Messier 51 and NGC 5195

Messier 51 and NGC 5195
Messier 51 and NGC 5195

ASOD: ” M51 and NGC 5195″

Object Name: Messier 51 and NGC 5195

Object Type: Galaxy

Date: 04/12/15

Location: A Coruña, Galicia. Spain.

Media: pencil, white paper, color invert with Gimp.

Dobson 305 mm and Vixen LVW 17 mm (88x)

Seein: 2/5 (regular-bad)

This is my draw of this beautiful pair of galaxies. That night the seeing was not very good and Jupiter vision was suffering a lot, so I pointed at some galaxies. My north sky has some luminic contamination so the sky background is not totally dark. Nonetheless M51 shows a very contrasted image. I could see two arms and a darker space between them. The end of the arm opposite to NGC 5195 had weaker light but the arm that touches 5195 was clearly visible. A wonderful sight¡¡

Lost in the Small Magallanic Cloud

The Small Magellan Cloud, a dwarf irregular satellite galaxy of the Milky Way
The Small Magellan Cloud, a dwarf irregular satellite galaxy of the Milky Way

Object Name: Small Magallanic Cloud
Object Type: Galaxy
Location: Argentina, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Monasterio
Date: 22/11/2014 Time 22:30 Hs
Media (graphite pencil, white paper, digital tools.
Telescopio: Reflector 130-900 Eq2 motorizado.
Eyepiece: BST 18MM (50X)
Seeing: 6/10.
En esta epoca del Año, las Pequeña nube de Magallanes, se encuentra a un elevacion 50º, permitiendo una observacion muy comoda. La idea de la observacion era registrar e identificar diferentes objetos de la Nube Menor asi como tambien de sus alrededores.
Dentro de la Galaxia pude observar 4 objetos:
NGC 330 : Cumulo Globular.
NGC 346: Region H II.
NGC 371: Cumulo Abierto con nebulosidad.
Estos 3 objetos ubicados en la parte inferior izquierda de abajo hacia arriba.
Por otra parte, en la parte centrar de la galaxia, pude detectar una region compuesta por un Cumulo Abierto con Nebulosidad denominado N19.
Lo interesante de esta region en el cielo es que es muy rica en objetos, muy cerca de la Pequeña Nube de Magallanes, se encuentran dos Cumulos Globulares, NGC 104 y NGC 362, estos dos objetos, fueron incluidos en el Skech a pesar de que no entran en el campo del eyepiece, pero realmente es una zona del cielo muy rica en objetos y no podia dejarlos fuera del skech

Traslator Google:
Telescope: Reflector Eq2 motorized 130-900.
Eyepiece: BST 18MM (50X)
Seeing: 6/10.
This time of year, the Small Magellanic Cloud, is an elevation 50 °, allowing a very comfortable observation. The idea was to record the observation and identify different objects in the Cloud Minor as well as its surroundings.
Inside the Galaxy could see four items:
NGC 330: Globular Cumulo.
NGC 346: H II Region.
NGC 371: Cumulo Open with nebulosity.
These three objects located in the lower left bottom upwards.
Moreover, in the part center of the galaxy, I could detect a region composed of an Open Cumulo with Nebulosity called N19.
The interesting thing about this region in heaven is that it is very rich in objects near the Small Magellanic Cloud, are two Clusters Globular, NGC 104 and NGC 362, these two items were included in the Skech though do not enter the field eyepiece, but it really is an area rich sky objects and could not leave them out of skech.

Small Magellanic Cloud

The Small Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf irregular galaxy interacting with our Milky Way galaxy.
The Small Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf irregular galaxy interacting with our Milky Way galaxy.

Object: Small Magellanic Cloud

Date: 01. 06. 2013.

UT.: 22h51m-23h42m

Equipment: 120/600 Sky-Watcher achromatic refractor, star diagonal

Mag.: 15x

FOV: 8˚ x 8˚

S = 8 / 10 T = 5 / 5

Observer: János Gábor Kernya

Location: Farm Isabis – Red house (Namibia)

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy

Messier 51 (NGC 5194) and NGC 5195
Messier 51 (NGC 5194) and NGC 5195

Object Name: M51
Object Type: Galaxy
Location: Morella (Spain)
Date: 30/07/2014 – 22:18 UTC
Media: white paper, graphite pencil, 7B, HB, scanned and inverted with Paint
Equipment: GSO Newton 6″ f/5 + Hyperion 13mm (57x)
Sky conditions: Very good seeing and transparency, no light pollution and clear sky

Notes: At the eyepiece field I can see two white cores of different brightness and size, surrounded by a faint and grey nebulosity. M51B(smallest galaxy) has elliptical nebulosity and M51A has round nebulosity. It’s not difficult reveal two spiral arms around M51A’s core, which one of them ends in M51B. This is my first astronomy sketch.

Thank you.

M31 and M32 from the city

The Great Andromeda Galaxy, Messier 31 and satellite galaxy, Messier 32
The Great Andromeda Galaxy, Messier 31 and satellite galaxy, Messier 32

Object Name: M31 y M32
Object Type: Galaxy
Location: Leioa (Bizkaia) – Spain
Date: 2014-02-05 / 21h 15m U.T.
Media: White paper, 4B, 2B y HB graphite pencil, scanned and inverted with Photoshop
Telescope: Celestron OMNI 127 XLT
Eyepiece: Skywatcher LET 25mm (50X)
Transparency: Clear, City Skies.
Location Constellation: Andromeda
Assessments: M31 appears as a soft spot with a faint gray color, with a rounded shape. M32 looks like a star faded, dull and dim. clearly within the field only saw it 6 stars, I could sometimes see some more but very faint.
Comentarios: M31 aparece como una suave mancha, con un tenue color gris, con una forma redondeada. M32 parece una estrella difuminada, sin brillo y muy tenue. claramente dentro del campo solo veía 6 estrellas, aveces podía ver algunas mas, pero muy tenues.

For more details of my observation, you can visit my blog:

Thank you and best regards

The Vortex

Messier 51
Messier 51

May 5, 2013 I think I had a NELM alamost 6 mag (at my home in small Twon) .. marvelous night! Amazing clarity – good transparency and windless sky, … did an atmosphere very stable,

I’ve seen the spiral arms inside the hallo surrounded the white core of Wirlpool Galaxy.
The hallo was built of black and white swirls, they where quite visible .. definitely I’ve seen a bridge between the M51 and NGC 5195 and a few stars in the background!
I recommend You to observe this object in all apertures, it is always… beautiful!
Yours Robert

Object Name: M51
Object Type (Galaxy)
Location (Oborniki, suburbia, Poland)
Date (05-may-2013)
Equipment: Newtonian telescope 409/1800 (Capella 41), ES 14mm eyepiece
Object: – Artist: Robert Twarogal (Ignisdei)


Messier 51
Messier 51

I made this sketch of M51 with a 625mm (25″) dobson in a starparty located in the Margériaz, France.
The seeing was not really good and there was a few high clouds passes during my observation.

Object Name: M51

Object Type: Galaxy

Location: Margériaz, France

Date: 6th July 2013

Media: graphite pencil (3B, 2H and 4H) on 180g white bristol, then Photoshop CS6 for the inversion and stars processing.

Have a nice day

José Rodrigues

Arp 254

Arp 254
Arp 254

Another from the early hours of morning, Arp 254 a lot going on here beyond my sketch, but knowing of the interaction taking place and seeing the start of the bridge is quite an amazing thing if you think about it!

I have a little back log of sketches that I need to get out to you, I just did this one as it was a single and I wrote the blog pretty quickly!


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

Keep up to date with observations from Chippingdale Observatory by reading the Blog

Messier 51

Messier 51
Messier 51
Equipo Tubo New 10’ ’ Dobson Telrad y codo 9x Ocul. 30mm-40x-2ºca Barlow 2x
Objeto NGC 5194 Galaxia Clase: SA(s)bc pec, II-III Mag. 8.5 B. super. 13.1 Tamaño 11’ x 8’
Situación CVn AR: 13h 30m 29.6s DE: +47º 07′ 47″ Elevación del objeto +70º aproximados

M 51 in interaction with its companion (NGC 5195) is one of the most beautiful images that gives us the sky for amateur astronomers. In a moderately good sky and with a half-open tube appreciate how the disks of these galaxies are playing.

Two spiral galaxies are located in the northern constellation of Canes Venatice, about 3 ° away from the star Alkaid (eta UMa). Its location is easy as can be distinguished in the search box 9x as a tiny gray haze. With letters from mag. 6.5 takes me a couple minutes to find them.

Also called the Whirlpool Galaxy, M 51 is a very bright object with a bright nucleus, where it descends gradually to the outside light to get lost in a blur round irregular contour. The brightness of the disk is irregular with signs of spiral arms.

It’s pretty big, about 8 ‘, in relation to the eyepiece of actual field 1, and its shape is round, somewhat flattened perhaps because we see her face.

Attached to the contour Visibly M 51 NGC 5195 is another spiral galaxy about 2 ‘in size, round and rather less luminous than its companion.

Another feature that is seen in M 51 is a little star superimposed in the middle of your disk.

Scattered throughout the field there are several bright stars and about 15 ‘of the galaxy, the more brightness of all.

The 80x I get the best view and choose to do the part. Also alternate direct vision and diverted.


• Media: Graphite Pencil HB 2, torchon 1 and 130g drawing sheet

• inverted colors with GIMP 2.8

Peter Villamiel

Alcorcón 13/05/2013

M51 from Mauna Kea

Messier 51
Messier 51

M51 dessinée au T400, au sommet du Mauna Kea à 4200m d’altitude (Hawaii) juin 2012.
Une expérience rare, un seeing exceptionnel.



French-English translation by Google Translate

M51 T400 drawn at the top of Mauna Kea at 4,200 m altitude (Hawaii) in June 2012. A rare experience, an exceptional seeing.



Interacting Galaxies

NGC 5560 / 5566
NGC 5560 / 5566

Object Name: NGC 5560 / 5566 in Virgo
Object Type: Interacting galaxies
Location: Sourbrodt, Belgium
Date: 16th May 2012, 23h UT
Media: graphite pencil on white paper, digital scan & interverted
Optics: SCT C11 f/10, CGEM mount, Hyperion 10mm (280x), FOV 15 arcm , SQM-L 21.2


This sketch was made at one of the few remaining dark locations in Belgium under almost perfect atmospheric conditions. This nice galaxy duo was quite striking with NGC 5566 the most brightest, moderate nucleus and a slightly elongated halo oriented NNE. With averted vision the halo is slightly more bright on southwest side with hint of curve southside. Nearby NGC 5560 is clearly visible as bright and elongated patch of light without obvious core or halo.

This galaxy duo is known as Arp 286 and actually consists of three members, the third faint one being NGC 5569 but not noticed during the observation. Observing this kind of objects allows you to challenge the limits of your optics and are highly rewarding for averted vision observations!

Clear skies!


Siamese Twins and a Friend

NGC 4567, 4568 and 4564
NGC 4567, 4568 and 4564

Object Name The Siamese Twins; NGC 4567 & NGC 4568 with NGC 4564
Object Type: Spiral Galaxies in Virgo (Colliding)
Location: West Desert, Utah
Date: May 12th, 2012
Media: Gray and White Pastels on Black Paper with brush
Equipment: 14 inch Dob, 27mm Panoptic, 14mm Pentax, 10mm Pentax (all with Type I Paracorr).
Sky Conditions: Clear, cold, Antoniadi I
Time: 01:20am MDT or 0720 UT
NGC 4567 is mag. 11.3 with a size of 3.0’x2.0′. NGC 4568 has a mag. of 10.8 and is 4.6’x2.0′ in size; NGC 4564 is mag. 11.1 with a size of 3.5’x1.5.
Notes: This was my last sketch of the night as we felt the moon was going to rise about 1:40 a.m. or so but in reality, it did not come up until after 2:10a.m. NGC 4567 is the northern most galaxy of the two that are colliding. It is rather bright, and fairly small in size. It is more roundish in nature than its colliding companion. NGC 4567 has a higher surface brightness than NGC 4568.
NGC 4568 is the southern member of the colliding galaxies here. It is pretty bright and rather large and is elongated SSW to NNE. The core is very bright.
NGC 4564 actually should be just a little more off, but I ran out of paper and wanted it included in the sketch. It is smaller in size than the other two, and is bright. Like NGC 4568 it is elongated but SW to NE. There is outer diffusion and then a brighter core region with a stellar nucleus.

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

Antennae Galaxies

NGC 4038, 4039
NGC 4038, 4039

Object Name: NGC4038 and NGC4039
Object Type: The Antennae Galaxies (Corvus)
Location: Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma
Date: 30. June 2011, 11:50 PM
Media: Chalk pencil on black paper
Observer: Christian Rausch
Telescope: 12inch/F5 Dobson (Hofheim Instruments)

– SQML = 21,65 mag/arcsec*2, seeing ok, Temp. +12C
– 165x (Nagler 9mm)

The Roque de los Muchachos is one of the best places to observe the night sky and main base of the European Northern Observatory.

It was impressive experience to spend the night on the top of the 2450m high Volcano and in between observatories like Galileo Galilel, William Herschel, Isaac Newton or the GTC.

Best Regards

Stellar Explosion in The Whirlpool

Object : Supernova SN2011dh in Spiral Galaxy M51
Date : June 08, 2011
Time : 12:30-02:00 LST/ 07:30-09:00 UT
Location : Aguila, Arizona USA
Gear : Binoculars 25 x 100 and CPC1100 XLT with 25mm Plossl
Detector : Visual Sketch
Magnitude : 8.5 for M51 and 14.9 for SN2011dh(
Weather : Clear sky, no winds, low 70’s and quiet as a mouse!
Comments :
It’s interesting to ponder in awe, how a star that has turned into a supernova some 30 million light years distant is just NOW reaching our immediate universe, our light buckets our dilated pupils! This recently discovered supernova cataloged SN2011dh and found on May 31, 2011, might not last long. It’s believed to be diminishing in magnitude with a possible viewing window of some weeks or perhaps a couple of months. If you would like to get a glimpse of it, my suggestion is- don’t wait any longer!
With mounted binoculars it is quite easy to pick up M51 as it appears elongated and fuzzy. Some fidgetting of the eyeball around the circumference of the oculars and it’s companion NGC5195 emerges just as well. Both gravitationally interacting galaxies seem like puffs of smoke with their nucleus showing a hint of brightness.There are no noticeable spiral arms, no connecting bridge or other discernable features- not even the main attraction SN2011dh.
All this will change when I prepare the 11 inch SCT and aim it at the said subject with a 25mm Plossl. Yes, I had tried a 10mm and a 32mm but the 25mm gave me the best results. Peering down the eyepiece, Hazy blotches but distinct spiral structures are emanating from the soft glowing core of M51. Of the two major spiraling limbs, the one stretching all the way to NGC5195 or the one with the southeast orientation, will be the one sporting the newly discovered supernova. Four tiny specks of starlight ranging in magnitude from 13 -15 located on the southwest side of the Whirlpool and lined-up from East to West are clearly visible when using the cone receptors within the corners of your eyeballs. Averted vision here my friends, or you will miss the whole point. No pun intended! From recent photo submissions to various popular social websites, I made a mental note to see the whereabouts or location of SN2011dh. It’ll be nested on the spiral arm which embraces NGC5195 or the one facing the southeast coordinates.Much better seeing than explaining but after plotting their correct places among the broken segments of spiral arcs- one of the specks surely did fell where the photos had indicated it should be! I concluded my quest and my sketching for the night was done. Enjoy!

Dark and clear skies to all,

Juanchin 😀

Magnitude 13.4 and Rising

Object names: SN2011by, NGC 3972, NGC 3977
Object types: supernova, galaxy, galaxy pair
Location: Cherry Springs Dark Sky Park, Pennsylvania
Date: May 5, 2011
Media: digital

16” Dobsonian, 75-300x. The supernova SN2011by is the brightest star in the field. It is superimposed on the NE edge of the elongated galaxy NGC 3972, just to the left of the galaxy’s core in the drawing. The round galaxy is NGC 3977, in which recorded supernovae occurred in 1946 and 2006.

As of this writing, supernova 2011by is still the brightest currently in the sky, and still rising at magnitude 12.5. The magnitude in the sketch title refers to the time of my observation. It is in NGC 3972 right next to Gamma Ursae Majoris. This is very nice intermediate-inclination spiral that I saw last year with my 4”. I still retain the mental image of a nicely elongated blob. It can now serve me as something that supernova photographers would call the “pre-discovery image.” SN2011by was discovered at the end of April. At the redshift distance of NGC 3972 (46 Mly) it should become mag. 11.5, according to my rough calculations, and at the mean Tully-Fisher distance from NED (18 Mpc) it should still become 12.0. I.e. it might become a worthy target for “department-store scopes.”

I was curious about the structure in the host galaxy, which is featured in The de Vaucouleurs Atlas as a paradigmatic SA(s)bc. The southwest edge, which is opposite the supernova, is the one closest to us, judging by the photos. I thought that with some appropriate effort expended, the arm running along this edge and even some enhancements in it could potentially be visible in a 16”. But, somewhat disappointingly, all I could see was this edge being sharper than the one with the supernova. The view was essentially identical under a range of magnifications from 100 to 300x. On the other hand, this means that my “post-discovery image” (the view through the 16″) is only subtly different from my “pre-discovery image” (last year’s view throught the 4″), as far as the galaxy itself is concerned.

The field overall is very impressive. Not to mention the supernova, the elongation and asymmetry of NGC 3972 have their counterpoint in the perfect roundness of its apparent companion, NGC 3977. Unlike NGC 3972, this face-on spiral could not be just casually swept up last year with the 4”, and I did not stop to look for it then. NGC 3977 itself was host to two recorded supernovae, 1946A and 2006gs. About them I can only find that 2006gs reached mag 17. The only distance for NGC 3977 in NED is by redshift, 263 Mly. This is far indeed – 5 times farther than NGC 3972, adding to the perceived depth of this remarkable field.

At the eyepiece, I make a schematic in ball pen that records the essential information about positions, sizes, and the contrast, and concentrate on preserving my dark adaptation and building the mental image instead of detailed sketching. Subsequently I use a pressure- and tilt-sensitive digital pen tablet to simulate pencil, blender, and other traditional tools, to create the clean digital drawing, concentrating on conveying the visual appearance of stars and nebulosity.

Well Tuned Antennae

Object Name: NGC 4038/9
Also Known As: H.IV.28, Arp 244, the Antennae, Ring Tail Galaxies
Object Type: Interacting Galaxy Pair
Constellation: Corvus
Right Ascension (2000.0): 12h 01m 53.2s
Declination (2000.0): –18° 52′ 38″
Magnitude: 10.7
Dimensions: 4.5′ x 3.6′
Hubble Class: S?/pec
Distance: 63 million light years
Discovery: William Herschel on 7 February 1785 with 18.7-inch reflector
NGC Description: 4038 – pB, cL, R, vgbM; 4039 – pF, pL

Telescope: Parks Astrolight EQ6 • 6″ f/6 Newtonian Reflector
Eyepiece/Magnification: 7.5mm Parks Gold Series Plössl • 120x • 26′ Field of View
Filter: None
Date/Time: 30 April 2011 • 04:15-05:00 UT
Observing Location: Oakzanita Springs, Descanso, San Diego Co., California, USA
Transparency: NELM 6.2; TLM 14.2
Seeing: Pickering 7-8
Conditions: Clear, calm, cold, humid

This interacting galaxy pair is best located about 50 arc minutes NNE of the fifth magnitude star HD 104337, the brightest star on the western border of Corvus. While you are in the area you might do well to look for NGC 4027 30′ NW of HD 104337 and NGC 3981 68′ WSW of that star. The Antennae would be a challenging target for binocular observers.

At 30x magnification, this galaxy pair appears as a soft asymmetric patch of nebulosity, larger and brighter toward the north, smaller and fainter toward the south, but with no other details readily visible. Another soft, featureless patch of nebulosity may be glimpsed in the same field of view, 42′ away to the SW; this is NGC 4027, an 11th magnitude barred spiral galaxy and a fine target in its own right.

At 60x magnification, the Antennae or Ringtail galaxies are clearly resolved as two separate (though attached) objects. Together they look like a lopsided heart or a bloated “V”, with occasional glimpses of mottling across the face of the nebulosity. At 120x magnification the western rim (shaped like a backward “S”) of the pair is clearly brighter and more distinct than the rest of the object. During moments of good seeing this bright rim breaks into several distinct knots. The central region of NGC 4038 appears almost hollow by comparison; perhaps this is why Herschel catalogued this object as a planetary nebula. Averted vision revealed occasional glimpses of the base of the southern tail.

At 120x magnification NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 share the 26′ field of view with 9th-magnitude TYC 6097-326-1, white, about 6.5′ NW, 10th-magnitude TYC 6097-415-1, orange-red, about 9.5′ S, 11th-magnitude TYC 6097-619-1, yellow-white, about 10.8′ NE, 11th-magnitude TYC 6097-288-1, yellow-orange, about 13′ NNW, and 11th-magnitude TYC 6097-629-1, yellow, about 12.5′ NW. The remaining field stars are in the 12-14 magnitude range.

The sketch presented here depicts the view at high magnification (120x). The sketch has been rotated so that north is up and west is to the right. The sketch was executed with a No. 2 mechanical pencil with 0.5 mm lead, and two blending stumps (8948B, 8941B) on 100 lb. white card stock. The original drawing measures 7½ inches across.

This observation was made from a reasonably dark site (borderline blue-green on LP maps) at an elevation above 4,000 feet. The NELM was estimated at 6.2, the TLM at 14.2 in the vicinity of the target. The seeing conditions were above average (Pickering 7-8), but the humidity was quite high and care had to be taken to prevent dew from accumulating on optics and sketching materials. The temperature was 37°F. The air was very still and the high magnification views very steady.

Connecting the Two Galaxies

Object Name (M51)
Object Type (Galaxy)
Naxxar, Malta
April 2nd, 2011 @ 22:38UT
Graphite pencil, charcoal, blenders, white paper, scanned and inverted using GIMP)

M51 under averted vision.
200mm SCT, f/10, 25mm, eyepiece, 81x, binoviewer, light pollution filter.

On April 2nd, 2011 I spent an hour observing this magnificent Messier object. I have produced the sketch using graphite pencils and blenders on white paper, scanned and inverted the digital image using GIMP. It is based on the intensity sketch shown below drawn at the eyepiece under averted vision.

I wanted to portray the ‘ghostly’ appearence of the two galaxies to mimic the actual eyepiece view. Most of the observing time was spent detecting under averted vision the very faint streak that connects the two galaxies as well as the spiral arms.

Somewhere in Big Bear


In attachment you can find sketch of famous pair of galaxies M81 & M82

Short description:

Object Name M81 – spiral galaxy & M82 – spiral galaxy with bar. Both in Ursa Major
Object Type galaxies
Location Budy Dłutowskie – small village in central Poland
Date 08.02.2011
Media graphite pencil, white paper, color invert
Telescope ATM ATROBINO (two Newtonians 165/650) + two TV Plossl 20mm eyepieces
Seeing 5/5
Transparency 4/5
NELM 6 mag

This time I have some kind of classic 🙂 Famous galaxies M81 & M82 in Ursa Major.
I observed it through the ATM ASTROBINO (two connected newtonians 165/650). It is great instrument for this kind of objects under dark sky.
Both galaxies were clearly visible with some details in Cigar (some “shadows” in the structure) . M81 – disk with brighter core, no more details observed.

Clear sky

Exploding with Detail

M82 is also cataloged as Arp 337, which is a good indication that there’s something unusual about its shape and means that interesting things are going on here. Indeed, it’s an especially vigorous starburst galaxy and has a bi-polar outflow from it core region that’s clearly depicted in many high quality images. This galaxy has a high surface brightness and is well seen in almost (any) size telescope, but the outflow is difficult to see except in silhouette to the brighter galaxy in the background. I was fortunate to have a particularly nice view of this energetic galaxy on February 25, 2011, and what follows is an account of my observation and sketch:

A rare clear February night – on a Friday no less – graced Oregon skies on the 25th so I headed out to my good friend Chuck’s place in the Coast Range mountains west of Portland for a few hours of observing. When I got there I was treated to a pristine, unspoiled and completely overcast sky – what?! It was perfectly clear when I left home for crying out loud! A solitary cloud sprang up right over Chuck’s place late in the day, and even though I saw it forming I was sure it would clear off by dark. Nope.

After waiting a couple of hours the sky started to clear. Feeling optimistic I set up my 28 inch f/4 scope – Chuck’s scope was already patiently waiting under a tarp – and by the time I was ready the sky was 100% clear. Sometimes we get lucky! There was about 4 or 5 inches of snow except on the gravel driveway – fortunately the snow there had melted earlier in the day.
After trying out my new DGM NPB filter on M42 – most excellent – I eventually settled on sketching M82. The conditions were quite nice with surprisingly good transparency and seeing. SQM readings were in the 21.25 to 21.35 range for most of the night. Temperatures fell slowly until a low of 17F at 2am when we called it a night. The Moon was coming up about then and revealed high clouds covering most of the sky, so we had gotten the best part of the night. More good luck.

As soon as I got M82 in the scope it was immediately apparent how good the conditions were because the galaxy was “exploding” with detail. I kept putting on more magnification, and until I got to 816x I kept seeing more internal detail. Most of my sketch was done at 408x and I used higher powers to help confirm some of the smaller and more difficult details. The most pleasing view was at 408x anyway so I really enjoyed the process of making this sketch. Chuck came over and soaked in the view for a while and agreed it was one of the better views he’d had of M82 too.

As always, I saw more than expected simply because I put a good effort into sketching. I don’t recall seeing the small details near the core on either side of the dividing central dark lane before but they sure stood out well tonight. I was also surprised how little the NPB and OIII filters dimmed this galaxy. The filters didn’t reveal other details, M82 just didn’t dim as much as most galaxies do.

The sketch is a result of about 90 minutes active drawing at the eyepiece and then I cleaned it up a bit the next day before inverting it. I used an HB lead pencil and an eraser for the original sketch. I tried a slight variation of my usual technique – I had a piece of stiff cardboard behind the page of my notebook I was drawing in and that gave me a little more control over my sketch. I’m impressed by the result because the raw sketch was much nicer looking in the light of day then normal. It could be a fluke, but I’ll keep at it until I know for sure.

Howard Banich

The Large Magellanic Cloud

The Large Magellanic Cloud
Ilford NSW Australia
Televue 76mm Apo refractor
Field: 317′
Magnification: 31x
Sky quality meter reading: 21:77

Black Canford paper
White pen
White pencil
Paint brush
White pastel chalk
White pastel pencil

If there is ever an excuse to expound the virtues of a fine quality rich field refractor, then a wide field panorama of the LMC would have to be it.
I have had a number of people just “blown away” by the experience of virtually capturing the entire vista of this magnificent dwarf galaxy in the one field that
I decided whenever the time was right, I will have to attempt a sketch.

The 31mm Nagler I used for this effort was almost as big as the telescope, but the view it gives is a truly noble experience.

At the top of the sketch and very conspicuous is the Tarantula Nebula (NGC 2070).
The rest of the field is strewn with a plethora open clusters and nebulosity to numerous to mention here.

The sketch took quite some time to complete and was very tedious.
However it can never replace the actual visual splendor of this object.

The Large Magellanic Cloud was first mentioned in literature as far back as 964AD.
Amerigo Vespucci recorded observations of it in 1503-04.

Ferdinand Magellan during his voyage in 1519 noted it, and it now bears his name.

The LMC was home to supernova 1987A, the only naked eye supernova visible for over 400 years.

Scott Mellish

The Big Cigar

Messier 82 (the Cigar) is the smaller member of the Bode’s Galaxy pair.

About 600 million years ago a Cigar ‘s brother (M81 Galaxy) destroyed
regularity of the galactic-structure, by his strong gravity

Due to their proximity a millions of stars explode as supernovae,
ejecting a huge quantity of matter in the tens of thousands light years
Las night I saw this deformed galaxy with magnification 165 x. The Cigar
like high power and need a good seeing and contrast. So I used 11
“Schmidt – Cassegrain on CGEM mount and the Sky-watcher eyepiece.
This sketch represent more than 40 minutes of staring at the white line
in the dark.

Yours sincerely Robert

Object Name: The Big Cigar
Object Type (Galaxy)
Location (Oborniki, suburbia, Poland)
Date (08-02-2011)
Equipment: 11” Schmidt – Cassegrain on CGEM, SWA SW 17mm
Autor: Ignisdei (Robert Twarogal)

The Great Andromeda Galaxy and Her Attendants

Object Name M31/32/110
Object Type Galaxy, dwarf galaxy
Location la Ferme des étoiles, Gers, France
Date 16/07/2010
Media black paper, pastel
A nice night in an astronomy center. I didn’t have the time to make with precision the details, the periphery of the galaxy is less brighter than on the sketch and black region less dark too. The sky was nice, with a little bit light pollution. fujinon 25×150. Think’s to François Couturier who let me practice with this big binoculars !

clear sky,

Down the Whirlpool

NGC 5194/5195 (M-51)
The “Whirlpool Galaxy”
Interacting galaxies
Ilford NSW Australia
41cm f4.5 dobsonian telescope
Field: 23′
Magnification: x210
Canes Venatici

Black Canford paper
White pen
White pencil
White pastel chalk
Blending stump
Paint brush

What can I say about the Whirlpool Galaxy?

At my location Messier 51 is at a little over +47 deg, so it is about as far north as I can go without getting ridiculous, especially when there is a big chunk of glass sitting at the bottom of the telescope.
At this extreme declination I only require a modest chair to sit on as the object is so low in the northern sky.

I done this sketch in 2006 in my old 41cm dob, which was before I purchased a sky quality meter so information on the “seeing” conditions is a bit scant.

However the northern sky from my site always seems to look a bit hazy down low despite the fact that there is no major city in that direction except from the
rural township of Mudgee some 40km away.

I best leave any thoughts on my interpretation of NGC 5194/5195 for those who observe it far higher in the sky than me.

Scott Mellish

Dancing in the Virgo Supercluster

NGC 5566/5569/5560
Ilford NSW Australia
56cm f5.0 dobsonian telescope
Field: 17′
Magnification: 354x
Sky quality meter reading: 21:38

Black Canford paper
White pen
White pencil
White pastel chalk
Fine tip paint brush

From the Realm Of The Nebulae comes this interesting trio of relatively bright galaxies.

From the top of the sketch we have NGC 5569 followed by NGC 5566 (Arp 286) and at the bottom is
NGC 5560.

Deep images show that these galaxies are interacting, with the dominant member being NGC 5566.

One of the best images of this little combination featured on APOD recently
and shows them in all their glory.

Though I would have to say that sketching materials are a lot less expensive than fitting oneself of with CCD gear.

Scott Mellish

Light in the Heart of Darkness

Hi gentlemen,
I propose to day not a showpiece, but a part of it: the dark lane of NGC 5128, Centaurus A, aka The radio galaxy.
Most of the time, when they sketch this galaxy, amateur astronomers resume the dark lane by a black and narrow patch, with one or two details.
But if you can observe it through a big scope, under good skies, and at high power, you will discover a world in itself.
A river with a long and narrow island in the middle, several regions where the depth is strong, and consequently the color of the water in these parts totally dark, but other places with shallow water and the bottom visible in more or less grey color.
There are also some isolated settlements with small lights, and even a village with a hazy spot of non resolved lights on the north shore. A strange thing with this river is its two rivermouths, one at each end!
Of course, this is a rather poetic description, where stars are the lights of settlements, the opacity the consequence of the depth of the water, and so and.
But, really, it’s worth it: you might believe it if you stay a long time at the eyepiece, as I did with a 20” Obsession, at Tivoli Lodge, Namibia.
Have a good dream…
Bertrand Laville, from Marseille / France

A Vision of Andromeda Galaxy

Hello friends,

A vision of M31 through a 40mm eyepiece. The view was fascinating.

Object Name: M31 Andromeda Galaxy
Location: Benacebada, Granada (Spain)
Date: 2010.07.09
Media: graphite pencil, white paper. Inverted with PS

Telescope: 16″ Dob. The observing conditions: with new moon, the seeing and transparency excellent.

I hope you like it!

Visita nuestra web de Leonor y Fernando:

Swing Your Partner

Object Name: The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51, NGC 5194 – 95, Arp 85)
Object Type: Interacting galaxies
Telescope: 28 inch f/4 alt-az Newtonian
Location: Star Party, RTMC
Date: June 2009 to July 2010 (total of seven hours observing/sketching spread out over six nights)
Media: HB graphite pencil on white acid free Canson paper (8 inch x 5 inch sketch book). Inverted sketch created in Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Back in March 2009 I had perhaps my best view ever of the Whirlpool Galaxy, M51, but was too lazy to start sketching. It was a great sight – blazingly bright spiral arms full of star clouds, and the companion galaxy was wreathed in a veil of faint, “E” shaped nebulosity. Frankly, the amount of detail was a bit overwhelming to start a sketch.

That lost opportunity got me going however and I began my “big M51” sketch in June 2009 at the Golden State Star Party. I’ve continued adding detail at every opportunity since then.

My intent with this sketch was to see and accurately record as much detail as possible with my 28 inch f/4 alt-az Newtonian, and that I would take as long as needed to give it my best effort. After a total of seven hours observing over six nights, which were spread out over a year, I’ve come up with the attached sketch. There’s more to see so I anticipate adding a few more details over time.

I started off with a blank page in my 8 inch by 5 inch notebook. My notebook is more of a sketch book that I also take notes in so I like to start with a blank page – no eyepiece circles. This gives me the freedom to expand or contract my sketch and take notes as needed for a particular object. Because of M51’s size and amount of detail I used an entire 8” x 5” page for my sketch.

After observing the Whirlpool for about five to ten minutes at low to medium powers (105x to 253x) I began lightly sketching by starting at the brightest and most distinctive areas. I then extended the light pencil marks out until the basic form was captured. This took some back and forth to get the proportions correct, and involved one do-over. A good eraser was as valuable as the right pencil.

Once the full form was adequately sketched in I started paying attention to small scale details, again working from the brightest area outward. At this point I was using higher powers as the seeing allowed. Specifically, I used magnifications from 408x to 816x, but most of the time I was in the 408x to 438x range. To see the most stellar-like points I used 710x to 816x.

I built up the basic outline and filled in most of the major details within the first two hours of my sketch in June 2009. The next five hours of observing and sketching were spread out over four different nights in May and July 2010, and at times I used photos of M51 to help track down subtle and faint details that would have otherwise been missed. The most subtle detail I detected with without specific photographic aid were the dark lanes running on the inside of the main spiral arms. Also, two faint background galaxies (IC 4277 and IC 4278) are shown in the upper right area of the sketch. 4278 was fairly easy to see but 4277, the one on the far right, required a big effort with averted vision to detect. In deep photos this is a small edge on galaxy. SQM readings for my observing sessions ranged from 21.4 to 21.7.

My sketch was made almost entirely at the eyepiece, with only some blending of discrete pencil lines and cleaning up the star points done later.

Best of all this effort has inspired me to start a series of “big” sketches of my favorite objects. Currently in the works is an M33 sketch and I look forward to starting on the Trifid Nebula next spring.

Howard Banich

Distant Andromeda

The Andromeda Galaxy & Companion Messier 32

August 11th, 2010

Location: Connecticut, USA (in an orange/red zone)

Drawn with black, grey, and white graphite colored pencil on white paper, with a black uni-ball pen for stars. Photographed with a Panasonic DMC-TZ3 and imported to Photoshop for inverting and touchups.

At time of drawing transparency was below average and so I really had to work hard to eke out any semblance of detail in M31. Aperture helped – I used a 203mm Newtonian for this drawing, even so, the one dust lane was only visible with averted vision. You may notice a strange lack of stars in the field, there are two reasons behind this: one is that too many stars become a distraction and two is that I generally only use them as reference points for my sketch.

Paul Schneider


Object name: NGC 4038/4039 (Arp 244), in Corvus
Object type: Interacting Galaxies
Location: Texas Star Party, Fort Davis, Texas, USA
Date: 12th May 2010
Media: Graphite pencil on white paper, scanned then inverted in
Photoshop Elements 6.0
Equipment: 36″ (91.5cm) f5 Dob, 13mm Televue Ethos (352x),
Conditions: NELM 6.9, Good seeing (Ant II), transparency II-III (where I
=excellent, IV = poor)

I was at the 2010 Texas Star Party and got the opportunity to use a
variety of large scopes, from an 18″ up to a 48″. This sketch of the
Antennae was made while observing with Larry Mitchell’s 36″ f5 Obsession.
Notes: Huge in the eyepiece, bright and full of detail. HII regions are
bright and the tidal tails are seen with relative ease. 4038 is the
larger of the two and its tidal tail is more obvious than that of 4039
which is barely seen.

Faith Jordan

Beautiful Collision

NGC 4038/4039
“The Antennae”
Interacting galaxies
Ilford NSW Australia
56cm f5 dobsonian telescope
Field: 17′
Magnification: 354x
Sky Quality Meter reading: 21:35

Black Canford paper
White oil pencil
White pastel pencil
White pastel chalk
White pen
Blending stump

The interacting galaxies NGC 4038/4039 are always good value in any size

In the 56cm dob there was subtle detail visible without using averted
vision, I just wished the sky conditions were a bit better on the night.

The the protruding “Antennae” that are so spectacular in images were not
visible (which is not surprising).

When you look at the magnificent HST image of this object with all its
associated colours, and then look at the object in a large aperture dob
at fairly high magnification, its shape and form is not too dissimilar.

Scott Mellish