Smiling Christmas Eve Moon & Mars

The conjunction of the crescent Moon and Planet Mars - December 24, 2014
The conjunction of the crescent Moon and Planet Mars – December 24, 2014


Every Christmas Eve, my family treks to the top of Haleakala to feel the chill and look for Santa’s Sleigh. This year we went to the 10,000 el to find it a cold 36*, wet, and blowing rain. After a few minutes we jumped back into the car a bit disappointed, to descend the mountain. Right before the park exit the sky had mostly cleared and the winds calmed. There we hiked under the “smiling” Hawaiian crescent. Chilled cheeks and fingers, it was perhaps one of the nicest Christmas Eves ever. This sketch was drawn from my memory of the evening.

In the winter months the path of the Moon is more parallel with the horizon giving the lunar crescent in Hawaii a bowl or smile like appearance when lit from the already set sun. Ancient Hawaiian’s called this the “wet moon” because it looks like a bowl that could be filled up with rain. As the winter moves into Spring & Summer the crescent shifts to “pour” water onto the land, empties and becomes a “dry moon” once more. Wet moons occur routinely in the tropics where the sun and moon rise and set nearly vertically.

3.5 day old Crescent Moon & Mars
12/24/14 1930 HST
Haleakala National Park, Hosmers Grove
Black Canson paper with colored Conte’ Crayon and watercolor pencils

Cindy (Thia) Krach

Webmaster’s note: Wishing all astrosketchers a Very Happy New Year and looking forward to another year hosting all your wonderful observational sketches!

Richard Handy
Jeremy Perez

Pallas and Ruinous Murchison

Pallas and Murchison
Pallas and Murchison

Dear Lunar fans hope this might be of interest? A study of Pallas and ruinous Murchison I made yesterday evening (January 31, 2012, 2130UT), I was using the Watec 120N+ with the 20″ mirror onto a b&w monitor, very cosy in the -3 temp outdoors, various pastels, pencils and paint were used on black heavy grained art paper.

Best, Dale

Hugh Prom Lift Off SW Limb

This afternoon, I saw a huge prominence lift-off on the sout western limb. I was lucky enough not only to view it but also to sketch it. It all happened so fast, I was amazed by the whole phenomenon!

When: Saturday 19 March 2011
Object name: Prominence SW of the sun’s limb
Location: Arnhem/Holland
Optics: Lunt 60 PT single stack
Eyepiece: 10 mm Pentax XW barlowed with Baader Abbe Zeis 2x
Media: Pastel red Conté a Paris no 3 on Black paper
Seeing : Great

Sketch by: Joost Becker

The Ghost of Jupiter

The Ghost of Jupiter (NGC 3242) Near the Zenith

Sketch and Details by Serge Vieillard

This was an extraordinary adventure with the club. We spent three weeks in May 2010 in Chile, a journey of 5,500 km from Santiago to San Pedro, making many raids on the slopes of the Andean to altitude…. For my part, the use of T400-c (16 inch) is a real pleasure, gear fully adapted to this kind of situation…. The last (night) seems the most faithful to reality, the big globe including the central star was superimposed on the weak part of the expanding debris. The opportunity of the “Ghost of Jupiter” at the zenith was irresistible. The equipment was pushed to the maximum with 575x.

Object: NGC 3242 Planetary Nebula “Ghost of Jupiter” – Artist: Serge Vieillard – Sketch Date: May 2010

Dawn Breaking across Crater Schickard

Crater Schickard
Crater Schickard
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

One of the many large and interesting craters on the visible lunar surface is this 230 km. diameter walled plain crater known as Schickard. This Pre-Nectarian crater is somewhat isolated from craters of equal size. It is the large, shallow floor of Schickard that presents its most interesting features and at the time of this sketch light was just beginning to spread across its floor. Tens of millions of years after this crater formed a much larger impact formed the Orientale basin, blanketing the crater with highland ejecta. This great crater can easily be seen in a modest telescope with good lighting one or two days before full moon.


For this sketch I used: Black Canson sketching paper, 14”x 12”, White and black Conte’ pencils, a blending stump, plastic eraser. After scanning, contrast was increased (+1) using the scanner.

Telescope: 13.1 inch f/5.9 Dobsonian and 9mm eyepiece 218x
Date: 2-26-2010, 1:45 – 2:30 UT
Temperature: 21° C (68° F) clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co-longitude: 57.5°
Lunation: 11.98 days
Illumination: 90.4 %

Observing Location:
+41°37′ +87° 47′
Oak Forest, Il.

Frank McCabe

SDO Launch

SDO Launch
NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory Launch
Sketch and Details by Stephen Ramsden

I know that this is a bit off the wall, but I got so inspired by the SDO going up safely that I decided to sketch it. Hope you like it.

NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory

Atlas V rocket

Cape Kennedy Space Center, FL USA

Feb 11th, 2010

This is colored Conte oil crayons, #2 pencils and a napkin for smudging on black Artagain recycled sketch paper. This sketch was my impression of several frames from the NASA launch video.

I was very thrilled when the SDO launched successfully. I cannot wait until data starts streaming into Goddard Space Flight Center from this, the first mission in NASA’s living with a star program. Great timing too as we have seen such a dramatic uptick in Solar activity the last few weeks.

Stephen W. Ramsden
Atlanta, GA

Mars – January 7, 2010

Mars - January 7, 2010
Mars – January 7, 2010
Sketch and Details by Christian Gros


Ce dessin a été réalisé à l’aide d’une lunette 120ED avec des grossissements allant de x150 à x360, par bonnes conditions mais par un froid polaire de -10°C !
Je me suis servi de crayons pastels sur feuille noire.

Object Name : Mars
Object Type : Planet
Location : Besançon / France
Date : 7 janvier 2010


Christian Gros

Google Language Tools Translation:


This drawing was made using a telescope 120ED with magnifications from x150 to x360, with good conditions but by a polar cold of -10 ° C!
I used pencil crayons on black paper.

Object Name: Mars
Object type: Planet
Location: Besançon / France
Date: January 7, 2010


Christian Gros

Part of Basin Schiller – Zucchius

Basin Schiller - Zucchius
Part of Basin Schiller – Zucchius
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

After 12 cloudy days and nights I was anxious to get out under a clear sky to make an attempt at sketching a lunar target of opportunity. Before selecting a target I noticed the moon was moving through the Pleiades and created a very interesting binocular target. With the moon at 12.5 days into the lunation, the waxing gibbous phase was showing me the Schiller – Zucchius basin very nicely. I centered on two craters to one side of this 3 ringed basin. First the young Copernican period crater Zucchius (65 km.) with its terraced inner walls and shadowed floor looked deeper than its 3.3 km. measured depth because of the light and shadow. Sharing a common wall with this crater is the ancient and similar sized Segner (68 km.). This pre-Nectarian crater looked old and worn. Its rim was low and had nothing in the way of central peaks just a small nearly centered crater Segner H. Extending from the north side of crater Segner’s outer rim is a ridge which is a short wall segment of the second basin ring. What looks much like a shallow depression and measures about the same size as these two craters is the central ring of the basin and can be seen at the lower left (Northeast) in the sketch.
A photo of this entire basin credited to Gary Seronik can be seen on LPOD for October 17, 2004
I found myself sketching quickly in the cold air which was rapidly dropping in temperature as I sketched. After about an hour I considered the sketch finished and returned to the indoor warmth to thaw out.


For this sketch I used: black Canson paper 9″x 12″, white and black Conte’
pastel pencils , and Conte’crayons, a blending stump, plastic and gum erasers. Brightness was not altered but contrast was increased +2 using the scanner for this sketch
Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian with 6mm (241x) eyepiece
Date: 12-29-2009 4:45-5:45 UT
Temperature: -8°C (18°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi IV
Co longitude 60.6°
Lunation 12.7 days
Illumination 90.7%

Frank McCabe

Crater Euclides and Montes Riphaeus

Crater Euclides and Montes Riphaeus

Crater Euclides and Montes Riphaeus
Sketch and details by Frank McCabe

In southern Oceanus Procellarum not far from mare Cognitum you can locate a bright little Copernican era crater that formed after the last of the dark lava had solidified. This little 12 kilometer crater wearing the bright ejecta blanket is Euclides. The bright ejecta makes it easy to pick out at high sun and with a little bit of shadow and high magnification the nearby Riphaeus mountains also show some fine relief. In the upper left of the sketch note the front range of these mountains which date back 4 billion years. These mountains are likely the remains of a very large crater rim that was not completely buried in the lava flooding. Other similar sized and smaller craters in the region also reveal some bright ejecta betraying their young ages. To learn more read the LPOD caption for May 24, 2006.


For this sketch I used: black Canson paper 10″x 12″, white and black Conte’
pastel pencils , and Conte’crayons, a blending stump, plastic and gum erasers. Brightness was decreased -2 and contrast increased +2 using the scanner for this sketch
Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian with 6mm (241x) eyepiece
Date: 11-28-2009 4:15-5:40 UT
Temperature: 0°C (32°F)
Clear becoming partly cloudy, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi II -III
Co longitude 44°
Lunation 11.4 days
Illumination 80.7%

Frank McCabe

Intensity, Energy, and Beauty

AR 1019

Solar h-alpha, Active Region 1019 on June 2nd, 2009
Sketch and Details by Deirdre Kelleghan

Active Region 1019
June 2nd 2009
PST 40 mm / 8mm TVP Up scaled by eye
Pastel, and Conte on black paper
11:00 UT

After several months of drawing tiny proms dancing on the solar limb I was thrilled to see an new active region forming. Experimenting with solar drawing is fun because it is a challenge to achieve accurate details as the view is so tiny. Solar granulation as seen in the h alpha is very difficult to depict. I will continue in pursuit of my goal accuracy in observing and depiction. Drawing helps me understand what I am looking at , which in turn helps me in my efforts to understand the sun.


Dogging the Sun

Dogging the Sun

The Sun in h-alpha, February 16, 2008
By Erika Rix 

2008 02 16

Sun in h-alpha

PCW Memorial Observatory, 40.01/-81.56

Erika Rix

There were several prominences scattered about the limb, visible at different
magnifications. I’ve concentrated at the NNE one, which also had a very small reach
in front of the disk when I tweaked the Etalon.

I should have sketched this area larger, or sharpened my pencils better. There was
so much detail within it that my white pencils were too blunt to render them

With the hunters and their dogs in the fields and woods in front of our observatory,
I wasn’t keen on hanging out too long for more sketches. Thankfully I could close
the door to keep Riser in the observatory with me. As it was, he was antsy, moving
around a lot and making noises…very distracting.

Sketches rendered on black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conte’ pencil and
crayon, white Prang pencil.

Jovial Giant


Jupiter-July 11th, 2007
By Richard Handy

The fog along the San Diego coast finally relented enough for a observation and sketch of Jupiter last evening. The Atmosphere was steady enough at Antoniadi II by the time I started around 6:00 UT. I was so happy to get a chance to sketch at the eyepiece after such a long spell of foggy evenings. Jupiter’s elevation above my southern horizon made use of my binoviewers with a 45 degree erector diagonal so comfy!  The creamy off-white colors separating the major bands caught my attention first, as they should I guess, since they seem to dominate in total area the visible face of Jupiter. Guess that’s why Jupiter appears like a bright yellow star to our naked eyes. The rusty hue of the NEB was fun to try to capture. I noted burnt sienna barges on some areas along it’s southern fringes. At places the bands appeared broken. The grayish caps at times looked to have little filigrees running along their margins, but the seeing just couldn’t hold long enough to render them.
Sketch details:

Object: Jupiter
Time: 5:57 UT until 6:35 UT Date: 7-12-07
Seeing: Antoniadi II Weather: clear
Telescope: Meade 12 SCT, f/10
Binoviewer: W.O. Bino-P with 1.6X nosepiece
W.O. 45 degree Erector Diagonal
Eyepieces 18 mm W.O. Plossl
Magnificaton: 271X
Medium: Colored Conte’ pencils and colored chalks on 9″ x 12″ Strathmore Artagain black paper
Sketch size: 9″ x12″ Jupiter’s disk is about 5″ in diameter

Darkness over Swansea

Darkness over Swansea 

The lunar eclipse of March 2007 fell over midnight of the 3rd and 4th,
the Moon being in Leo, and in the mouth of the Lion was the planet Saturn. The
sketch is based around 00.30 hours UT, sketched at the top of 600 foot high Kilvey
Hill. The path leading to the summit has a cluster of communication masts on one
side and a Bronze Age burial chamber, now only just visible above the surface, on
the other side. Standing there between the two, looking at the eclipse with the
City of Swansea spread out below, all was very quiet and for once it was a very
clear sky. It felt like a scene out of the fifties TV sci-fi series ‘Quatermass’.
J.E. Thomas

Category: Moon – Total Eclipse
Title:  ‘Darkness Over Swansea’
Media: Conte Pastel Pencil on Black Camford Paper
Size: 142 kb

Fountains of the Sun

Prom 1Prom 2Prom 3

Ever-changing Proms 

AR949 was not very apparent, but there may have been a hint of a few pores towards the center of the disk, slightly north of the “equator”.  There were two long slender patches of plage near a fairly long (maybe 20 deg) filament in this region.

Along the limb, I noted 7 areas of prominences, with some scattered jets of “baby” proms spiking out here and there.  Of the 7 areas, I initially concentrated on two, position angles of approximately 240 and 50 degrees.  The area at the NE was very faint at first.  I adjusted the front etalon to create more contrast.  But come to find out, yes it was faint, but the sweet spot of this 60mm Maxscope seems to be just SW of center.  I heard that these Maxscopes don’t have a sweet spot, but there is an obvious difference in the contrast depending on where your target is in the FOV with this scope.  Still, it’s a beauty of a scope and I still can’t believe my good fortune in acquiring it.

The prominence to the SW was very sharp and prominent.  Still, you can see the slight changes over a 30 minute time frame, making it an amazing site to behold. Like the Moon, you can’t spend a lot of time rendering the view.  The terminator on the Moon changes before your eyes.  Well I feel the Sun is even more dynamic, and the sketches last only minutes before the shapes take a different form.

Getting back to the NE prom, it was very fibrous and to me was lovelier than the SW area.  Again, the changes are noted in a 30 minute time frame.

What ended up being my la proéminence du jour was a patch of nearly lunar terminator looking proms on the western limb.  When the session began, this area was plain, with only a few little spikes with a finger pointing north.  But about 45 minutes later, made me feel like I was observing the Moon again, just like it did the day I sketched this prominence.

AR946 had comma shaped plage surrounding the 2 sunspots within connected by a darker
strand.  There was a filament about the same size located to the southern region of
the disk as well as plage just inside the limb about 30 degrees from the prominence
at PA 70 degrees.

2007 04 02, 1900-2000 UT
Zanesville, Ohio
Internally Double stacked Maxscope 60mm with 8mm TV plossl.
Seeing average with moments of heavy quivering.                                                                                              Transparency poor.
Temps 72 °F / 22.2 °C
Winds from West at 16 mph with gusts up to 28 mph, scattered clouds
31% Humidity                                                                                                                                              Sketches were done with black Strathmore paper and colored Conte’ crayons.

Erika Rix