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.