A spiral galaxy in the constellation of Leo
Rush Valley, Utah (West Desert)
February 17, 2012
Pastel on Black Paper, contrast refined in GIMP.
I had some frustrations as my main dark site was muddy and though I could get to it with my 4WD, my observing companions could not. So I called them since I was the first out to the site and we opted for a secondary site and I got there at dusk to set up, after my friends had already set up. After completing setup and collimation, I went to work on open clusters in Puppis and after doing these for a couple of hours, I was tired so I took a break. I then went to work in Hydra on some objects there and decided as I looked up and noticed that it was late in the evening, and both Mars and Leo were up high in the sky so I decided to work on a project that I really want to sink my teeth into. This project is to take some of the Messier and other brighter objects and sketch them from a really excellent dark site and then sketch them again at home in the backyard under light pollution. The goal is to hopefully have some newer people and perhaps some others compare and contrast the sketches to see the difference in detail objects have at a dark site versus when they are observed in a light pollution zone.
So this night I picked several of the galaxies in Leo and in this case, I was pleased with how the sketch of Messier 96 came out, which I present here. I’m still working on the Mellish method though I much prefer it overall then any other method I’ve tried. Now I need to sketch M96 from my backyard if the weather will permit! Skies this night were an Antoniadi II when the sketch was made and the LM was about 6.6 to 6.7 I would estimate (I left my thermometer and my SQM at home along with several other items. It was one of those nights initially). The scope was my Orion XX14i with a 10mm and 7mm Pentax.