3.2 billion years ago.

Crater Gassendi A was formed during the Copernician period (–1.1 billion years ago to the present day) and overlaps Gassendi’s northern rim. The pairing of Gassendi and Gassendi A resembles a diamond ring and makes a very striking feature to observe 3 days after first quarter or two days after last quarter of lunation. My observation was nearly three days after first quarter.

Gassendi’s southern rim was swallowed by the lava of Mare Humorum leaving only a thin crest line to support its circular shape. Dorsa ran from the southern rim to Gassendi O (11 km wide). The sharp ridge that defines the border of Mare Humorum to the SW of Gassendi adds to the crater’s unmistakable identification.

At the beginning of my session, Spica and Saturn lined up to align with the Moon. Spica was 2.08 degrees north of the Moon and Saturn was 6.9 degrees north of the Moon. Extending further north, Arcturus was nearly in line as well at 31.8 degrees north of the Moon

An Interesting Contrast – Riccioli and Grimaldi Craters

Riccioli and Grimaldi Craters
Riccioli and Grimaldi Craters
Move cursor over image to view labels.


After a bit of a slump, I decided to get out & observe a little of our Moon. On the lunar west limb I spotted 2 craters that appeared so different from one another that I was intrigued. I knew that one was Grimaldi but was not certain about the other. I sat down to sketch at the eyepiece on a night of good seeing conditions in Hawaii.

Riccioli Crater is the large (140 km) lunar impact crater at the western terminus of the sketch. It is bordered to the southeast by the larger (230 km) Grimaldi & to the northwest by Hevelius. Hedin is still in the darkness and only the edge becoming lit.

Riccioli appears elongate with rough crater walls casting sharp jagged shadows into the basin. There is also visible roughness & debris within the crater. This debris & other striated formations in the region are believed to have been created by ejecta from the formation of the Orientale impact basin to the southwest not seen here. The roughness of Riccioli is in stark contrast to Grimaldi which appears smooth by comparison. Grimaldi, covered in lava makes it appear more like a mare than a crater.

There appears to be a dark line or peak running from Riccioli to crater Lohrmann directly to the east. Multiple small brightly lit rimmed craters surround this area. A double crater with 2 bright rims of light can be seen at the northeast edge of Riccioli.

Both Riccioli & Grimaldi craters were named by 17th century Jesuit priests & colleagues Francesco Maria Grimaldi & Giovanni Baptista Riccioli, who were responsible for many of the names given to features on the Moon today.

Thia (Cindy) Krach
12.5” Portaball 169x
Maui, Hawaii
Black Fabriano paper
white & black charcoal pencils

Sirsalis and Damoiseau

Sirsalis and Damoiseau Region

Sirsalis and Damoiseau Region
Hover cursor over image to view labels.


I submit a lunar sketch of the Sirsalis & Damoiseau region bordering Oceanus Procellarum at the western region of the Moon created almost a year ago. What a wonderful area to explore with interesting concentric craters of Damoiseau & the double crater of Sirsalis at this angle of light. Unseen Grimaldi lies in the darkness to the west.

Object: Lunar craters Sirsalis & Damoiseau @ ~13 days lunation
Telescope: 12.5” Portaball 9mm Nagler 169X
Location: Maui Hawaii, 4000 ft elevation
Date: 2/4/12 7:45pm
Medium: Black art paper, white & black charcoal

Thia (Cindy) Krach

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

Comet PanSTARRS and the 1 Day Old Moon

C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) and Crescent Moon
C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) and Crescent Moon

On the evening of March 12, 2013, I was treated to a pleasant view of the 1.26 day old Moon (1.8% illuminated) and comet C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS from 07:00pm to 07:20pm local time Mesa, Arizona. I had an excellent view of the clear western sky and I could see the comet naked eye about 6.5 diameters to the south of the Moon.

To assist in making the rough graphite sketch I used a 5x 50mm finder scope removed from an Orion telescope. After returning home from Arizona to Illinois I made a color drawing from field notes and the graphite sketch. I was planning on a color sketch but the number of colors need and blending seemed too much for the 30 minutes to comet set.


Graphite pencils: 6B, 4B and 2B also black and white pastel pencils on white sketching paper.

Color drawing was made with black and white charcoal pencils and an assortment of color pencils on medium blue paper.

Frank McCabe

NGC 7354 – Planetary Nebula in Cepheus

NGC 7354
NGC 7354 – 225X

2012 08 16, 0400 UT

NGC7354/PK 107+2.1 (4+3b)/H II-705

Planetary nebula in the constellation Cepheus, 22h 40.4m, +61deg17´, 0>20´, m12.9v

Erika Rix – Liberty Hill, Texas

16” Zhumell reflector f/4.5 on a non-tracking Dobsonian mount, Baader Planetarium Hyperion 8-24mm Mark III (75-225x magnification)

82.4°F, 54% H, 9.2 SSE winds, clear, Pickering 6, T 2/6

NGC7354 is a small, slightly faint planetary nebula in Cepheus. Through the telescope, it is located the middle of a star pattern that resembles Sagitta where Delta Sagittae would have been. The star pattern consists of TYC4265-877-1 (m11.7) and USNO J2240137+612011 (m13.2) to the north with TYC4265-347-1 (m10.68) to the south. A strand of three other stars to the west, along with the pattern of stars that resembled Sagitta and NGC7354, resembled the shape of an ear or an ammonite fossil.

75x magnification: Small, soft circular disk, with a hint of slight elongation. O-III adds contrast and there was a hint of brightness in the center of it. A 14.75 magnitude star to the southwest and a 15.3 magnitude star to the southeast of NGC7354 were observed at this magnification just outside of the disk.

225x magnification: A third star with a magnitude of 14.9 was observed just outside of the disk to the west. Using an O-III, the NE and SW edges of the disk were fainter and I could see a brightened edge to the nebula around the rest of the disk with a fainter center. I detected a faint, diffuse haze outside of the brighter borders and there may have been a hint of the central star as it looked slightly grainy in the center of the disk.

Sketches created with AL template, #2 graphite pencil, loaded blending stump with charcoal, super-fine Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen “S”, 0.5mm mechanical pencil.

NGC 7354 - 75X
NGC 7354 – 75X

Occultation of Jupiter by the Moon – December 25, 2012

Occultation of Jupiter - December 25, 2012
Occultation of Jupiter - December 25, 2012

Ocultação de Júpiter pela Lua 25.12.12
Object Name – Planet
Location – Rio de Janeiro / Brasil
Date – 25.12.12 / 20:42 h UTC
Media – graphite pencil, charcoal, white paper, photoshop

Equipament –
130 mm / f 6.9 / EQ2 Newtonian Telescope
Ocular 25 mm Kellner

Crater Goclenius

Crater Goclenius
Crater Goclenius

The seeing was better than usual on November 18th, so I decided to use a high magnification on my C6, and see what would catch my eye.

Near the edge of Mare Fecunditatis, craters Gutenberg and Goclenius stood out, with two rimae running in from the north west.

I zeroed in on the crater Goclenius itself. The Rimae run right into it. The shadows were quite stark, revealing the broken down crater walls, and the fractures on the floor were very apparent.

A pencil sketch was done at the eyepice, and a photo taken. The final sketch was then completed at leisure a couple of weeks later.

Crater Goclenius, C6 (150mm SCT, 3 x Barlow)
Adelaide, South Australia, November 18th 2012.
Medium is charcoal on white paper.


Omega Nebula M17

Messier 17
Messier 17

file name – “1280 m17 omega joong_asod”
object Name – Omega Nebula M17
object Type – Omega Nebula M17
Location – But-gogae Gosong-ri Yangdong-myeon Yangpyeong-gun Gyeonggi-do S.KOREA
Media – pencil, charcoal , white Paper(croquis book)

XQ 10″ Dob / Explore 9mm 100′(2 inch) / Orion UltraBlock(NarrowBand 2inch)

Supplemental Image Link

Crater Clavius

Crater Clavius
Crater Clavius

This sketch is of the 220km diameter crater Clavius, which is near the lunar South Pole. The orientation of this sketch is is with North to the bottom, so the crater Rutherford is at the top left, and Porter is at the bottom left.

The sketch was done from a photo taken in Adelaide, South Australia, on 2012-05-30, when the moon was 67% illuminated. The telescope was a 150mm SCT.

Medium is charcoal on white paper.


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
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.

M51 Revisited

Messier 51
Messier 51
Messier 51 - Revisited
Messier 51 - Revisited


One of my favorite objects to observe on dark, excellent seeing nights is M51 & companion galaxy NGC 5195. Seeing was excellent on the night of 3/19/12 & I sketched prominent features of the galaxies from the scope using a red light to see the paper. After returning inside for the night I decided to clean up my sketch & enhance some of the features I made notes on. A few nights later I went back to check on my accuracy.

Although I could see a lot of detail with my 12.5” Portaball, I realized I had over enhanced my sketch. I then stayed at the scope to remove the enhancements that were not accurate. This was a good learning experience for me. It is sometimes difficult to observe & stay dark adapted even with red light, and my visual acuity isn’t what it once was. In the future I plan to sketch, make notes, clean up the sketch with better light but then return to the subject to verify what I have truly observed.

(Cyn)Thia Krach

Object: M51 & NGC 5195
Object Type: Galaxy
Location: Maui, Hawaii ~4,000 elevation
Date: 3/19/12 9:20pm, second sketch 3/25/12
Media: White paper, charcoal & charcoal pencils, graphite. Inverted with Photoscape

Eye of the Monster

Omega Centauri
Omega Centauri

Hello all,

The atmosphere appears to be finally drying out here on the east coast of Australia. Viewing from near home on the 24th of April, DSO’s were noticeably easier to see and make out detail in. The clearest for a very long time.

Thought I’d tackle a Monster too. This one’s been taunting me for some time. Teasing through the mushy viewing during the last year. It’s “Eye” staring back in defiance.

Here is my shot at Omega Centauri using my 17.5″. So mind numbingly complex in structure. It’s core shows it’s “eye” looking back, which is washed out in long exposure photos. This is Omega’s most outstanding signature feature.

Alex M.

Object: Omega Centauri, NGC 5139
Scope: 17.5″ push-pull dob
Gear: 16mm Unitron Konig, 125X
Date: 24th March 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Media: Pastels, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper.
Time: 2.5hrs

Moon Halo and Jupiter

Moon Halo and Jupiter

Object: Moon Halo & Jupiter – 22 degree Halo around the moon
Object type: Moon & reflected light phenomenon, Jupiter
Location: Maui Hawaii
Date December 3,2011
Media: Charcoal pencil & sketch paper, Photoscape used to invert white to black

I walked outside tonight & beheld this lovely phenomenon I have observed many times here in Hawaii. I had always assumed it was a “Moonbow” but on further research realize it is a 22 degree Halo around the moon. Rough measurements were made using my fingers & fist for the degree of bow around the moon as well as distance of Jupiter from the halo to the North East. The inner halo is very distinct as a white rim that fades outward, and the inner area is darker than the outer. The ring around the moon is caused by the refraction of ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. The shape of six sided hexagonal ice crystals results in the focusing of the light into a ring.

The Orion Nebula

Messier 42 and 43
Messier 42 and 43


I recently discovered Astronomy Sketch of the Day, and since I just started sketching I wanted to share my Orion Nebula sketch.

This is M42 and M43 in the constellation of Orion.
Diffuse nebula
Sketch was done in Plattsburgh, NY
Done on February 19, 2012
Large sketch pad, 2H pencil for the stars and Charcoal 557-6B ex. soft for the nebula itself, used a smudge stick to fan out the nebula. Scanned into computer and smoothed out with Gimp to remove the paper texture and round out the stars.

Used a Celestron Omni XLT 150 Reflector with a 25mm eyepiece giving me 30x magnification.
Very clear skies, 4/5 transparency, 2/5 seeing, 30°F.

-Mike Rector

Maia Moon

Gibbous Moon
Gibbous Moon

My 9 year old daughter Maia was out exploring the moon last night through our 8” Dobsonian. She used 14mm & 27mm eyepieces to observe the January 1st, 2012 moon. She recorded details using an Astro Sketch form I had on hand.
The night was clear & seeing was good, and in her words “The craters were huge”

Object – Moon
Date – 1/1/2012
Place – Maui, Hawaii
Telescope – 8” Orion SkyQuest
Media – Graphite pencil & charcoal on white paper