Before the Moon Is Full


Crater Schickard

One of the many large and interesting craters on the visible lunar surface is 227
km. diameter walled plain crater Schickard. This Pre-Nectarian crater is somewhat
isolated from craters of equal size. It is the shallow floor of Schickard that
presents its most interesting features. After the large impactor struck the lunar
highlands to form this crater, lava passed to the surface through cracks that
served as channels. Tens of millions of years later the gargantuan impact forming
the Orientale basin occurred blanketing the crater with highland ejecta. After
some time more flooding of dark mare lava created the two notable dark patches on
the crater floor to the Northwest and Southeast. This grand crater can easily be
seen in a modest telescope with good lighting one or two days before full moon.
  For this sketch I used: copy paper, a no. 2 graphite pencil, fingertips for
  Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian at 233X
  Date: 11-4-2006,  Time: 2:11-3:15 UT
  Clear skies:  4.4°C (40°F)
  Seeing:  Pickering 5/10
  Colongitude 70.5 °
  Lunation 12.9 days
  Illumination 97 %
  Frank McCabe

Prominent Trio

Prominent Trio

Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catherina
This sketch of the trio Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catherina was done in about 15
minutes due to clouds coming in. to make the best of the limited time I tried to
focus only on the big shapes, shadows & lines. Then I worked the sketch out inside.
Below is the quick sketch done outside, and above the finished version.

Prominent Trio quick
Sketched on the 22th May 2007 from my home in Bornem, Belgium. I used my 8” f/5 dob
at 200x through a 5mm Baader Hyperion eyepiece.
The sketch was done on standard A4 printerpaper with pencils. I then scanned it and
adjusted the brightness/contrast levels a bit to make it stand out better.
Kris Smet

Three near the seashore

Archimedes et al 

Archimedes et. al.

Finally, I was blessed with a clear sky. It has been 26 days since the beginning of the year and this is my fourth clear or mostly clear night. With the moon well into lunation 1040, it was bright and high in the sky at nightfall. After observing the lunar surface for about forty-five minutes, I selected a favorite region in eastern Mare Imbrium for sketching.

As an eighth grader with a new 4.25 inch f/10 Newtonian telescope, Archimedes was the first crater I remember identifying with this scope. I selected my 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6mm eyepiece to make my sketch of this region. In the sketch below the three craters in counterclockwise direction from smallest to largest are: Autolycus, Aristillus and Archimedes. About half way between Autolycus and Archimedes is the impact site of the first spacecraft to reach the moon September 14, 1959. It was Luna 2 and after crossing through the Van Allen belt it detected and confirmed the solar ions known as the solar wind particles just prior to its lunar rendezvous.

The two smaller craters are from the Copernican period and the larger crater Archimedes is an ancient crater that dates back beyond 3 billion years ago. The terraced walls of Archimedes stand 2000 meters above the flat lava flooded floor of this crater. I was unable to detect at this observation any of the craterlets on the floor. This crater is 85 km. across. Autolycus is less than half the diameter of Archimedes has a higher rim (3000 meters) and an irregular floor. Aristillus which is intermediate in size (56 km diameter) has the tallest rim at 3500 meters and 3 mountains on its floor up to 900 meters tall.

For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’
pastel pencils and a soft piece of leather for  blending. Image was slightly darkened using Imageenhance software.
Date 1-27-2007 1:10-2:40 UT
Temperature: 3.8° C (39° F)
Windy with strong gusting
Seeing average Antoniadi: III
Colongitude: 10.5 °
Lunation: 7.9 days
Illumination: 62.3 %

Frank McCabe

Lights Out for Eratosthenes


   At the southern end of the lunar Apennines on the border between the Bay of
Billows (mostly in darkness) and Sea of Rains lies 60 km. crater Eratosthenes. I
was off and on observing over most of the night. By morning twilight when the moon
was high in the east, Eratosthenes crater was experiencing sunset. The deep, dark
caldera-like aperture was undergoing sunset at the beginning of my sketch. This
3.2 billion year old land mark crater is the defining feature of the Eratosthenes
time period. While sketching I could clearly see much of the ejecta pitting of
Copernicus and its ray material which crossed the region 2 billion years after
Eratosthenes formed. I did not include much of the Copernicus crater impact
features because they are in my opinion more suitable for high resolution
photography or direct visual examination at high power. In this sketch I tried to
briefly capture the overall eyepiece view.
  For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’
  pastel pencils and a blending stump. Contrast was slightly increased after scanning.
  Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece 241X
  Date: 7-8-2007, 9:15-10:30 UT
  Temperature: 22° C (73° F)
  Clear to partly cloudy, light winds
  Seeing:  Antoniadi II
  Colongitude 190.2 °
  Lunation 23.25 days
  Illumination 42.2 %
  Frank McCabe

Cleomedes in the Waning Light


Just north of Mare Crisium and formed during the Nectarian period more than 3.7
billion years ago is the 128 km. walled plain crater Cleomedes. This crater has a
high but worn margin and was nicely catching the last rays of sunlight overnight.
The large flat floor may have been flooded by lava that reached the crater floor
through fractures from the molten lava of Mare Crisium. What remains of the
central peak is a low wall oriented north-south and somewhat off center. A hint of
60 km. long ‘y’ shaped Rima Cleomedes was just detectable north of the central
wall running off to the southeast. To the northwest of Cleomedes is 57 km. crater
Burckhardt straddled by its close partners E and F. To the east of Cleomedes is
crater Delmotte (32 km.) and off to the northwest is crater Tralles (43 km.)
hugging the rim. On the floor from north to south are A and larger E which
together damaged the wall of Cleomedes upon formation. Crater B can be seen
south of the central wall and  then J to the southeast on the floor. Resting on the
south rim is crater C. This region of the lunar surface was fascinating to observe
in this part of the lunation.
  For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’
  pastel pencils and a blending stump. Contrast was slightly increased after scanning.
  Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece 241X
  Date: 7-2-2007, 4:10-5:30 UT
  Temperature: 18° C (65° F)
  Clear, light winds
  Seeing:  Antoniadi II
  Colongitude  116.6 °
  Lunation  17.25 days
  Illumination 96.4 %
  Frank McCabe

Four Old Battered Ones

Four old battered ones

On a frosty early morning in the fall of 2006, just a couple of days past third
quarter moon, I selected for sketching a famous old battered region between Mare
Nubium and Mare Cognitum. This region includes four large craters that were
damaged by low flying Imbrium ejecta that caused them to look old and battered
before their time. Nearest the terminator to the north is crater Guericke (59km)
with its flat lava flooded floor that opens to Mare Nubium. Crater Parry, smaller
at 49 km in diameter is older and also flat floored. The other two craters which
look ghostly in the sketch are larger and older and share common walls with Parry.
These craters are Bonpland (61 km.) to the west and Fra Mauro (96 km.) to the
north of Parry. The wall of Parry encroaches on Bonpland and both together on to
Fra Mauro to betray the cratering sequence of these three.
  For this sketch I used: copy paper 8.5”x11”, #2HB graphite pencil,
  Pink pearl eraser.
  Telescope: 6 inch f/ 7.9 Dobsonian at 208x ( first light for this scope)
  Date: 10-15-2006 10:30-11:15 UT
  Temperature: 0° C (32° F)
  Clear, calm
  Seeing:  Antoniadi III
  Co longitude: 190 °
  Lunation: 23 days
  Illumination: 36 %
  Frank McCabe

Clarity brought to complexity

This is my impression of the Lunar Formation Stofler. It was sketched with a #2HB
0.5mm mechanical pencil on Strathmore Wind Power Sketching Paper. Other pertinent
details are on the sketch itself. I found this lunar feature to be one of the most
interesting that I have seen. It appeared to me, that this piece of lunar real
estate was painted with a giant bulls eye.

Jason Aldridge

Repsold on the rim

Repsold crater 

A favourable lunar libration put the crater Repsold at a better
perspective than what one usually finds.  And finding it on the
terminator made it an object for a quick sketch despite the obstacles. 
It was only a few days before a June full moon so the moon was quite low
(from 50 degrees north lat.) even when near the meridian.  Turbulence 
and generally poor seeing kept things from looking sharp for more than
brief  instants.  And the mosquitoes were bad enough that at times they
cast long shadows across my sketching paper.   Sketch done using
graphite pencils,  ink and some not entirely successfull applications of
whiteout.   I usually like to take longer with a sketch but the
mosquitoes kept the viewing short.  North is more or less up and east is
to the left.   Viewed through 150mm f/6 Maksutov Newtonian with
binoviewer, 2x barlow and 23mm eyepieces.

Repsold is a rather large crater at approximately 110 kms diameter that
is known for a prominant rille of the same name that runs through it. 
Some of the unusual highpoints in the sunlight of my sketch might be
part of that formation as they are oriented in an agreeable direction.  
But  being unfamiliar with that extreme limb crater,  I cannot say for
certain.  Sketching limb craters present its own unique challenges and I
find myself thinking more of the three-dimensionality of the crater as
you are no just ‘looking down’ onto the third dimension.

Gerry Smerchanski

Gassendi Sunrise

Gassendi sunrise 

As the 11 day old waxing gibbous moon approached the meridian, I was able to easily search the terminator in a standing position at the eyepiece to find a suitable sketching target. Target located, I began my sketch near the end of evening twilight. The 110 km. diameter floor fractured crater Gassendi was right on the terminator. The central peak was just touched by morning sunlight as were the tallest portions of the western rim across the blackness of the chasmic floor. The unilluminated portion of the south rim is tilted and facing the center of Mare Humorum. This large 3.7 billion year old crater has on its rim to the north a 33 km. crater known as Gassendi A which is mimicking the rim illumination of the former save the central peak. A small portion of the eastern wall of Gassendi B (26 km.) was also visible north and west of A.

For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and a blending stump. Brightness was slightly decreased after scanning.
Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6mm eyepiece 241x
Date: 6-26-2007 2:15-3:10 UT
Temperature: 26° C (78° F)
Hazy, 88% humidity
Seeing:  Antoniadi II- III
Colongitude: 40.2 °
Lunation: 10.96 days
Illumination: 81.3 %
Frank McCabe

Fractured floor and a rim shot

Taruntius with Cameron on its Rim 

Crater Taruntius with Cameron on its Rim

Between southern Mare Tranquillitatius and northwestern Mare Fecundatatius lies the Copernican period crater Taruntius (57 km). This crater was some distance from the terminator but with surrounding smaller craters showing deep shadows, it is clear that Taruntius is a shallow crater. Note the deep shadow in Cameron (12 km) on the northwest rim of Taruntius. In addition to Cameron other rim features include breaches to the north and south along the rim and interesting rough ramparts to the lava floor beyond the crater especially southward. This floor fractured crater presents a small central peak surrounded by dark ash deposits from volcanic activity on the crater floor.

For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’
pastel pencils and a blending stump. Brightness was slightly decreased after scanning.
Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 eyepiece 241x

Date: 6-20-2007 1:15-1:50 UT
Temperature: 21° C (70° F)
Clear, calm
Seeing:  Antoniadi III
Colongitude: 326.2 °
Lunation: 4.9 days
Illumination: 26.6 %

Frank McCabe

Two great philosophers meet on the Moon

Aristoteles and Eudoxus 

Aristoteles and Eudoxus  

Warm moist air from the south and cool dryer air from the north have been battling it out over the Chicago area for the last week. This morning the cold air was winning as the thermometer in my yard was reading 47°F. Fortunately the cold high pressure air mass was accompanied by better than average seeing and transparency.

The 20 day old waning gibbous moon was about 30° above the southern horizon at an hour and a half before sunrise. For sketching targets I chose Aristoteles and Eudoxus along the northern terminator. The view in my 10” f/5.7 Newtonian held up well at both 241X and 362X. I sketched at the eyepiece using both magnifications. Twin peaks on the floor of Aristotles were visible with the southeastern most peak surrounded by shadow. This 90 km Eratosthenian crater was displaying nicely terraced wall on the steep eastern side. Off to the terminator side (east) and overlapped by Aristoteles is the shadowed floor crater Mitchell (31 km.) an older Imbrian formation. Further north along the terminator margin is rim illuminated crater Galle which stretches 22 km in diameter and is about the same age as Aristoteles. The other large and younger crater to the south is Eudoxus (70 km.) which also has steep terraced walls. A small part of the Caucasus mountain range can be seen west and southwest of Eudoxus. Due west of Aristoteles the ancient eroded  ghost-like crater Egede at 37 km in diameter can be seen in contrast to the younger craters named above.
For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and a blending stump.  Brightness was slightly decreased after scanning.
Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 and 4 mm eyepiece 241 and      362X
Date: 6-6-2007 9:05-10:00 UT
Temperature: 8° C (47° F)
Clear, calm
Seeing:  Antoniadi II-III
Colongitude: 158.7 °
Lunation: 20.6 days
Illumination: 72.7 %
Frank McCabe

On the shores of a Stormy Ocean

Hevelius and neighbors 

Hevelius & neighbours

Sketched on the 29th May 2007 from my home observatory using a Antares 105mm F15
Achromatic refractor. Working at 163x through a Denk binoviewer.

Sketch made on a black spiral bound Daler-Rowney 6″x6″ sketch pad using a
combination of Conte sticks, watercolour and pastel pencils. Image scanned in
Greyscale but unprocessed.
Dale Holt

Mighty Copernicus


My second (and last) crater so far. Not the most easy to draw, but he was asking for
it. Drawing the moon is a lot more difficult than expected. There are so many
features to pay attention to. I had to stop sketching after an hour, because the
shadows were changing the view.

The image is flipped to match a North down view.

Date : June, 05, 2006
Time : 21.10 UT
Seeing : 2

Scope : ETX 105
EP : Vixen zoom with barlow.
Power : x240
Rony De Laet, my personal website.

View from a high point

 Hipparchus and Albateginius

Walled Plain Craters Hipparchus and Albateginius
Close to the visible center of the lunar nearside are the north-south crater pair
Hipparchus and Albateginius. On this evening from my observing site they were on
the sunrise terminator. Hipparchus at 150 km. in diameter is the largest and
oldest of the pair dating from the pre-Nectarian period (4 billion years ago). At
and internal to the northeast rim of Hipparchus lies crater Horrocks (30 km.) with
its bright rim and the deep dark center.

Just beyond the Hipparchus crater rim to the southeast is the young, small (15
km.) crater Pickering also with a well illuminated rim. Near the center of
Hipparchus crater Hipparchus X is visible and between it and Horrocks a small
narrow rille was easily seen which is parallel to Rima Reaumur lying out beyond
the Hipparchus rim to the northwest  (not sketched). Between Hipparchus and
Albateginius are the old craters Halley (37 km.) and Hind (31 km.). Most of the
rim of crater Albateginius (139 km.) is brightly illuminated by the sun as are two
high points within the “well of darkness”. The illuminated point closest to the
center is the top of a central peak. The other bright point closer to the rim is
the high point on the margin of crater Klein (44km) sitting in darkness. At the
beginning of the sketch these two points were not visible but appeared about 45
minutes after I started.

I tried to picture in my mind what the view would be like if you could stand on
either of these high points and look out and down. Wouldn’t that be a sight?

  For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’
  pastel pencils and a blending stump. Contrast was slightly increased after scanning.
  Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece 241X
  Date: 5-24-2007 2:05-3:20 UT
  Temperature: 23° C (74° F)
   Partly cloudy with haze, light winds
  Seeing:  Antoniadi II
  Colongitude 356.7 °
  Lunation 7.28 days
  Illumination 52 %
  Frank McCabe

Sundown at Gauss


At one day past full moon old luna was arching it’s way to the high point for the
night when I selected for my sketching target craters along the terminator on the
eastern side of the moon. Six craters larger than 45 kilometers in diameter are
included in this sketch. With only the highest points along the western rim being
touched by sun rays, it is sundown at crater Gauss. With Gauss measuring 177 km.
in diameter it is categorized as a walled plain crater and dates back to the
Nectarian age (3.9-3.8 billion years ago). Southwest of Gauss with the floor in
darkness except for the illuminated central peak we have crater Hahn,  a formation
slightly younger than Gauss and smaller at 84 km. To the north of Hahn is a crater
of the same age as Gauss known as Berosus. It measures 77 km in diameter and its
western wall is not as high as that of its partner Hahn. The largest crater on the
western side of the sketch is Geminus at 86 km. It has a low central peak and no
crater rays,  although it is the youngest of the craters in the sketch at about 2 billion
years of age. The smaller crater close to Geminus to the east is 47 km. crater
Bernoulli. And finally to the south of Geminus is crater Burckhardt at 57 km. in
diameter with small craters straddling it to the southeast and southwest.
  Sketching: Graphite 2H pencils and India ink on
  White 8.5”x11” copy paper
  Telescope: 10” f/5.7 Dobsonian  6mm eyepiece
  Time: 10-8-2006, 5:30-6:30 UT
  Colongitude: 101.6°
  Weather: clear, calm
  Seeing : Antoniadi III
  Frank McCabe

The Ever Popular Rupes Recta

Rupes Recta

In the morning hours before sun-up the early waning crescent moon was superimposed
on the firmament just west of the Pleiades. I was somewhat transfixed by this
scene but I was set up to sketch “straight wall” on the floor of the lunar Sea of
Clouds. From the eastern edge of Mare Nubium you can see the Triplet craters
Thebit (57 km), A and L. Next moving westward is the Imbrian escarpment Rupes
Recta , not a true wall in the usual sense but on one side standing more than 300
meters high at some  points and 114 km in length. The scarp face would be visible
from crater Birt (17 km) to the west, the youngest of the larger craters sketched
here. Touching the rim of Birt to the east is Birt A.  Continuing westward we see
Rima Birt a 51 km rille from the Imbriam epoch. At the end of the rille to the
south, is tiny 3 km crater Birt F seen in this sketch. Finally sitting on a
wrinkle in the floor of the mare is crater Nicollet (15 km) a Eratosthenian epoch
impact scar.
  For this sketch I used: white copy paper, graphite pencil and pen and ink 
  Contrast adjusted with Imageenhance software
  Telesccope: 18 inch f/ 5 Dobsonian working at 222X (9mm ocular)
  Date: 8-16-2006 9:30-10:35 UT
  Temperature: 17°C ( 62°F)
  Clear, calm
  Seeing:  Antoniadi  III
  Colongitude 178 °
  Lunation 22.3 days
  Illumination 45.9%
  Frank McCabe

Three craters from the top of Alto Rey

Three craters

Hi Friends,

I would like to share my sketches with all of you, I have lots of them in
my notebook and when I discovered the ASOD site recently I was surprised and happy
to find it. Its wonderful, a really good idea.

I made this sketch of three moon craters of the southern region with graphite
pencil on white paper, three craters are hand made without processing after,
just painted looking directly through the ocular and with red light. They
took me almost an hour aproximately.

The equipment used: Meade 8″ SC. Date:
3 Jun 2006;  Moon age:  8 days.

The night were very good conditions, I was on top of a mountain called Alto
Rey in Guadalajara, Spain.

All my drawings are almost first drafts in the place of observation, the
best I try to do them again and then more good and after change to negative
to get them more real. I havent still practice with photoshop, but I will
try it.

All my drafts are kept tenderly because they are the result of the night,
all filled with annotations and details by hand,

I hope you enjoy!
Thanks a lot.

Leonor Ana

Cup of nectar


Crater Bohnenberger in Eastern Mare Nectaris
From my location, this evening presented the best observing conditions since June
of last year. As the sun set in the west-northwest the crescent moon was riding
about 55° above the horizon, so I spent about hour looking for potential targets
to sketch. Crater Taruntius presented an interesting sketching target with its
central peak and unusual wall but I wanted to sketch closer to the terminator. I
finally settled on crater Bohnenberger just west of the Lunar Pyrenees Mountains
that define the eastern edge of the Sea of Nectar.

Bohnenberger is an old Pre-Imbrium crater 33 km diameter. Bohnenberger has a pair
of broad central peaks, a break in its northern wall and a crater on its western
floor. Crater Bohnenberger A about the same size (30 km) with a bright, shallow,
flat floor can be seen to the south with 12 km crater G between them. Some 100 km
to the west of Bohnenberger A, crater Rosse could be seen among the lunar ridges
in the Sea of Nectar. The high walls of Rosse were brightly lit against the dark
frozen lava of the mare. The dark shallow crater about the same size as Rosse at
the bottom of the sketch is crater Gaudibert H. Within the region of the sketch a
great deal more could be seen but was beyond my ability to record in a reasonable
time as the shadows and light continued to change.
  For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 9”x12”, white and
  black Conte’ pastel pencils and a blending stump.
  Before submitting I changed slightly the contrast using Imageenhance software
  Telesccope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece 241X
  Date: 4-22-2007 1:35-2:40 UT
  Temperature: 20° C (69° F)
  Clear, calm
  Seeing:  Antoniadi  I-II
  Colongitude 325.7 °
  Lunation 4.5 days
  Illumination 27.5 %
  Frank McCabe

Heavy light

Heavy light 

Cardanus, Krafft, Eddington,Seleucus,Briggs, Briggs B, W Oceanus Procellarum
South Telescope build by Grubb Dublin 1868

Fl ? 18Ft 10.7inches/Objective 11.75 inches

Eyepiece? Objective by Cauchoix 1829
Dunsink Observatory Dublin
53° 22′ 60N  6° 19′ 60W
April 30th 2007
20:50UT – 21:57UT
Lunation 13.43 days
Illumination 98%
Seeing 1-2
T poor/hazy
300gm Daler Paper/Daler Soft Pastels/Conte Crayons/ Quilling
needle/Blending stick


I was fourteen years when old I first looked through the South Telescope in Dunsink Observatory. I had pestered my dad to bring me out there, a bit of a long drive in those days, before motorways.

Jupiter was on view that evening, it was crystal clear.  The planet must have been quite high as I could look through the Grubb standing up.

I had my own little Tasco scope on a plastic tripod at the time not much to see in it, but the moon always got a look. Ever since I wanted to revisit that moment and look once again through the eyepiece of this well constructed classic telescope. Over the years I paid several visits to the observatory public nights, but always cloud or rain or both.

I got an idea in my head a few months ago, I asked for time to sketch something through the eyepiece this request yielded a positive answer, but it took time to set up.

April 30th 2007 I got a phone call from, let’s say my host in Dunsink “would you like to try tonight”? I was out the door and on the M50 with my gear in less then 10 minutes, an hour’s drive to the Observatory.

I was greeted warmly and the dome was opened, the scope set up, the steps in place.

My position for the next hour and ten minutes was probably the most uncomfortable sketching position in which I had ever worked. I was neither seated or standing, no tracking, and a big telescope to move.

 The Grubb was so well balanced, easy to use, a joy to hold, and a privilege to use.

 Left alone for the most part I quickly got into my zoned in or zoned out

 (depends on your point view) sketching mode.

The eyepiece was low powered generating most likely 125X, used for public viewing, other eyepieces maybe available if I get to repeat this astronomical adventure.

Apart from the difficult sketching position, I felt so at home in Dunsink Observatory, it felt so moreish. Up and down moving the steps, to follow the Moon as she charged along heading for her bed. My concentration waned after an hour, more work to do than in my garden. I was stiff the next morning but I was high as a kite, I got to do something with this instrument made so carefully many years ago in Dublin. A full circle moment in my life, moments that seem to happen with more frequency these days.

In brief periods, when the image was still I could see much more detail and fine tones of grey than in my Dob. Eddington gave me great shapes and that ridge was so so slender, only 2% of the Moon was in darkness and even a little of that was seeping through the blackness into the day.

I admire Arthur Stanley Eddington for his communication prowess during his life.

A poem he wrote came to mind on the way home,

Oh leave the Wise our measures to collate
One thing at least is certain, light has weight
One thing is certain and the rest debate
Light rays, when near the Sun, do not go straight. “ A.S.Eddington

Apart from this poem being about gravitational lensing, the phrase “light has weight” sticks out to me as an artist. Drawing in the sunlit wall on the western side of Eddington, 138km or so of sunlit weight, which was up till that lunation invisible, non existing until our sun made it so.

A bright note in his Music of the the Spheres

Kepler and rays 

Crater Kepler and its Rays
At nearly 12 days into the current lunation sunlight is bathing young crater
Kepler and its extensive ray system. Kepler falls into the category of a smallish
complex crater (31 km in diameter and 2.75 km deep) with a low peak rising from an
otherwise small flat central floor. Most of the floor is covered with slumped wall
debris. A small part of the inner wall appeared terraced. Crater Kepler lies
between the Oceanus Procellarum and the Mare Insularum both of which are made of
dark lavas. Very prominent rays extend from the rampart and ejecta blanket well
beyond the crater rim for more than 300 km. Some of the rays, especially in the
east, overlap rays of other craters such as Copernicus.

Crater Kepler was named by the Jesuit astronomer Giovanni Battista Riccioli about
28 years after the death of Johannes Kepler. He also named Crater Tycho after
Tycho Brahe, the man with the accurate data measurements that helped make Kepler

West northwest of Kepler the large old crater close to the terminator is Marius.
Using a higher magnification ocular than that used in this drawing, I could see
several domes to the north of the crater in very good grazing light. Kepler is a
favorite crater target of mine as the moon approaches full phase.
  For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 9”x12”, white and
  black Conte’ pastel pencils and a blending stump.
  Telesccope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 9 mm eyepiece 161X
  Date: 4-29-2007 2:45-3:45 UT
  Temperature: 18° C (65° F)
  Clear, calm
  Seeing:  Antoniadi  III
  Colongitude  51.8 °
  Lunation 11.6 days
  Illumination 90.5 %
  Frank McCabe

Brightest Heliocentrist


When I visit the Moon with my telescope, unless I’m working with friends on a collaborative project, I like to see what takes my fancy when I reach the terminator. Invariably something catches your eye and just won’t let it go, that is what I go for, he who shouts the loudest. On the evening of Saturday April 28th it turned out to be Aristarchus magically illuminated along the terminator.
I used my Antares 105mm F14.3 refractor, viewing through a Denk binoviewer
yeilding 163x.
Using a black sketching pad and a mix of watercolour pencils, pastel pencils and
conte sticks after 15 minutes this was the result.
Dale Holt

Schiller Sextet

Schiller Sextet 

 This composite image started out as a single white pastel on black paper
sketch posted on the ‘Cloudy Nights’ sketching forum. As the discussion
around it evolved, other Cloudy Nighters posted their own sketches of this
distinctive crater, and I began to construct the montage seen here in it’s
final form. It is fascinating to see the same lunar feature captured in so
many different styles and with different media. Between us we have covered
nearly three years of Schiller observations, each at around the same
lunation stage of 11-12 days when the local lighting is advantageous and
dramatic. The sketching media used varied between white pastel (or Conte’)
on black paper, and graphite pencil (or charcoal) on white paper.

Equipment used (and magnification):

Sally Russell, 105mm F/6 refractor, 480x
Michael Rosolina, 8″ F/10 SCT, 200-170x
Rich Handy, 12″ SCT, 639x
Eric Graff, 6″ F/6 reflector, 240x
Jeremy Perez, 6″ F/8 Newtonian, 240x
Erika Rix, 70mm ETX, 88x

(With the kind permission of Michael, Rich, Eric, Jeremy and Erika, and with
my thanks to them for generously sharing their sketches and making this
project possible.)
Sally Russell


About 4.6 billion years ago, few million years after the formation of the proto Earth from the accretion of planetesimals in the nascent Solar nebula, our still molten world would suffer an impact from a another Mars sized protoplanet that would tear almost one fifth of the Earth’s crust and mantle away and scatter a debris cloud into Earth orbit. Soon thereafter this material would coalesce into the early Moon, the building of which would continue as major impacts accumulated over the next few billion years. Although at this time in our early Moon’s past much of the debris had already been swept clear of its orbital path, a close look at Luna herself would have revealed several stragglers, moons of our Moon in close tow. Jostled and buffeted by gravitational forces, these moons were either lost to space, impacted the early Earth, or were pulled inexorably until they plummeted to the lunar surface. Such impacts from degraded orbits share a common attribute, not only on the Moon, but on the other bodies of the Solar System as well. They all show an extremely shallow impact angle, usually in the range of 2 to 3 degrees to the surface. When such a moon strikes a body it will impart most of its kinetic energy longitudinally along its path, carving out a long elliptical shaped crater and sending ejecta laterally across the range. Working in tandem with these very oblique impacts are the tidal stresses that can break apart a small moon, thereby lengthening the “footprint” of the event by allowing space between successive strikes, much as seen in secondary crater chain formation.

Between 3.85 and 3.92 Billion years ago during the Nectarian epoch, one small gleaming moon was tugged and pulled, probably influenced by various mascons that had already developed in the gravitational field of the Moon. Falling out of orbit, it would follow a trajectory that would take it around the far side for the last time. As the little moon fell, tidal stresses split it into two or three large pieces, which traveled together as they continued their descent over the limb and around the southwest highlands, over the craters Gruemberger, Blancanus and finally Scheiner, where they impacted into the Zucchius-Schiller basin, creating the very oblong 174 km x 69 km crater, Schiller. Over the course of the next several hundred million years the flow of mare lavas would fill the basin and the floor of the long deep gouge, covering some the evidence of the violence of this event. So next time you are gazing at the Moon’s southwestern quadrant, stop by Schiller and remember when our Moon had moons.

Rich Handy
Poway, California

Seaside Crater


Gassendi is my favourite crater due to its many varied features.  This
crater has it all, with central peaks, craterlets,  internal rilles, 
and a breached crater wall where the Sea of Moisture has flooded in.  
It also  borders onto a rough highland region. You can spend a lot of
time just taking in the whole view let alone trying to sketch it.  In
fact the biggest problem that one faces when doing lunar sketches has to
be deciding on the level of detail to include.   Sketch was done April
30/2004  using graphite pencils, black ink and whiteout on white
paper.   Telescope was a 6″ Maksutov Newtonian with binoviewer 20mm
eyepieces and 2x barlow.

Gerry Smerchanski
Teulon, Manitoba, Canada

Between the ears of the rabbit

Craters Gutenberg and Goclenius 

Craters Gutenberg and Goclenius
    In the mid 1600’s Johannes Hevelius named this highland region east of the Sea
of Fertility Colchis (Land of the Golden Fleece) within a few years Giovanni
Riccioli named the same region Terra Manna. Two hundred years later both of
these names disappeared as the craters of the region continued to be named.
This lunar surface being erased by the shadow of the terminator early this morning
is between the ears of “The Rabbit in the Moon”. The largest crater with an
illuminated floor is battered Gutenberg, a 4 billion year old 75 km diameter
formation with a large breaching impact crater (Gutenberg E) on its northeastern
rim. East of the crater the widest and deepest part of Rimae Goclenius was glimpsed
as the seeing periodically improved. Domes in this area could not be seen with
certainty due to poor seeing. Southeast of Gutenberg crater Goclenius a 56 km
Nectarian age crater appears round with a floor in complete darkness. Also close to
the terminator are craters Magelhaens through Colombo.

For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’
pastel pencils and a blending stump.
Telesccope:10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 9 mm eyepiece (161x)
Date: 4-6-2007 7:08-8:20 UT
Temperature: -1.6°C (29°F)
Partly cloudy, breezy
Seeing: Antoniadi IV
Colongitude 133.2 °
Lunation 18.2 days
Illumination 89 %

Frank McCabe

A photogenic pair

Theophilus and Cyrillus at Sunrise 

Theophilus and Cyrillus at Sunrise

Sketched over a 1.5 hour period at the eyepiece on Sunday April 22,
2007.  (2:30 to 4:00  UT 23/04/2007)   More time spent afterwards
colouring in shadow regions etc.  Done with graphite pencils (4H to
4B),  black ink and whiteout on white paper.   Scope was Celestron
9.25,  binoviewer,  2x barlow,  and 24mm eyepieces.  Picture was
reversed left to right once scanned to give a upright and correct
left/right view.

At the public star party last month (March) with the moon at the same
phase, I used a similar scope setup trained on these same craters to
illicit some “oohs”  and “wows” from the crowd.   After spending most of
the time looking at these craters I realized that the pair was quite
‘photogenic’ and would make for a nice sketch.    This month,  they were
even more strategically placed to reveal the terrain.  The smaller
crater Madler was also quite interesting and included.    One thing that
made this sketch a bit out of the ordinary was the unusual interior to
Cyrillus which has some unusual landscapes near the border with
Theophilus.  The light and shadows between Theophilus and the terminator
was also unusual and complicated.  My first sketch in over a year; it
seems I’m slowing up.  Taking this much time to capture all the details
is not the best for accuracy on transient lighting on lunar features.

Gerry Smerchanski

On the edge of a fertile sea

Langrenus and the Sea of Fertility 

Langrenus at the Edge of the Sea of Fertility

With the Harvest moon just past and the shadow of the setting sun approaching the eastern shore of the Sea of Fertility, crater Langrenus stands out in all its glory. Langrenus is an Eratosthenian Period crater, between one and three billion years old. This crater is about 133 km. in diameter with a rim 2.6 km. above the bright, mostly flat floor. Mountain peaks near the center stand 1 km. high. Rays from the crater can be seen projecting in a westward direction across the Sea of Fertility. Much older (four billion plus years) and slightly larger than Langrenus to the south along the terminator is the crater basin Vendelinus. The walls of this crater were dealt crushing blows delivered by the impacts that created craters Lohse, Lame  and Holden which are drawn clockwise from north to south. Many additional smaller crater impacts on Vendelinus attest to the age of this old battered basin.

More than 400 km. to the northwest, grazing angle impaction created the craters Messier and Messier A. These craters exhibit a long pair of rays extending westward across the remainder of the mare. Note the perpendicular (north-south) rays centered on Messier. Laboratory experiments have demonstrated this pattern of so called “butterfly rays” can be duplicated with shallow angle high speed impacts.

Frank McCabe

For this sketch I used: white copy paper 6”x 8”, and a 2HB graphite pencil
at the eyepiece with the addition of marker ink to darken shadows indoors.

Telesccope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 9mm eyepiece
Date: 10-9-2006 5:00-5:45 UT
Temperature: 10°C (50°F)
Seeing:  Pickering 5
Co longitude: 114 °
Sunset longitude: 66.1° E.
Lunation:  16.8 days
Illumination:  94%

Lunar luminaries

2006 07 07

Lansberg/Gamma and Delta

“Wednesday night (Thursday for UT), was a practice session for imaging with my
Rebel.  I finally bought a t-ring adaptor during a star party a few weeks ago and
had some fun playing with the new toy. The guys in the DSLR forum are giving me some
great pointers.  Feels very strange entering that realm, but I have a feeling it
will compliment the sketching well for my observations.  Plus gives me yet another
way to enjoy this hobby to the fullest!

It was then time to put the camera away and dig out my sketch kit.  Paul, being the
thoughtful husband that he is, bought Tom L’s binoviewers for me last month.  Tom,
if you’re reading this, I absolutely LOVE them!  Wow!  Thank you both so much!!!
I’ve been having a lot of fun with black Strathmore paper and Conte’ crayons for my
solar work, so with Rich in mind, I got up the nerve to try my first lunar sketch
with this media. Lansberg and the surrounding craters were my main targets that
night.  I explored the terminator, tried to count craterlets in Plato, and admired
Copernicus (and was tempted to try it again, as the last time I tried to sketch that
beauty, my sketch was cut short and it was never completed).

Lansberg is from the Imbrian period and is about 41km.  The central mountains stuck
out like two eyeballs in a dark room and I was pleased to see some terracing.  All
the little craterlets around Lansberg belong to it with Kunowsky D being the
exception to the NW.  Reinhold is trying to slip into the scene to the NE, but got
its toe stuck in the door.  Montes Riphaeus was very dramatic, or at least compared
to the rest of the scene in that area.


After a great day today, which included solar observing (boy, that sun feels
great!), I set up with the binoviewers again tonight.  Although seeing was poor, I
went ahead and bumped up magnification with 8mm TV Plossls (love that EP so much, I
had to get another one!).  It was good enough to support the level of detail needed
to observe domes.  Had I wanted to jump into a few complex craters, I believe a 20mm
would have been best.  So, domes it was and why not a pair?  Mons Gruithuisen Delta
and Gamma were flagging me down and I just could not resist. 

Gruithuisen Domes Delta and Gamma

They are also from the Imbrian period and close to 20km each.  Looking at VMA, Delta
is classified as a mountain and Gamma is a dome.  Rukl calls both of them a domelike
mountain massif.  Hmmm, let’s see what Chuck Woods has to say about them.  Aha!  He
calls them domes, most likely formed of silicic volcanic rocks.  For more reading on
this, see The Modern Moon, page 37.  I would love to be one of the geologists that
Chuck suggests may someday bang on the domes with their rock hammers to see what
they are made of.
It was a bit disappointing that I didn’t see the summit crater on Gamma, but there
was an obvious darkened area on the western top portion of it.  I loved buzzing
around in the all the little dips and valleys to the north of it, though.  The
little raised line between Gamma and Gruithuisen K looked like a pea pod. Isn’t the
lava covered floor beautiful in that region?”
Sketches done with black Strathmore Artagain paper and white Conte’ crayons

Erika Rix

Zanesville, Ohio

Between Serenity and Tranquility

Plinius and Dawes 

Craters Plinius and Dawes
After more than 23 days of very cold, cloudy, winter weather an approaching warm front got me out under the moon and stars on this clear, transparent night of good seeing. I centered the telescope field of view on craters Plinius and Dawes near the lunar terminator. This is the region I selected for my sketching. Plinius is the largest (43km) crater in the sketch. Its central peak and irregular, cratered floor are hidden in darkness but a hint of its terraced walls can be seen on the illuminated inner west margin. Further to the west the peaks near Promontorium Archeruia are catching the rising sunrays. About 55 km to the south of Plinius is crater Ross, a 26 km diameter crater identified only by its sunlit rim. This crater rests in the Sea of Tranquility. To the northeast of Plinius near the edge of the Sea of Serenity is the 19 km crater Dawes, its floor mostly in shadow. Directly to the north of Plinius the rilles of Plinius were clearly visible. In addition a small part of Dorsum Nicol is also seen. All of these features are positioned on the dark colored lavas at the boundary between the two above mentioned seas. The grazing sunlight helped to enhance the changes in topography.

Frank McCabe
  Sketch details:
  For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 9”x12”, white and
  black Conte’ pastel pencils and a soft leather blending stump.
  Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece
  Date: 2-23-2007 1:05-1:45 UT
  Temperature: 0C ( 32F)
  Clear, calm
  Seeing:  Antoniadi  II
  Colongitude 339 degrees
  Lunation 5.4 days
  Illumination 35.7%

Entrance to a frozen Hell

Eratosthenes entrance to a frozen Hell

There was a very thick mist that night, and the moon was hardly visible behind the clouds. I  put the scope outside with no intent for observing, as I wanted to adjust a new home made focuser. It was a very pleasing surprise to discover that there was absolutely no turbulence at all on the Moon.
Despite the thick clouds, the light and contrasts were still strong, and everything was frozen, no movement at all. I jumped on my pencils, and made a draft of Eratosthenes, one of my favorite craters on the Moon, maybe my favorite. I like the long and thin design of the Apennine mountains terminating like a lyra, with that black and strange hole, just at the limit of infinite darkness.

Pierre Desvaux

– Medium used: White Conté on black Canson paper
– Telescope: Home made 16″ Dobson, Nagler 12, barlow 2X Celestron
– Date: December 2006
– Place: Blanzy, Bourgogne, France

Pacific places amidst “magnificent desolation”

Stofler and environs

Distinctive crater Stofler resides in the midst of the dense and chaotic crater field of the southern hemisphere of the Moon. One clear but very chilly evening in January 2007, the challenge of trying to capture the view was more than I could resist – this is my attempt. The sketch was carried out using white and black Conte’ pencils and chalk pastels on black ‘Canford’ paper. I began by marking out the main crater shapes using white Conte’ pencil, then I used a small chunk of white chalk pastel, broadside, to lay down the mare regions, blending this with a fingertip and a small cloth. More highlights were added (white Conte’ pencil), and a putty eraser used to define some of the features (and shadow extent) by negative drawing where I removed areas of pastel previously laid down. More detail was added with white Conte’ pencil as I went along, but there really was far too much to capture and I realized that I would have to quit while I was ahead and finish my outside drawing time before the view changed substantially. Once back inside I tidied up the sketch, removing the inevitable unwanted pastel smudges with a putty eraser, and re-defining some of the darkened inner crater edges with black Conte’ pencil, then using blending stumps (with touches of both white and black chalk pastel) to make final tiny adjustments. The sketch has been inverted and rotated in paint shop pro to give the standard orientation.

Sally Russell

Date: 25 January 2007

Time: 21.10-22.00 UT

Equipment: 105mm AstroPhysics APO/bino-viewer (mag x60)

Lunation: 7.3 days, 48.7% illumination

Sketch size: 6″ x 8″

The southern highlands of the Moon are almost completely dominated by craters in the 20 to 100 km size range, randomly scattered about the region. One way to determine relative ages of craters is to note which overlay or superpose over other craters or features, and the crater that obliterates or partially modifies another crater is usually younger. It is this principle that is the foundation of a stratigraphic approach to understanding lunar geological history. In the lunar highlands there is no shortage of overlapping or partially modified craters, and as Sally points out this region is about as densely chaotic as any on the Moon. A careful look at her beautiful sketch also reveals one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Moon. Many craters have smooth flat floors and the adjacent surface topography between these craters is also relatively smooth. The big question is: what is responsible for these smooth areas? Do the smooth floors and intercrater terrane reflect episodes of highland volcanism?  Or perhaps these areas are covered with thick layers of ejecta that settled out across the surface as a result of this large scale stochastical gardening.

The shepard philosopher

The shepard philosopher

When I looked outside that Sunday evening there was not a cloud in the sky and the eight day moon was shining down on me from a very favourable angle. There were far too many desirable sketches available, and my eyes darted from Rupes Recta toward the south, to Eratosthens and the shadows and highlands spinning off it, and further north to Plato sitting on the darkness of the terminator. It was a difficult choice, but I settled on Plato just because it had slightly more interesting shadows and also some very bright highlights emerging from the darkness near its northern rim. A long thin pointed shadow poured from the base of Mons Pico toward the terminator and also from another high area to its right as I viewed it. These shadows lengthening in the hour it took to do this sketch. Just above Mons Pico as I viewed (south is up) a change in the lunar surface was apparent in the form of an Eiffel tower shaped greyness which swept up to and finished at Piazzi Smith. Mons Piton sits with Piazzi in area across from Montes Alpes which had several sun kissed high points. I observed the needle like Vallis Alpes cutting a sharp gash in the surface through rugged lunar land, lit slightly on its northern edge. Feathery shadows set of the shape of Plato and detached from its northern rim, very bright high areas warmed themselves as they became uncloaked from the blackness.

Deirdre Kelleghan
Irish Astronomical Society 1937 – 2007

Sketch details:

February 25th 2007
20:45UT – 21:45UT
53.2000ºN, 6.1000º W
200mm/F6/6.3mm Plossel/193X
8.19 days
Seeing 2
Trans Average
300gm Daler R paper/DR soft pastels/Black watercolour pencil/wooden toothpick

Plato and Sheep

Nestled on the plains between Mare Imbrium and Mare Frigoris lies the nearly lava filled crater Plato. This 100 km, dark pool of frozen lava has a darker tone than the lava that filled the Imbrium basin. Crater counts indicate that the lavas that filled Plato are actually younger than the Mare lavas of Imbrium. The history of emplacement goes something like this: the Imbrium basin was created first, followed by the impact that created Plato, and then the gradual fill in of basaltic lava that flooded Imbrium and much of the existing basin rings and superposed craters. This left untouched some of the isolated massifs that are now known as Plato’s Sheep, including the towering Montes Pico (2500 meters high), Piton (2000 meters high), and the Tenneriffe Mountains (2500 meters high). Finally came the slow lava inundation of Plato itself. Above Plato and rendered with wonderful precision is the Vallis Alpes, a large graben (extension) fault which probably formed as a result of the original impact that created Imbrium. Dee’s beautiful sketch clearly depicts the drama that awaits the observer when the telescope is turned to this region as the terminator passes through.

Famously floor fractured

Famously floor fractured

Lunar crater Petavius

The end of winter in the Midwest can sometimes produce cold, clear, wind free nights. On this particular night the waning gibbous Moon cleared the tall barren trees where I had set up my 10″ scope to observe and sketch. After examining the Moon awhile at low power I selected a target close to the terminator for sketching. Near the edge of the southeastern corner of the Sea of Fertility is the large ancient crater Petavius. Connected by a rampart to the west (just right of Petavius) is 57 km Wrottesley. To the east of Petavius buried deep in shadow is the Palitzsch Valley, asequence of overlapping craters that extends for nearly 112 km. The atmosphere was in such turmoil that much of the subtle detail was obscured at the time of this observation. The multiple mountain peaks on the floor of Petavius stood out as did the terraced walls and the 60 km long straight rille from the central peaks to the southwest rim. Even under conditions of poor seeing this is a rewarding crater to observe a couple of days past full Moon. If you missed it, try again 3 days past New Moon. From March to the end of spring the waxing crescent Moon is a great target in the Northern Hemisphere.

Frank McCabe

Sketch data:

For this sketch I used black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 9″ x 12″, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and a soft blending stump.

Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 dobsonian and 6mm eyepiece

Date: 3-6-2007 2:45-3:30UT

Temperature: -6C (21 F) Clear Calm

Seeing: Antoniadi IV

Colongitude: 113.5 degrees

Lunation: 16.5 Days

Illumination: 95%