M42 AND M43 Under Polluted Suburban Skies

M42, M43
Messier 42 and 43

Object Name: M42 Orion´s Nebula and M43 Marian´s Nebula
Object Type: Nebulas
Location: Boadilla del Monte, Madrid. Polluted suburban skies.
SW refractor 102/1000; Ocular 25mm; 40x; No filter; No barlow.
Date: 27 March 2015; 22:30 hrs
Media: Black pencil on White paper. Inverted colors with Fitswork.
Magnitude: M42: 4,00 ; M43: 9,00
Seeing: 4/5

Thank´s a lot,

Beta Monocerotis

The multiple (triple) star system, Beta Monocerotis
The multiple (triple) star system, Beta Monocerotis

Hi Asod! Last night I observed Beta Monocerotis, which is called the most beautiful multiple star of our skies. I also loved it, so I decided to sketch the star with my dobsonian telescope 10” f/5. Seeing was not bad, so with 250x I could note easily all the components; but colours were not simple to note, all of them seem to me white, bluish and greenish…
Wonderful star!

Vega and Epsilon Lyrae

Vega and Epsilon Lyrae
Vega and Epsilon Lyrae

I chose Vega in the constellation of Lyra as my first sketch study, as it was the brightest star in my visible night sky (… and 3rd brightest star in the Northern hemisphere night sky after Sirius and Arcturus). I threw the towel in on several sketches before arriving to this one. It sure is different to sketch in the dark! My first attempts had severely mis-plotted star fields, and even though a sketch of the night sky is never 100% perfect, it wasn’t even looking close to what I was seeing in my field of view! An hour and a half later, I was satisfied enough to call this one my first.

I was able to spot the famous “double double” stars of Epsilon Lyrae very easily, as well as a light blue tint to Vega, and some various stars with a light tint of orange. Even though winter is coming along, I could still see part of the “Summer Triangle” asterism with Altair and Deneb.

Object: Vega in constellation Lyra
Date: November 15th, 2013 – 6:30 – 7pm CT
Location: New Braunfels, Texas – back yard
Conditions: 62°F, Clear
Instruments: 10×50 Wide-Angle Binoculars
Medium: Graphite on white sketch paper, inverted
(see the original sketch)

Thank You,
Jen Bishop

Stars of Jen

M42 Trapezium

M42 Trapezium
M42 Trapezium

Object Name: M42- Trapezium
Object Type: Nebula
Constellation: Orion
Location: Fredericksburg, Texas
Date: 02/07/13
Time: 21:20 CST
Conditions: Clear; Breezy
Seeing: 3/5; Transparency: 4/5
Equipment: 280mm SCT, 12.5mm EP
Power: 224x
FOV: 12′
Medium: Graphite pencil and Blending Stump on white paper. Photographed and color inverted.

I know this is a popular object. It’s beautiful in just about any telescope even from a light polluted area. But from a dark sky site (near 7 mag) like the one I was at it is unbelievable. So rich in nebulosity my sketch barely does it justice. At about 1400 light years and a diameter of some 24 light years this stellar nursery is fascinating! I have read that, besides being one of the closest star forming regions, the brightest stars and the youngest ones may be only 100,000 years old. I never tire of observing the Great Nebula!!!!

John E.

The Trapezium in M42

M42 Trapezium
M42 Trapezium

My main observing objects are moon & planets, and I do not invest much time in observing DSO.

But whenever winter season comes, I used to aim my telescopes at the Great orion nebula .

This December, I have observed it 3 times ( 3 day ) with a 16 inch Meade starfinder Dobson , and unfortunately all 3 nights were in bad seeing, the 4 stars in the Trapezium were looked like fat cottons.

Even this seeing condition with a little-bit light polluted site , environs nebula structures were seen quite well .


16 inches dob reflector x 90

date; 3 weekends in DEC. 2012

location; at backyard home in South korea

media; graphite pencils , a white A4 printer paper

inverted image

M42 Trapezium

M42 Trapezium
Messier 42 Trapezium

Object Name: M 42
Object Type: Nebula
Location: Cittadella (Italy)
Date: February 5, 2010
Media: graphite pencil, white paper, inverted in Gimp
Instrument: 120 mm achromatic refractor (f/8.3)
Eyepiece: Edge On Planetary 5 mm (200x), diagonal and O-III filter
Conditions: Visual magnitude: 4, some light pollution

This is a sketch showing the central part of the Orion Nebula, seen in a 120 mm refractor at 200x. The sky conditions were not ideal for observing the whole extent of the nebula, but the brighter Trapezium area showed several details at this magnification.
Clear skies,

Struve 396 in Camelopardalis

Struve 396
Struve 396

Hello! 🙂

Date: 2011-03-25 (evening)
Observer: Viktor Cseh

Object: Struve 396 multiple star (RA.: 03h 33m 32s, Dec.: +58°45’55”)
A – Magnitude: 6.3 Color: golden and yellow
B – Magnitude: 7.6 Color: golden and yellow Separation (from A): 21″ PA (from A): 244°
C – Magnitude: 10.8 Color: ————————– Separation (from A): 160″ PA (from A): 102°

Wonderful star pair in the Camelopardalis; bright and intensive colors. I recommend to everyone in the northern hemisphere!
My blog: viktorcsehdraws.blogspot.com

Clear skies! 🙂


Albireo – the Orange and Blue Star


Object Type: Triple star system
Location: Płaza, Poland
Date: 10.08.2011
Media: graphite pencil, white paper, inverted, Photoshop CS2

Albireo is a beautiful, triple star system that consisting of Beta Cygni A – the orange, cool supergiant (in fact this is double star, but they’re too close to see it resolved. The second component is the Beta Cygni B – the Be star.

Seeing Double Twice

Epsilon Lyrae

Epsilon Lyrae, the beautiful double-double star system
Sketch and Details by Janusz Krysiak

Object Name:Epsilon Lyrae

medium: pencil, white paper
equipment: Newton 300/1500
magnification: 214x

These are Epsilon Lyrae. It is probably one of the most beautiful double
sysetm on our sky. It lookes gorgeous in large extention.

Janusz Krysiak

A Swarm within a Swarm

NGC 1502

NGC 1502 and Struve 485
Sketch and Details by Eric Graff

NGC 1502 and STF 485
Open Cluster and Multiple Star in Camelopardalis
Parks Astrolight EQ6 • 6″ f/6 Newtonian Reflector
7.5mm Parks Gold Series Plössl • 120x
Field of View 26′
31 December 2007 • 03:30-04:30 UT

Dangling off the southern end of Kemble’s Cascade, one the sky’s better-known asterisms, you will find the open cluster catalogued as NGC 1502. Easily visible, even at low magnifications, as an unmistakable glittering mass of stars, the cluster is dominated by a brilliant pair of 7th-magnitude snow-white suns separated by 18″ of arc in position angle 305°. These two are the principal members of the multiple star STF 485 (ADS 2984; CCDM 04078+6220).

Increasing the magnification brings better definition and resolution to NGC 1502. A 7.5mm G.S-5 Plössl yielding 120x provided the most pleasing view in my scope, and this was used in the sketch presented here. All of the cluster stars appear to be pure white (or nearly so). The brightest stars in the cluster are concentrated into a narrow east-west band of stars spanning the cluster’s 8′ diameter. Most of these are members of the STF 485 system.

The Catalogue of Components of Double and Multiple Stars (CCDM) lists 16 members for STF 485 with magnitudes ranging from 7 to 14; these are designated (A-P) as indicated on the inset. Components C, E, F, G and M are very challenging due to faintness (mags 11.9-14.1) and proximity to A and B; the remaining members are quite easy by comparison. Component B is also a variable star, designated SZ Camelopardalis. It is a Beta Lyrae-type eclipsing variable with a period of just under 2.7 days and a magnitude range from 7.00 to 7.29. While component A might seem like a convenient comparison star for making magnitude estimates of SZ, it is suspected of being variable as well, with an observed amplitude of about 0.1 magnitude. Components H, I and J are also catalogued separately as STF 484 (ADS 2982); components K and L are catalogued separately as Holmes 3 (ADS 2989).

William Herschel discovered NGC 1502 on November 3, 1787 with his 18.7-inch reflector. It is sometimes called the Golden Harp Cluster; it contains 63 member stars and lies 2,650 light years away in the direction of Camelopardalis. Its age is estimated at 5 million years.

Dark Nebula Nexus


M20 – The Trifid Nebula
Sketch by Kiminori Ikebe

Mr. Ikebe observed and sketched this view of M20 using a 50 cm Dobsonian at 220X.

M20, The Trifid Nebula, is a famous and beautiful target for astrophotographers and visual observers alike. The red emission nebula contains a young star cluster at its center, and is surrounded by a blue reflection nebula that is most noticeable at the northern end. It’s distance is not well agreed upon, and is listed anywhere from 2,200 light years (Mallas/Kreimer) to 9000 light years (Jeff Hester). Its magnitude estimate is also wide, and is listed from 9.0 (Kenneth Glyn Jones) to 6.8 (Machholz). Part of the magnitude difficulty comes from the very bright triple-star system at the heart of the nebula.

The dark nebula that crosses the Trifid was cataloged by Barnard and listed as B 85. The object was originally cataloged by Charles Messier in 1764, when he described it as a cluster of stars.

Binoculars Along the Spine of the Scorpion

Antares, M4, & Rho Oph
Antares, M4, and Rho Ophiuchi
Sketch and details by Michael Rosolina

Scorpius is well placed right now for northern hemisphere observers and holds many beautiful and interesting objects. Scanning the constellation with widefield binoculars can be particularly rewarding. I found that I could see this trio all at the same time with my 15×70 binoculars. They make an interesting combination: Antares, a red giant, Rho Ophiuchus, a bright binocular triple, and Messier 4, a globular cluster containing countless stars.

The sketch was done in the field with 2B and HB pencils and a stump loaded with 4B graphite for M4. I then scanned and inverted the sketch digitally, colorised Antares, and added a little blur (5%).

There are many images of this region–time exposures showing the stars embedded in glowing clouds of gas and dust. None of that can be seen visually, but the binocular view has its own beauty.

Michael Rosolina
Friars Hill, WV USA

Three’s Company

Triple Star

12 Lyncis – Triple Star
By Wade V. Corbei

This is an interesting triple star in the constellation Lynx, and required a good bit of magnification to resolve into 3 seperate stars. In the 27mm, it just looked like an elongated star, and in the 15mm, I could just discern that there was more than one star. When I barlowed the 15mm, I could easily see that this was a multiple star system, but I could not split the two eastern stars.

I plopped in my 6mm and barlowed that and there it was…a nice split of all 3 stars in the same FOV. Wonderful!

I don’t really know what the primary star would be with this trio as all 3 appear to be of the same (or close to the same) magnitude. It does appear as if the two stars on the eastern end are brighter and appear as white with just a hint of a blueish tint. The third star that is well seperated and to the west appeared as having an orange or burnt-brown coloration.

A nice triple star system that can be a challenge, but once found makes for an interesting and neat sight in the ol’ EP.

Wolf-Rayet in Vela

Gamma Velorum

Gamma Velorum
By Rogerio Eirado

The brilliant Gamma Velorum system is composed of at least 6 stars. The primary star of this system is actually a spectroscopic binary that has been dubbed the Spectral Gem of the Southern Skies because its exotic spectrum is dominated by bright emission lines rather than dark absorption lines. It is composed of an O9 blue giant and a massive Wolf-Rayet star that are separated by 1 AU and orbit with a period of 78.5 days. The Wolf-Rayet star probably started its life at around 40 solar masses, but has blown most of that mass away and is now probably closer to 10 solar masses. Both stars in this pair have extremely powerful winds, and as these winds collide they produce X-Ray emissions. The Wolf-Rayet star is likely in the last stages of its path toward exploding as a Supernova. It’s companion will eventually follow suit. The B component seen in Rogerio’s sketch is a B-class subgiant and the C and D components (lined up above the A and B components in the sketch) are white A-class stars. The D component itself has a much fainter and challenging 13th magnitude companion separated from it by 1.8 arc seconds (the 6th star in the system).

Rogerio sketched this beautiful multiple star using pencil on white paper. The sketch was then scanned, inverted to a positive image, and digital methods were used to enhance and add observed color to the stars. His sketch gallery can be found here: A vida, o universo e tudo o mais.

Sources: Burnham’s Celestial Handbook, Jim Kaler’s ‘Regor’, Wikipedia

Multiple Stars – Split Personalities

Multiple stars 

Due to my newly found enthusiasm for observing, measuring and, of
course, sketching Double and Multiple Star Systems, I’ve decided to
present a selection of some of the most well-known star systems of that

Clockwise starting in the upper left corner, you will find Mizar and
Alkor in Ursa major, already known since ancient times. The upper right
corner shows Albireo, the indicator of late summer / early autumn and
for many observers one of the best double stars in the sky. The lower
right corner shows Epsilon lyrae, the famous double Double, I got the
proportions wrong there, nevertheless a fascinating sight. Finally, the
lower left corner is a drawing of Alamak in Andromeda, the “Autumn
Albireo”, as many call it, shining in the colors yellow and blue-green.
These four sketches represent the most well-known double stars,
basically any observer knows, however there are many other fantastic and
rewarding Double and Multiple Star Systems out there, so when you are
planning your next observing night, maybe you are going to visit one or two.

All sketches were made with a 6″ Newtonian f/5 at varying
magnifications, the conditions were good, around 6 mag, Bortle 4-5
skies, average seeing, pencil sketches, digitally re-worked.

Don’t forget to click on the sketch, which will take you to a larger
version and a better view!

Sebastian Lehner