Lunar Crater Gassendi

Crater Gassendi - 31 January 2015
Crater Gassendi – 31 January 2015

Hi all,

tonight I had a look outside and – yeah, no clouds and clear skies.

So I took out the 10″ f/5 truss dobsonian and prepared for lunar sketching: Today the floor-fractured crater Gassendi attracted me and presented nice central peaks and its rimae on its ground.

Telescope: 10″ f/5 Martini Dobsonian

Eyepiece: Skywatcher Planetary 5mm

Date & Time: Jan 31st, 2015 / 1925-2015 CET

Place: home terrace, Dusseldorf region, Germany

Technique: chalk, charcoal and white pastel on black sketching cardbox paper

Hope you like the sketch.

Clear skies!


Western Highland Peninsula Craters

Western Highland Peninsula Craters
Western Highland Peninsula Craters

For those that observe and sketch the Moon, trying to pick targets just before, just at and just after first quarter can be much fun because there are so many choices in good relief. On this occasion I chose two large walled plain craters near the terminator. Albategnius (129 km.) the younger of the two ancient craters and further from the terminator it was displaying its central peak (1.5km. tall) and large crater Klein (44 km.) on its rim. Crater Halley (36 km.) to the northeast is notably a kilometer deeper than Klein and although further from the terminator has a completely shadowed floor with that greater depth.

The other large crater Ptolemaeus (154km.) was on the terminator at the beginning of my sketch.
With the sun so low the rim shadows were long and were creating a special effect. In combination with the rim shadow of little crater Ammonius (8.5 km.) I could see old Nesse. Jim Adlhoch describes the floor shadow as looking like the head and neck of the Loch Ness monster- see Lunar Photo of the Day September 4, 2014.
Crater Ptolemaeus has a floor covered with many shallow bowl shaped craters, ghosts buried under lava. These ghost craters can be seen at low sun but the central peak is completely absent. To the north is crater Herschel (41 km.) with a shadowed floor.

Western Highland Peninsula Craters
Western Highland Peninsula Craters

For this sketch I used: Black Canson sketching paper, 10”x10”, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and blending stumps.

Telescope: 13.1 inch f/ 6 Dobsonian and 9 mm eyepiece 222x
Date: 01-28-2015 00:05-02:00 UT
Temperature: -4°C (25°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi II
Transparency: 4/5
Co longitude: 0.7°
Lunation: 7.20 days
Illumination: 56.1 %

Frank McCabe

Comparison of Two Sketches of Atlas and Hercules

Atlas and Hercules
Atlas and Hercules

Yesterday evening I could sketch the wonderful pair of craters Atlas and Hercules with charcoal and chalk on black cardbox. This was the second sketch I did of these craters. I had a look into my archive and compared the current sketch with the one done on May last year.

Both sketches have been done with my 5” Celestron MAK. What we can see is the different lighting conditions based on moon age and libration. Furthermore, the seeing conditions last time have been much better than yesterday – I could not go up to 300x yesterday but had to leave it with the 7mm EP.

Clear skies!


Thor’s Helmet – a Magnificent Apparition

Thor's Helmet - NGC 2359
Thor’s Helmet – NGC 2359

Hello all,

One thing all astronomers chase is ideal atmospheric conditions. An apparently clear night can present poor transparency or poor seeing due to thermal energy high up in the atmosphere. But every now and then, ideal or even very close to ideal conditions do present themselves, and it gives us the finest view of the heavens.

Such conditions presented themselves to me on the night of January 18.

My first view of Thor’s Helmet, NGC 2359, was four years ago during the Ice In Space Astro Camp. My view of it seemed to me to be a fine one. So much so it inspired me to sketch it straight away! Four years later, presented with a night of exceptional transparency, I revisited Thor’s Helmet as it was right on zenith for me.

WOW! What an image! This night Thor’s Helmet had nebulosity extending in four different directions, not just the two from my first view. So much more structure was apparent, and the nebulosity extended so much further, and so many more stars were visible too.

I’ve also included an image of the sketch I did of Thor’s Helmet in 2011 for comparison. It is this way that the full impact of the differences in conditions between the two nights can be appreciated.

I hope you enjoy this sketch.


Object: Thor’s Helmet, NGC 2359
Scope: 17.5” push-pull Karee dob
Gear: 30mm 82° Explore Scientific, 91X, OIII filter
Date: 18th January, 2015
Location: Katoomba Airfield, Australia
Media: White soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper
Duration: approx. 1hr.

Thor's Helmet - NGC 2359
Thor’s Helmet – NGC 2359 (2011)

Prominence Extraordinaire! H-alpha Prominence 1-10-15

Solar Prominence - January 10, 2015
Solar Prominence – January 10, 2015


I think what I like best about solar observing is you never know what you will find going on! This large prominence at the eastern limb appeared extraordinary in its detailed and lacey appearance. Seeing was very good and at higher magnification a network of bright areas appeared, much like a picture of a neuron cell with branching filaments extending in all directions. Tilting Sun Graphics are used to denote prominence location.

Solar Prominence
h-alpha 60mm Lunt
Maui, Hawaii
0945-1020 HST (1945-2020 UT)
Black Canson paper, white & black charcoal pencil, watercolor pencil & Conte’ Crayon
Tilting Sun Graphics

Cindy (Thia ) L. Krach
Haleakala Amateur Astronomers

Webmaster’s note: ASOD is experiencing problems with sketch submissions where the file size exceeds the limit of the ASOD WordPress programs capability to process the file. Please be aware that when this occurs, although we do have some graphic editing programs, large files will result in two or three iterations of resizing, that may still result in a sketch that cannot be downloaded to the ASOD template. Due to the fact that I have a day job, I often put these pages together late at night, and being very tired I have difficulty trying to bring these posts together. Please be aware that we would prefer receiving files that are no bigger than 800 pixels wide. We will always resize your sketch image to 650 pixels to fit on all the the standard protocols for tablets and smart phones. Please make sure the image file size (the number of bytes the image file) contains does not exceed 500 Kilobytes. This will guarantee that your sketch is published in it’s entirety, and on time. If there are any questions, please feel free to contact us here at ASOD, we will be happy to help with any problems that are troubling you with image size issues.

Keep up the great work,

Jeremy Perez
Rich Handy
ASOD webmasters

Vallis Schröteri

Vallis Schröteri, a huge lava vent and rille system on the Aristarchus Plateau - January 2, 2015
Vallis Schröteri, a huge lava vent and rille system on the Aristarchus Plateau – January 2, 2015


find attached a charcoal and pastel sketch of Aristarchus, Herodotus and the famous Vallis Schröteri. I hope you like it.

Object Name: Vallis Schröteri, Aristarchus, Herodotus
Object Type: Lunar Valley and Crater
Location: Germany, Dusseldorf area
Date: 2015-01-02, 1800-1845 CET
Media: chalk pastel pencil and charcoal pencil on black sketching cardbox
Telescope: Martini 10” f/5 Dobsonian
Eyepiece: Skywatcher HR Planetary 5mm
Clear skies!


Comet and Globular

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) and the globular star cluster M79 in the constellation Lepus
Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) and the globular star cluster M79 in the constellation Lepus

M79 and Comet Lovejoy in Lepus

I have been monitoring comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) for the past several nights and on this occasion they both shared the same field of view at130 power. I was using my daughter’s 10 inch Orion Dobsonian telescope and was able to capture this sketch under clear skies and good seeing conditions. The observation site was in eastern Mesa, Arizona with a good view to the south. The comet can be seen much brighter and larger in angular size than than 8.5 magnitude globular cluster M 79. This was a pleasing view at the eyepiece with the comet showing a hint of green color. I switched to 48 power and a wider field of view for the sketch.


White and Black Conte’ pastel pencils on black sketching paper
blending stump and Pink Pearl eraser also used
R.A. 05hr 24′ ; Dec. -24 degrees 33min.
Comet distance less than 100million km.
M79 distance 42,100 light years 150 million stars

Frank 🙂

Lunar crater Maurolycus

Lunar crater Maurolycus and environs - December 28, 2014
Lunar crater Maurolycus and environs – December 28, 2014


here we go with a chalk/charcoal sketch of lunar crater Maurolycus.
Object Name: Maurolycus
Object Type: Lunar Crater
Location: Germany, Dusseldorf area
Date: 2014-12-28, 1650-1720 CET
Media: chalk pencil and charcoal pencil on black sketching cardbox
Telescope: Martini 10” f/5 truss tube dobsonian
Eyepiece: TS HR Planetary 7mm

Clear Skies!


Surprise Libration

The lunar crater Gauss and environs seen in different librations on January 16, 2014 and December 8, 2014
The lunar crater Gauss and environs seen in different librations on January 16, 2014 and December 8, 2014

Last night I made a sketch of Lunar crater Gauss and its surroundings. While archiving the sketch this morning I realised I already sketched this part of the Moon almost a year ago, so I got the idea of a side by side comparison to show the effect of lunation. To my surprise I found out these sketches were made at the exact same lunation: 15.5 days. The difference in lighting therefore had to be caused mainly by the Moon’s libration; the slow wobbling of the Moon in its orbit. A pleasant suprise to find out I sketched this phenomenon totally unintentionally!

Both sketches were made using a 3″ Polarex Unitron refractor at 171x, with a white pastel pencil on black paper. Orientation and size were matched using Photoshop.

Object Name: Gauss
Object Type: Lunar crater, libration
Location: Deventer, The Netherlands
Date: December 8, 2014
Media: white pastel pencil, black paper

Clear skies!
Roel Weijenberg

Craters Billy and Hansteen

Lunar craters Billy and Hansteen with the mountain Mons Hansteen - December 4, 2014
Lunar craters Billy and Hansteen with the mountain Mons Hansteen – December 4, 2014
Billy, Hansteen and Mons Hansteen labeled
Billy, Hansteen and Mons Hansteen labeled

Craters Billy and Hansteen

It has been cold in Chicagoland and although it was sunny most of the day, high cirrus clouds moved in after sunset to block out all stars fainter than 3rd magnitude. Ice crystals at high altitude generated a colorless halo around the Moon. Not the best conditions for sketching but the first chance in 4 weeks for me. My target for this sketch was the pair of craters at the southern edge of Oceanus Procellarum. Crater Billy (46 km.) with its dark smooth lava covered floor and crater Hansteen (45 km.) with its hilly, irregular floor and terraced walls present contrasting looking craters of similar size and age. Between these craters is a large arrowhead shaped volcanic extrusion feature called Mons Hansteen. This object always looks very bright at or near full Moon.


Black Canson paper, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils, white Pearl eraser, blending stumps
Telescope 13.1” f/6 Dobsonian telescope on an equatorial drive platform at 222x with 9mm eyepiece

Date: 12-04-2014, 02:00 – 03:00 UT

Temperature: -7°C (20° F) 
mostly cloudy, calm

Seeing: Antoniadi IV (poor)

Colongitude: 54.2 °

Lunation: 11.4 days

Illumination: 92.5 %

Frank McCabe