Eta Carina – The Goliath through a 4″ Refractor

NGC 3372 / Eta Carina
NGC 3372 / Eta Carina

Hello all,

I finally got to go bush with my latest scope acquisition, and my smallest scope, a 4” achro refractor. I was spoilt for choice for potential targets, but I settled on one target I’ve sketched four times previously, Eta Carina. The previous sketches of Eta Carina were done with an 8” (once) and my 17.5” (twice) and once with my binos from my home. But this time, I had the opportunity to chase the full extent of the visible nebulosity of this celestial giant. With the single eyepiece I took on this outing, this little refractor gives me a whopping TFOV of 5°! This would be the perfect weapon and dark sky combination to tackle this target.

Oh my goodness! How much detail is visible! At first glance the nebulosity is nice and compact. As the sketch developed, and I slowly examined the scene, the nebulosity kept on reaching further and further out. Add to this the mottling of the background Milky Way star field that surrounds Eta Carina. I also spotted a couple of faint open clusters in the field of view.

The sketch doesn’t show the full extent of the TFOV – the sheet of paper wasn’t big enough! I was spent after this too.

I hope you find this sketch to your liking.


Object: Eta Carina, NGC 3372
Scope: 4” f/5 refractor
Gear: 30mm Explore Scientific 82°, 17X, plus OIII filter
Date: 3rd January 2014
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Media: White soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper.

13 thoughts on “Eta Carina – The Goliath through a 4″ Refractor”

  1. Wow! Beautiful capture Alex. Thank you for sharing. I’ve got to get down under mate to see this! 8^)

  2. Aloha Alex!

    Your sketch took my breath away in its beauty and detail and sheer scale! I also enjoyed your description by words of obtaining it. I can understand why you felt spent afterwards! Great to see your work again, it makes me want to observe this beautiful object again soon.

    Warmest wishes,

    Cindy (Thia)

  3. Thank you all for your kind words.

    I am eagerly waiting for the return of our winter skies – there is just so much cannon fodder for this little scope in and around Scorpio. One eyepiece and one little scope – beautiful simplicity.


  4. Hey ! Just amazing !
    No need of a camera…
    If you count with time for image processing, it’s quicker to draw it !

    Just a problem… One must be as clever as you to get such a wonderful sketch.
    Excellent job Alexander.

    Australia is the best place for astronomers.
    Lucky guy !

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