Young Winter December Moon

"The Young Winter December Moon" - December 23, 2014
“The Young Winter December Moon” – December 23, 2014

Young Winter December Moon

During the early part of the current lunation I was observing and sketching in Mesa, Arizona and caught the thin crescent Moon in the southwestern sky just after sunset. Venus was also visible much closer to the horizon but not close enough to the Moon to be included. Earthshine improved and brightened as the hour passed.

For this sketch I used dark blue sketching paper (8.5” x 11”), white, yellow and brown pastel pencils, blending stumps, white Pearl eraser.

Telescope 6”f/7.2 Dobsonian telescope, 28mm eyepiece 39x
Date and Time: 12-23-2014; 18:15 – 19:10 local time
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Transparency: clear 4/5
Temperature: 18 °C (65°F)
Colongitude: 295.3°
Lunation: 1.74 days
Illumination: 4.1%

Frank McCabe

Goldilocks & The 3 Sun Bears

Three prominences on the solar limb - September 11, 2014
Three prominences on the solar limb – September 11, 2014


While observing our ever changing Sun today I was struck by a grouping of prominences on the western limb. All of them of high intensity and curving towards the same direction. They made me think of the story of Goldilocks & The 3 Bears!

Cindy (Thia) Krach

Solar Sketch
Black Strathmore Paper
Pastel and colored pencils
60mm Lunt h-Alpha
Maui, Hawaii

Webmaster’s note: Cindy has been instrumental in organizing a new Sketching Observing Award Program for the Astronomical League. Check it out here.


H-Alpha / White Light Sun - September 22, 2012
H-Alpha / White Light Sun – September 22, 2012

Object Name Sun
Object Type Sunspot 1575 and crown
Location Néoules Provence France
Date 22 sept. 2012 – 13h TU
Media (graphite pencil for the spot, red pastel for the crown, two different white papers,

I made two separate sketches, one in H alpha via a classic PST for the crown, the second one through a 1000/102 refractor with solar continuum filter for the spot.
I used several eyepeaces.
The compilation was done with the freeware software : Paint.Net
Conditions were perfect, the sun was hot here… !

Clear sky to you all

Michel Deconinck

White Light Sun - September 22, 2012
White Light Sun – September 22, 2012
H-Alpha Sun - September 22, 2012
H-Alpha Sun – September 22, 2012

The Sun of november the 7th

H-Alpha Sun - November 7, 2012
H-Alpha Sun - November 7, 2012

Object Name (Sun)
Object Type (H alpha regio…)
Location (Rocbaron in Provence – France)
Date (2012 Nov 7th)
Media (graphite pencil for the prominences, pastel on white paper for the solar texture, as digital tool)
Scope My new Lunt LS35THa/B600 on motorized EQ3 mount with 10mm eyepiece.

I made a pastel texture on CàGrain Canson white paper to imitate the solar surface, and I sketched the proeminences on another paper with graphite pencil. Then I combine both digitalized sketches via respecting the 3 bright areas. I cheat a little bit regarding the color pushing my sketch to orange which is maybe more convenient for the contrasts.

Clear sky to you all !

Michel Deconinck

A Conjunction with Some History

Conjunction of the Moon, Jupiter and Aldebaran
Conjunction of the Moon, Jupiter and Aldebaran

At the last day of October I sketched a beautiful conjunction between the Moon, Jupiter and Aldebaran. The building in the foreground was my holiday-resort (illuminated by a streetlight), a renovated farm from 1669. By chance: in the first months of 1669 Jupiter was also next to Aldebaran in the sky. So the first inhabitants could have witnessed a similar conjunction. To add some more history: the location was less than 10 km from Middelburg, the town where the telescope was invented!

Clear skies

Jef De Wit

Location: Biggekerke, Netherlands (51°29’ N 3°31’ E)
Date and time: 31 October 2012 around 19.30 UT
Equipment: naked eye
Medium: pastel pencils and soft pastels on black paper (A4), Jupiter and Aldebaran were brightened with Paint

NGC 457 – The Owl Cluster

NGC 457
NGC 457

Owl cluster (NGC457) by Sasan Yekani

September 13, 2012

Object Name ( owl cluster NGC457)
Object Type (open cluster)
Location ( iran,dergajen, 35.058548°N, 51.420321°E)
Date ( September 13, 2012
Media ( white pencil, black paper, yellow pastel)
25mm, 48x , C8-SGT (XLT) Computerized Telescope

Explanation:The first step is enhancing the contrast then increasing the brightness. Making the image black & white requires going to image menu, select adjusments and clicking on the Black&White button. Finally I’m going to add a little sharpness to the image by selecting Sharpen button from the Filter menu.

Just After Sunset

Just After Sunset - 12 Sketches
Just After Sunset - 12 Sketches

When we sketch the sun, we sketch sunspots or H-alpha. But the most beautiful thing to sketch is a sunrise or sunset. During my 2 weeks holiday in France I observed every day the sky just after sunset. I missed only one day due to rain.

The sky and the trees were sketched with a set of 12 soft pastels. The farm was sketched with pastel pencils. The original drawings are all A4-format. I waited the sun to set behind the trees and started sketching as fast as I could. After 30 minutes I stopped because the sky changes very fast.

I had great difficulty in sketching the trees. The dark green pastel was to light, the black and brown to dark… The second week the result is much better than the first week.

Clear skies
Jef De Wit

Location: Ronnet, France (46°12’ N 2°42’ E)
Date and time: 4-16 august 2012 around 19.00 UT
Equipment: naked eye
Medium: soft pastel and pastel pencils on art paper (A4)

Sunspots: Sketching and Photography

Sun - July 3, 2012
Sun - July 3, 2012

Object Name: Sun-Sunspots 1512-1513- 1515-1517
Location: Tehran-Iran
Date: July 3, 2012
Time: 14:00 Local Time (+3:30 GMT)
Media: Soft Pastels on Black Fabriano paper

Optic: 80 ED APO Refractor Telescope
Focal Length: 600 mm
Eyepiece: 9mm UWA- 1.25′′- 58º

Photo Details:
Camera: Canon EOS 60D
Shutter Speed: 1/6400 sec

Clear Skies
Mona Sorayaei

Saturn, Titan and Raindrops

Saturn and Titan
Saturn and Titan

Object Name: Saturn
Object Type: Planet
Location: Deventer, The Netherlands
Date: May 13, 2012
Media: Pastel pencils on black paper

Last night I wanted to make a sketch of Saturn, mostly to capture as much moons as possible through my old 75mm f/15 Polarex/Unitron refractor. After 45 minutes of sketching at 200x with pastel pencils on black paper, Saturn was pretty much done (although I found it surprisingly difficult to draw a good ellipse for the rings), and just when I added the easily visble Titan, I heard some droplets on the trees next to me and felt something on my head: RAIN! I immediately covered the pastel sketch witch my hand and rushed inside my shed. After the sketch was save I pulled the telescope out of the rain. The most abrupt ending of a sketching session ever! I had completely missed the incoming clouds while viewing through the eyepiece.

Anyway, both the sketch and the telescope survived. Sadly with only one moon observed: Titan.

Clear skies and kind regards,
Roel Weijenberg

Total Eclipse of the Moon – December 10, 2011

Lunar Eclipse - December 10, 2011
Lunar Eclipse - December 10, 2011

After careful plans to observe the total lunar Eclipse of Dec 10th 2011 in the Portland city center, fog formed late, so plans to relocate were rushed at the last minutes as we drove fast from the city to the Columbia River Gorge Crown Point Oregon Vista House, yet only to find a hundred people, photographers, etc, most were ensconced in their cars with engines running, while Gorge east winds gusted to 60 mph with 25 degrees F.

So I set up my Celestron Nexstar 5i telescope anyway, huddled into the wind-shielded side of the Vista House with a few brave other photographers. I made quick mental notes of the image at medium power through the telescope and began to photograph crudely as the wind buffeted the scope and my Sony NEX5 camera poised high and teetering on its tripod over the telescope eyepiece. It was difficult at times as I began to speak as my hands froze and unable to operate the telescope or the camera, worse, many people approached then asking me if I could tell them what was happening as I appeared as the only professional with serious equipment in the grueling wind and freezing temperatures. They heard in the media and then recalled all the hoaxes of misunderstanding of the moons image as a rare visible sight setting in the west while the sun rose in the east. I had to explain the atmospheric effects of light bending through a natural lens. It was fun and although the constant fumes of diesel engines running for those who would not disembark from their warm cars, a few of us weathered the bitter cold, ironically lady friends of mine stayed until sunrise, where my professional photographer friend dressed in Alaskan outback parka and full proper clothing, refused to get out of the car.

Much in post preparation was then later made in the past week at home to produce this accurate large technical documentary dry pastel sketch onto 19″ X 25″ black Strathmore pastel paper completed today, December 19th 2011. It comprises a time span of possibly an hour as the moon was also observed at speed in my Mercedes side view mirror as I drove out the I-84 highway at super-legal speeds, the earths red shadow on the moon changed fast. So the sketch is possibly at just before full totality. Then daylight began to creep up in the east just as I arrived and set up the telescope [as depicted in the reflection of the old historic gas street lamps at Crown Point. Portland’s city lights 30 miles to the west are seen under a shroud of fog. This is also rendered in the sketch and as a final artist’s conception, the still deeper reflection of the moon as an image seen in a mirror within a mirror, on the Vista House windows.

– Mark Seibold

Two Days of Incredible Solar Activity

H-Alpha Sun - November 12 and 14, 2011
H-Alpha Sun - November 12 and 14, 2011

Object type – Huge filament and prominence
Location – Wilp, The Netherlands
Date – November 12 and November 14, 2011
Media – Pastel pencil on black paper, color with Photoshop

The largest prominence and the largest filament I have ever seen, both visible at the same time! It was a fantastic view and I made two sketches of them, two days apart. On November 14, the huge filament blew a large part of itself away from the Sun at the exact moment I was observing, creating a thin candle-like flame above the surface. A remarkable sight. Clearly the Sun is getting more active every month. What it’s got left in its suprise box while creeping towards solar maximum? Can’t wait to find out!

Kind Regards,
Roel Weijenberg

Jupiter and the Moon in Conjunction with the big Tower

Conjunction of Moon and Jupiter
Conjunction of Moon and Jupiter

Object Type: Conjunction
Location: Montreal, Canada
Date: October 13th 2011
Media: Pastel
On October the 13th while returning home after a lecture given by the astrophysicist J.P. Luminet, I saw this beautiful conjunction between our moon, Jupiter and the Dome of the Tower of the University of Montreal where I work. Our moon looked as if it rested on a small cloud. I sat on a nearby bench and took my time to sketched the view in my notebook. I copied the sketched at home on black paper, adding colors with pastel.

Jean Barbeau,
Faculté de médecine dentaire
Université de Montréal
C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville
Montréal, Qué
H1T 1K3

Full Disk Feast

H-Alpha Sun - August 2, 2011
H-Alpha Sun - August 2, 2011

This morning everything seemed to be right. The weather was absolutely great, the Sun was more active than I’ve seen so far this year and the seeing was above average. A good day to try sketching a full-disk h-alpha sun for the first time instead of an isolated prominence. First I made a blank disk with a soft white pastel. I took the sketch outside and filled in all the details I could see through the eyepiece of my 70mm solar telescope with white and black pastel pencils. All regions were very active, especially the middle one: it changed its shape within minutes. Sometimes little bright flare-like brightenings appeared and disappeared 2 minutes later. A wonderful sight! It took me one hour (from 08.00 UT – 09.00 UT) to complete the drawing. I scanned the (black&white) sketch and gave it a reddish color with Photoshop.
Object Name Sun
Object Type Star
Location Deventer, The Netherlands
Date August 2, 2011
Media Pastel on black paper

Kind regards,

Roel Weijenberg

The Reason for the Messier Marathon

April 2 to 3 participated in the Messier Marathon without a star chart.
The weather is not good all night, but one hour before twilight sky cleared.
While frantically looking for the star, suddenly the day was bright…

What is the reason for the Messier Marathon?
Just before twilight of breathtaking suspense.
Maybe it’s the reason for the Marathon.

Material : White paper, Stick pastel, Colored pencil

Red Forest on the Sun

Today I’ve made a h-alpha sketch through my 60mm H-Alpha telescope. At 78x (9mm plossl) the large proms on the edge of the Sun’s disk showed a lot of detail. It was pretty hard to keep up with the constantly changing structures, when I finished the lower “tree” the little prominence above the main group had totally changed its shape! The drawing is made between 12.30 an 12.45 UT from Deventer, The Netherlands using a red pastel pencil on black paper.
Object Name Sun
Object Type Star
Location Deventer, The Netherlands
Date March 20, 2011
Media red pastel pencil on black paper
Kind regards,
Roel Weijenberg

Midday’s Moon

This is my october sketch of moon with naked eye. On october 29, at noon I was looking out the window and thinking: “wow, I must draw it”. The moon this day was over the buildings where I live. The roofs and chimneys was beautiful illuminated by sunlight…So I have drawn it 🙂
This sketch is created with dry pastels on blue paper.

object: moon with naked eye
location: Katowice, Poland
date: october 29, 2010
technique: dry pastels on blue paper

Katarzyna Kurdek

“Perhaps the Finest…”

Hey !

I send you the planetary M.27, “The manual”.

This is a easy object, bright and perhaps the finest in the
northern hemisphere. But M.57 is the most
special for us in Norway. I did not see any central star in this
planetary, and the “ears” were very faint.
It is a very splendid object in small telescopes too. More info on
my sketch!
I used crayons (watercolours) on black paper only.
The sketch was made outside Trondheim city, Norway.

Clear skies, from Per-Jonny Bremseth.

A Moon with a View

Saturn – Large Sketch from Observation Through the Telescope With Artists Conception Below
By Mark Seibold

From Sandy Oregon, 30 miles east of Portland, at the home driveway – Saturn Observed February 28 ~ March 2 Through 10.1″ Newtonian- Large Pastel Sketch produced:

I observed Saturn through my 10.1″ Newtonian at medium to high power magnification (120X ~ 240X) on several evenings last week, in effort to see some detail in the rings and surface cloud banding. Seeing was medium to marginal at times through the evenings. Using Sol Robbins template and other images from the web to accurately proportion the rings, I rendered this 19” X 25” pastel impression showing about what is seen in a good medium telescope if one stands back say 25 feet from the full image on a standard computer screen. Saturn’s disc was sketched at 7 ¾” at the equator. The Cassini division was easily visible and the crepe ring only hinted at high magnification at 240x through a 5mm Super Plossl eyepiece through my 10.1″ f/4.5 Newtonian-Dobsonian telescope with average seeing conditions at times with glimpses through steady atmosphere.

The foreground was quickly added from imagination for depth and drama as a final touch, which seems to captivate a view from one of Saturn’s moons, possibly Titan with a suggestion to an ocean-scape.

The sketch was photographed with a Sigma 35mm DSLR under white balanced studio lights.

Mars Pastel Sketch – February 5, 2010

Mars - February 5, 2010
Mars – February 5, 2010
Sketch and Details by Mark Seibold

Technical information regarding the sketch:

At my current residence of Sandy Oregon in the home driveway; 30 miles east of Portland Oregon:

After Observing Mars through my Nexstar 5i and 10.1″ f/4.5 Coulter Odyssey Dobsonian telescope on two evenings of February 5th and 6th 2010, I produced this large 22″ X 30″ pastel impression with artists conceptual Martian landscape showing a dust storm over the polar cap region as science news reported today. The pastel chalks were applied to black Stonehenge 100% cotton cold pressed pastel paper. Through broken clouds over two nights, I eventually rendered most of the prominent albedo features on the martian surface; the left hemisphere edge exhibited a definite blue limb haze along most of the discs edge on the evening of February 5th at approximately 7 UT ~ 9 UT.

Faces of Mars

Mars Compilation 2010
Mars Compilation – January 10 – March 9, 2010

These sketches were created by 27 members of the Sketching Forum. They are based on observations of Mars on and around its opposition, from January 10th, 2010 to March 9th, 2010. Multiple mediums were used from pencil and paper to digital. The community of forum members whose sketches are shown are from the following countries: France, Belgium, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, South East Asia, United Kingdom, and USA. The instruments they used and the date of their observation is as follows:

Jay Eads 250mm Newtonian 01/10/2010
Sol Robbins 152mm Newtonian 01/11/2010
MikeSemmler 80mm Refractor 01/23/2010
Kris 203mm Newtonian 01/26/2010
Cpl43uk 203mm Catiotropic 01/23/2010
Astroducky 318mm Newtonian 01/27/2010
Sixela 400mm Newtonian 01/27/2010
CarlosEH 229mm Catiotropic 01/29/2010
Dweller25 203mm Newtonian 01/29/2010
Jeff Young 152mm Catiotropic 01/29/2010
BillP 102mm Refractor 01/31/2010
Uwe Pilz 152mm Catiotropic 01/31/2010
Rerun 102mm Refractor 02/04/2010
Special Ed 200mm Catiotropic 02/05/2010
Jef De Wit 305mm Newtonian 02/04/2010
MarkSeibold 127mm Catiotropic 02/05/2010
Phxbird 152mm Newtonian 02/07/2010
Erika Rix 406mm Newtonian 02/07/2010
Mathteacher 100mm Refractor 02/07/2010
NUNKY 120mm Refractor 02/08/2010
Frank5817 333mm Newtonian 02/13/2010
Tommy5 152mm Refractor 02/14/2010
NerfMonkey 305mm Newtonian 02/15/2010
JayScheuerle 120mm Refractor 01/20/2010
Robert Forgacs 305mm Newtonian 02/02/2010
Roel 102mm Refractor 03/01/2010
S1mas 127mm Catiotropic 03/09/2010

Compiled and submitted by William Paolini

Mars – January 19, 2010

Mars - January 19, 2010
Mars – January 19, 2010
Sketch and Details by Christian Gros

Au T180 avec des grossissements de x270 à x308. Mars me paraissait plus jaune qu’orange ! Sur le côté j’ai pu voir la présence de nuages qui donnaient cette aspect beaucoup plus clair !

Christian Gros

Google Translation:

At T180 with magnifications of x270 to x308. Mars seemed more yellow orange! On the side I could see the presence of clouds that gave this aspect a lot clearer!

Christian Gros

Thirty-four Observations—One Map

Mars Map
Mars Map
Sketch and Details by Fred Corno

Date: blend of 34 observations from 2003, 2005 and 2007
Telescopes used: Vixen VMC 200L and Taka FS 128

The attached map represents the blend of 34 observations collected over 4 years. In order to correctly position features depicted in the various sketches made during the observations, reference coordinates grids were made and superimposed to the original drawing, then features were reported on a Lambert projection grid of the whole planet according to reference coordinates.
Original sketches were made marking on a 54 mm blank circular shape color density areas at the eyepiece, then refining with graphite pencil and colored pastels, after the observing session, and blending tones with an artist stump.
Present drawing was made with colored pastels.

Best regards


Gleam of the Hunter’s Sword

Gleam of the Hunter’s Sword

M42 and M43, The Great Nebula of Orion
Sketch and Details by Gábor Sánta

The Great Orion Nebula (M 42-43) is the best winter object seen with
the naked eye. This drawing made at four evenings (30 Jan, 2 Feb, 16
March and 17 Oct 2007), with two instruments (114/500 refl., 20×90
binoculars). Three of the four nights there was no evidence of
colours, but the last time, at the morning of 17 Oct 2007, was great
transparency. Me and some friends stargazing at the observing terrace
of Szeged Observatory. I turned the 20×90 bino into M42 and gasped my
breath. The filamentary surface of the nebula was really colourful –
pale greens and greys at the W edge, intense light reddish-brown core
and rim at NE-E. Everybody could see this phenomena. So my final
sketch became colourful, too.After I saw the Great Nebula several times,
and sometimes sensed these niceties in the best skies.

Telescope: 20×90 binoculars
Location: Szeged, Hungary
Time: 30 Jan, 2 Feb, 16 March, 17 Oct 2007
Technique: black paper, colored pastels
Category: Diffuse nebula

Best regards, light
Gábor Sánta
Szeged, Hungary
Columnist of Deep Sky head of amateur astronomical magazine called
Hungarian Astronomical Association (HAA)

A Remarkable Star of the Southern Hemisphere

Eta Carina

The dying star, Eta Carina
Sketch by Serge Viellard, text by Frank McCabe

During his vacation trip to Namibia in March of 2009 with the 400cm. travel scope at high power, Serge captured this close up sketch of the asymmetrical orange lobes on each side of the dying star Eta Carina. Serge writes, “This sky is really extraordinary. I have above my head the most remarkable 3 nebulas of the sky with Orion beyond the zenith…”

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.


The Young, Blue Pleiades

The Pleiades

Messier 45 – The Pleiades
Sketch and Details by Aleksander Cieśla

Sketch information:
Object: Messier 45 – The Pleiades
Scope: Binoculars 10×50
Place: Poland, Wroclaw – near city center
Weather: Good. Seeing 6/10. Light Pollution. Moon low over horizon.
Date: 6 February 2009.
Technique: Colored pastels on the navy blue paper
Tooling: N/A