Brilliant Saturn at the Dark Lunar Limb

A conjunction of the Moon and the planet Saturn - September 27, 2014
A conjunction of the Moon and the planet Saturn – September 27, 2014


I had plans to go to the summit of Haleakala to observe the occultation of Saturn by the Moon, but clouds and wind kept me closer to home. I was delighted when a patch of sky opened up and I could observe the wonderful phenomenon from home.

As I was observing Saturn get closer to our Moon I was struck by how small it appeared in comparison, appearing the size of some of the smaller lunar craters. I began sketching in the details of the Moon and noticed a few stars I wanted to include. I needed to do some erasures because one of the stars was occulted ~15 minutes before Saturn, an unexpected treat. Once Saturn made it to the limb I could not clearly time the initial ingress as conditions began to deteriorate. It was however brilliantly lit in comparison to the dark lunar limb. I noted time as 19:41:36 HAST when all evidence of Saturn disappeared. My sketch is as Saturn had partially slipped past the limb. I was unable to view egress as the Moon had slipped behind clouds by this time.

Occultation of Saturn by the Moon
Maui, Hawaii
SV102ED 79x
Black paper, white & black charcoal
Photoscape to clean up sketch

Cindy (Thia) Krach

Light vs Dark – the Ink Spot and a lovely open cluster

The Ink Spot, B86 & NGC 6570
The Ink Spot, B86 & NGC 6570

Hi all,

This was the first sketch I completed at Astrofest in Queensland, Australia. I’ve been wanting to sketch this beautiful dark nebula ever since I first laid eye on it some three years ago. This dark nebula, B86, goes by the popular name of “The Ink Spot”. It sits smack bang in the centre of the densest star cloud in the whole sky, the Cloud of Sagittarius. And what sets it off even more is B86 has a gorgeous bright open cluster right next to it, NGC 6570. Both objects are more-or-less the same size as each other, even though both are not very large themselves. But it is the juxtaposition of these two very different objects against the blaze of the Milky Way that makes this pair a spectacular pairing.

Dark nebulae are clouds of dust and gas that are drifting through the Milky Way galaxy. Many of these conglomerations of dust and gas do end up being formed into stars and planets, but most just end up forming the fabric of the galaxy. In fact, the stars that we see actually only form a small percentage of the actual mass of galaxies. By far the greatest amount of a galaxy’s mass comes from this very dust and gas. The Ink Spot is a small patch of cloud. It is a very opaque nebula too. Dark nebulae are categorised according to their opacity, or how dark they are. The scale of opacity goes from 1 (very tenuous) through to 6 (very opaque). While the opacity of The Ink Spot may be a 5, it is because that it sits in the Cloud of Sagittarius that makes is a striking object.

The little open cluster NGC 6520 really works very well in setting off B86. Open clusters are groupings of stars that are all related to each other having been formed out of the same parent cloud of gas and dust. Evidence for this is seen in the spectra of the stars displaying the same chemical make up. The brothers and sisters of our own Sun have been identified this way, with the same chemical signature as our Sun having been identified in several close by stars even though the Sun’s ‘siblings’ have long drifted off away from each other. Open clusters are loose groupings, so even though they formed from the same source, their gravitational connection to each other is not strong enough to keep the group together for too long.

For me, this tiny patch of sky is one of my most favourite. Tiny and oh so precious. Brilliant, dark, stark, ghostly. All in one. Gorgeous.

Alexander Massey.

Object: The Ink Spot, B86 & NGC 6570
Telescope: 17.5″ push-pull Karee dob
Gear: 13mm LVW, 154X
Location: Linville, Queensland, Australia
Date: 24th July, 2014
Media: Soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper.
Duration: approx. 3hrs

Three Months of the Double Cluster

The Perseus Double Cluster, NGC 869 and NGC 884 - three month sketch
The Perseus Double Cluster, NGC 869 and NGC 884 – three month sketch
NGC 869 and NGC 884, The Perseus Double Cluster annotated
NGC 869 and NGC 884, The Perseus Double Cluster annotated

object Name – 3 months sketch ngc869 ngc884

But-gogae Gosong-ri Yangdong-myeon Yangpyeong-gun Gyeonggi-do S.KOREA—–[6day observations]
International Observatory(Yard) Yongcheon-ri Yangpyeong-gun Gyeonggi-do S.KOREA—–[2day observations]

Media – pencil, charcoal
Paper – AQUARELLE ARCHES(Cold press)white Paper. [54.5cm x 78.8cm]
XQ 10″ Dob(f5) / ES 100′ 14mm “89x”


Perseus double cluster ngc869,ngc884

Under the night sky….
3 months sketch ngc869 ngc884..
2012. October start. 2013. January 11 END…..

click to image big size.

A little fat Owl

"A Little Fat Owl", Lunar craters Fra Mauro, Parry and Bonpland - May 8, 2014
“A Little Fat Owl”, Lunar craters Fra Mauro, Parry and Bonpland – May 8, 2014

It had been a while since I did a lunar sketch. May saw me complete my first lunar sketch in many months. I made several attempts, but on those occasions, seeing was so poor the Moon was ‘boiling’ using just 100X magnification. Disappointing and frustrating. Eventually things did change in my favour…

As always, unless I have a specific target in mind, I just let my eye wonder along the terminator to see what pricks my interest. And, as there are several repeated alphanumeric apparitions on the Moon, I’ve found a second avian one! Some time ago I spotted an owl formed around the crater Mercator. Last night I found a second Owl, this time around the flooded craters Fra Mauro (the fat body), Parry (the right eye), and Bonpland (the left eye).Cute little fella I think is formed here J.

As it turns out, Fra Mauro is just to the south of the Apollo 14 landing site – south is to the top of the page, so the Apollo 14 site lies just below where the Owl’s feet would be.

Object: “Little Fat Owl”, craters Fra Mauro, Parry and Bonpland
Scope: C8, 8” SCT
Gear: 5mm Baader Hyperion, 400X
Date: 8th May, 2014
Location: Sydney, Australia
Media: White & grey soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A5 size black paper
Duration: approx. 2hrs.

Maurolycus at Terminator

Lunar craters Maurolycus and Barocius on the terminator - June 6, 2014
Lunar craters Maurolycus and Barocius on the terminator – June 6, 2014

Object Name : Maurolycus

Object Type: Lunar Crater
Location Torrevieja Spain
Date Friday 6th June
Media (graphite pencil 2H/6B/2B , charcoal (Hard/Dark), white paper,
Sketched whilst on holiday with good conditions and viewed through small Travelscope 70 mm refractor and 9mm eyepiece.



Supernova 2014L in Messier 99

Messier 99 and SN2014L - February 4, 2014
Messier 99 and SN2014L – February 4, 2014

ASOD – Supernova in M99 sketch – “Kim byong su”

file name – “m99_supernova_Kim Byong su”
object Name – Supernova in M99 sketch
Location – But-gogae Gosong-ri Yangdong-myeon Yangpyeong-gun Gyeonggi-do S.KOREA
Media – pencil, charcoal , white Paper
XQ 10″ Dob / TMB 6mm “208x”

this sketch image 1280 pixel..

140x – Sharp => Looked for a short time(0.2~1.5 seconds)
208x – Cloudy Sharp=> Looked for a long time (2~3 seconds)

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.

Mars – January 7, 2012

Mars - January 7, 2012
Mars – January 7, 2012

2012 01 07 – Mars
PCW Memorial Observatory, OH – Erika Rix
16” Zhumell, f/4.5, non-tracking Dobsonian mount
12mm WA Burgess, 2x Barlow, 300x magnification
Filters: Mars, 82A blue, 21 orange
5.6 C, 64% H, S: Pickering 4-5, T: 3/6
CM: 159.8°, Ls: 54°, Phase: 0.92, V. Mag: 0.1
RA: 11h 32m, Dec: 6° 18′ 51″

This was my most recent Mars observation from a few weeks ago. With only one or two clear nights since then, the timing was such that it prevented me from being able to crack open the observatory.

The early morning of the 7th, I had ample time to let the mirrors cool down on the telescope and collimated before dark. It was a little windy but had calmed down by 3am. Still, seeing wasn’t the best. I cold make out the NPC straight away and it appeared tucked in on the western and eastern edges more so than my observation the week prior. There was a definite dark streak above the NPC in my view and a few more darkened patches scattered around the disk. Very slight limb brightening on both the preceding (just prior to the terminator toward either pole) and following limbs.

I had to nudge the scope time and time again to let Mars slowly drift through my FOV before slight variances in albedo became apparent. It was nearly impossible for me to match them up with labeling programs such as Mars Previewer II or my Mars Globe app on my iPad because the two views on those programs were a little off from each other even though I checked the date, time and location several times. In the end, I went with Mars Previewer II since I’ve been using that program the longest.

I’m very much looking forward to more opportunities with Mars as it reaches opposition. If only my primary mirror was clean…sigh.

The sketch was created using charcoal on card stock, charcoal pencils, willow charcoal, vinyl eraser pencil and kneaded rubber eraser.


Eratosthenes Crater
Eratosthenes Crater

2011 10 07, 0330UT Eratosthenes

PCW Memorial Observatory, OH, USA, Erika Rix

Eratosthenes: Complex crater from Eratosthenian geological period (from –3.2 billion year to –1.1 billion years)

Lat: 14.5 deg N, Long: 11.3 deg W

Zhumell 16”, 21-7mm Zhumell, 257x, no filter

Temp14C, 89% increasing to 98% humidity, S: Antoniadi II, T: 6/6

Eyepiece sketch on Rite in the Rain paper, charcoal

Phase: 54.3 deg, Lunation: 9.68d, Illumination: 79.1%

Lib. Lat: -05:01, Lib. Long: +05:37

Az: +246:38, Alt: -07:34

Eratosthenian geological period includes fairly young, non-rayed fresh craters. I did notice a Copernican ray to the N of Eratosthenes and several patches of lightened areas within the surrounding areas. Eratosthenes has very steep, tormented walls and is approximately 60km x 60km wide. It has an elongated central mountain with several summits. Its morphology is very similar to impact crater Copernicus, but its rays most likely deteriorated from weather and age.

The distance of this crater from the terminator made it perfect for studying the floor and terraced walls. The western floor edge was difficult to differentiate from where the upslope began for its wall. It appeared to be more a lightening with a few darkened lines.

For comparison, here is an image from the Lunar Orbiter (through the Lunar and Planetary Institute site). My sketch is the eyepiece view from my telescope and will need to be rotated 180 degrees to match the Lunar Orbiter image.

Luminous Butterfly

Messier 6
Messier 6

object Name – M6 “Butterfly cluster” sketch
Location – bohyun Mountain, Yeongcheon-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, S.KOREA
Media – pencil, charcoal , white Paper(croquis book)

XQ 10″ Dob / Explore 14mm 100′(2 inch)= “89x”

supplement image Link – twenty second afterward butterfly shape gif “M6 sketch”
(20 second please….gif butterfly shape….)


m6 butterfly shape sketch edit supplement gif image Link