The Reason for the Messier Marathon

April 2 to 3 participated in the Messier Marathon without a star chart.
The weather is not good all night, but one hour before twilight sky cleared.
While frantically looking for the star, suddenly the day was bright…

What is the reason for the Messier Marathon?
Just before twilight of breathtaking suspense.
Maybe it’s the reason for the Marathon.

Material : White paper, Stick pastel, Colored pencil

Taurus in the Year 1054

I send you an illustration of what happened in Taurus in the year 1054 A.D.
This is the supernova which created the “Crab Nebula” (M.1).
Nearby to NE is the cresent moon. On old drawings on stones and so on,
the cresent moon was there when the SN exploded on 4. July this year.
More info on my sketch!
I used pen and pencil on white paper and inverted.

Best wishes for clear sky, Per-Jonny Bremseth

Phaeton’s Falling Particles

Object : Meteor Shower from 3200 Phaeton(Geminids)
Date : December 13/14 2010
Time : 03:15-04:15 LST / 10:15-11:15 UT
Location : Wickenburg, Arizona USA
Medium : Charcoal pencils, white paper, paintbrush used as stump, Windows Paint for inversion, polishing and removing unwanted artifacts
Detector : Visual observation
Magnitude : Varying from 5 to -2
Weather : Moonless sky, Wispy cirrus clouds that soon dissipated, calm winds,somewhat chilly in the mid 40’s

Comments :

The Geminids for this season didn’t dissapoint ! As you can see, in my opinion, it surpassed the Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) from that of this past August’s Perseids. In this one hour time frame sketch, I jotted down over 80 blazing streaks of the falling particles. Obviously, this didn’t include those that fell behind me or the ones that went unnoticed. It easily matched the confirmed rate of 120 (ZHR) or even more !!

In the sketch, I tried to cover a vast area of sky to show not only the radiant and its host constellation but also where the ‘shooting stars’ will be falling. In most cases they appear to fall a good distance away from the radiant. I chose the area with Canis Major,Orion,Taurus, Auriga, M44, M45 and high above is of course Gemini. While most of the meteors burned brightly white/yellow-or so they appeared, there was one that I caught high over my head with a yellow/green color! This meteor had a ‘double streak’ !!
I could distinctly see two greenish trails with a gap in between as it vaporized across the sky. A rather peculiar sight to witness, perhaps some of you out there have seen them too.

Well, it sure was worthed watching this shower all the way into the dawn hours and leaving me a happy camper. 😉

Wishing you dark and clear skies,


Fire from the Twins

Object Name Geminids
Object Type Meteor shower
Location My own backyard, Deventer, The Netherlands
Date Dec. 14th, 01.15UT – 03.00UT
Media Black and white pastels on navy blue paper

Last night the rich meteor shower of the Geminids peaked (actually it was around 14.00UT this afternoon, but the most favorable time to watch it from Europe was during the dark early hours of 14 december). Once again I decided to make a pastel sketch, just like I did during the Perseid shower last August. I used the same method: I made a very global sketch of the starfield I was going to view, including the obstruction caused by the roof and a tree on a dark blue piece of paper. In the field during the observation period I drew every meteor in place with a white pastel pencil.

But the shower was so rich I hardly got time to plot every meteor in the drawing. At given times there were 4 meteors per 10 seconds! I did not count them, but I must have seen over 150 meteors (incl. the ones outside the drawing’s field of view) in the 2 hours of observing time. Incredible! Around 40 of them appeared in the area of the drawing. I observed from my own backyard from 01.15 UT until 03.15 UT. Skies were clear during this whole period, but light pollution got a nasty boost from the snow that fell earlier that evening. NELM was around 5.

Kind regards,
Roel Weijenberg

Venus Morning

Hi. This is my sketch of the Venus Morning. On that day, next to Venus
there were: Spica, Saturn, Moon.

Object name: Venus, Spica, Saturn, Moon.
Object type: Conjunction
Date: 2010.12.01, 22 UT
Technique: Graphite pencil + GIMP2
Equipment: naked eye
Observer: Krzysztof Kida
Place: Elblag, Poland

Midday’s Moon

This is my october sketch of moon with naked eye. On october 29, at noon I was looking out the window and thinking: “wow, I must draw it”. The moon this day was over the buildings where I live. The roofs and chimneys was beautiful illuminated by sunlight…So I have drawn it 🙂
This sketch is created with dry pastels on blue paper.

object: moon with naked eye
location: Katowice, Poland
date: october 29, 2010
technique: dry pastels on blue paper

Katarzyna Kurdek

Suburban Moonrise

The 25th of October I was doing the dishes when the rising Moon took my attention. Quick I took my pastel pencils and put from my kitchen the scene on paper. It was a lot of fun blending the pastel with my fingers (one finger for black, one finger for yellow, one finger for blue, etc…). The symmetry between the two sources of light (the Moon and a lamp-post) was a beautiful sight.
When you live in suburban region you always see the celestial bodies rise later than in reality. The roofs of the houses around me replace the natural horizon. And what a pity human kind is replacing our natural lightning by artificial ones.
Hope you like it.

25/10/2010, 18.30-19.00 UT, 92.7%, 18 days
Clear skies
Jef De Wit

Object Name: Moon (18.0 lunar days, 92.7% illumination)
Object Type: moon
Location: Hove, Belgium (51°09’ N 4°28’ E)
Date and time: 25 October 2010 18.30-19.00 UT
Equipment: naked eye
Medium: pastel pencils on art paper

Night of the Perseids

Object : Meteor Shower (Perseids)
Date : August 12/13 2010
Time : 12:55-01:55 LST / 07:55-08:55 UT
Location : Harquahala Mountain Range, Arizona USA
Medium : Charcoal pencils, white paper, paintbrush used as stump
Detector : Visual observation
Magnitude : Varying from 5 to -2 give or take a notch
Weather : Clear Moonless skies, calm winds and temperature in the mid 70’s

Comments :

I could’ve titled it “It’s A Dry Shower” but the Southwest humor
might not have gone far beyond Arizona. Anyway, lets drop the
umbrella and enjoy what was for some, one of the best showers ever
both in spectacle and rate or number of shooting stars. Data from
the International Meteor Organization (IMO) indicated that the Zenith Hourly Rate
(ZHR) peaked at 140 meteors per hour! From the
various meteor showers occuring throughout the year, the Perseids
in my opinion, are the “Best of Show” in that category.

The young waxing Moon along with a parade of planets went under the
horizon just in perfect time, a determining factor that helps in
bringing out even the faintest glowing granules of cometary debris.
They say to bring along a partner for otherwise it can get lonely
and quiet at times. My helpful assistant and wife was with me all
through the night. Staring at the sky for prolonged periods can be
easier by casual conversation with some company. My first hour
started at 9 pm LST. For the next 60 minutes a total of 14 Perseid
meteor streaks was all I recorded on my notes 3 were sporadics. The
following hour, at 10 pm LST, I ended with a count of 19 Perseids.
10 were from a combination of sporadic and Capricornids. At 11:15
pm LST, after a small break, I started the count again. This next
hour gave me a total of 39 Perseids.I decided at this time to get
my pad and pencils along with a pre-plotted star chart. All I had
to do next was doodle in everything that the sky would throw at me
including an incredibly bright Milky Way in the background.During
the next hour from 12:55 to 01:55 am LST, over 52 meteors were
immortalized on my sketch pad. A good deal of them left persistent
trains or smoke trails that soon vanished or dispersed with the
wind. Some of those that burned the brightest to a magnitude of -2
left their trail glowing with iridescent colors, the most
noticeable was a neon greenish hue. This color is attributed to a
meteor with a high composition of magnesium according to Astronomy magazine.
To the unaided eye, the persistent trains seemed to last
about 2 to 4 seconds in the air. However, I grabbed the binoculars
and noticed that the gaseous trail was still lingering far longer
than a few seconds. Those persistent trains lasted on some
occasions up to 10 to 15 seconds up until they finally broke or
disintegrated into nothingness.

I can add more blah,blah,blah but this is good enough for now!
Wishing you dark and clear skies,


Partial Lunar Eclipse Over the Sonoran Desert

Object : Moon/ Partial Lunar Eclipse
Date : June 26, 2010
Time : 04:45 LST / 11:45 UT
Location : Wickenburg Arizona USA
Instrument : Naked eye observation
Weather : Moderate winds, cool upper 70’s , clear skies and the glow of the
semi-eclipsed Moon.
Medium : Acrylic paint on canvas paper 8.5 x 11

Comments :
This was my chance, I’ve wanted to do this acrylic paint since quite a while
back! I figured since the Moon will shed some light on the subject, I might
as well take advantage of the situation. At first, I didn’t know how big to
go on the canvas since I wanted to put some detail on the eclipsed Moon. Too
big and I might just make a weekend project out of something simple. So, I
settled for an 8.5 x 11 inch, which would make it easy for me to scan and
upload without to much hassle.

I framed my view next to a Saguaro cactus and set myself so that if I
painted the foreground first, the Moon will still be in the vicinity of my
selected view within an hour or so later. Shortly after 10:00 UT, I noticed
the Moon began to creep into the Earth’s shadow but that was not the time
for me to immortalize it on canvas just yet. I didn’t know how hard this
task was going to become but I realized it was going to be trickier than I
had anticipated. After brushing away on the static vegetation for almost an
hour and keeping an eye on the Moon that kept inching closer to the horizon,
I had to act on it ‘pronto’.

The full Strawberry Moon lay there tranquil and serene but being eaten away
by the umbral darkness. I noticed the shadow working its way from Mare
Frigoris and moving down onward into part of Oceanus Procellarum, all of
Mare Imbrium and Mare Serenitatis, and a portion of Mare Tranquilitatis and
Mare Fecunditatis. At this point, I would say the Moon was about 40 percent
covered while it would still go on to cover for a total of 50 percent or so.
While this was a naked eye session, I still carried my 12 x 60’s just for
kicks. I noticed through the binoculars that the Northern part of the Moon
had a pinkish to copper hue along that edge. I thought perhaps half the Moon
would turn red orange but that wasn’t the case, I guess I’ll have to wait
until December of this year to get that effect when we get the entire lunar
eclipse! : D

Wishing you dark and clear nights!

Earth, Moon and Jupiter Conjuction

Moon july 4th 2010.jpg
Object Name : Earth, Moon and Jupiter
Object Type : Solar System
Instrument Used : Naked Eye
Location :
Date : July 4th 2010
Time : 2:45am local
Conditions : seeing 3/6, no clouds, a little dew
Media : Created a field sketch of this scene in my observing journal with pen and ink. The next day, I sketched the view with pastel pencils and black paper.
Description: The evening’s observations are drawing to a close when I notice the outline of the trees in the distance. Is that ghostly outline caused by the light of a gibbous moon? Then I realize that civil twilight is only two hours away. The light in the east is not due to the moon – but due to the sun.

Justin Modra

Why We Sketch

Why We Sketch
Why We Sketch
By Frank McCabe

As the sunset begins to open the view deeper into the darkness of our universe; those of us who sketch the nighttime sky are drawn out to our favorite targets for a view of the glory. Why do we sketch the stars, galaxies, nebulae, planets, moon and in the daytime the sun? We do it because it is a most creative outlet for our interest in astronomy. It is a proactive way to improve our visual observational enjoyment. As a result of sketching we create for ourselves a more critical observers eye and take deeper, longer looks at the multitude of visible targets in this universe we all share.
Astrophotography is another avenue often pursued by the amateur observer but with sketching there is an attempt to duplicate the view at the eyepiece which is not the same as a captured photographic image. The differences are all well and good with many amateurs enjoying one or the other or both.
With a sketch we have a visual hand drawn record which can be used to supplement a written log. It can bring us right back to a specific observation in the years ahead. We also have many choices of media to record what we see, including traditional types and electronic as well. Sketching is fun and challenging and we don’t need any special skills to get started.
If you feel as I do, you take great pleasure in seeing the many sketches posted here and elsewhere by astronomers from around the world sitting or standing at the eyepiece of an instrument or even without one recording the beauty they see in the nighttime sky.
This is my tribute to sketchers here and elsewhere sharing our personal view of the heavens.


Naked eye drawing
Sky conditions were good for transparency
Date and Time: 5/12/2010; 2:25 -2:55 UT
9″ x 12″ white Strathmore Windpower smooth Bristol paper, # 2HB, # 4HB graphite pencils, powdered brown and yellow Crayola colored pencils, light blue colored pencil, white Conte’ pastel, gum eraser.
After scanning the drawing was cropped and inverted Using Microsoft Office Picture Manager, brightness was increased +1 during scanning.

Frank McCabe

Eskimo or Clown

NGC 2392

NGC 2392
Sketch and Details by Stefano Delmonte

NGC 2392 planetary nebula in Gemini
Location:  Priorato , one of the most prestigious wine zone of Spain!

Graphite pencil one white paper, then with photoshop: inverted and rounded stars.

I use sketching in order to show and record in one image all the information the retina can catch in a large observing session.

The night that the association I’m part of organized the Messier marathon, I decided to be a bad boy and move to NGC.
The reason were a good seeing, a brief look at Mars confirm an Antoniadi III , the best part of sky is always zenith and there were NGC2392  waiting to be explored at good conditions.
At first either the central star and the double shell were easily seen, but only after more than 30 minutes observing, the “face” orientation did appear.
I didn’t care too much about what resemble because at the end of all an exploded star is really a fantastic sight anyway!

Ciao, Stefano.

In Flight through the Milky Way to Andromeda

Milky Way
Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy
Sketch and Details by Patrick Van Beeck

The milky way and the stunning great galaxy of andromeda
38000 feet over north western Italy
Feb 7th, 2010

This sketch was made at an altitude of 38000 feet over the north western Italian coastline enroute to Paris in an Airbus 319 cruising at 455 kts groundspeed.
The views from the cockpit at night can be truly amazing, the reason being that 70% of the atmospheres mass is below us! Giving a crystal clear view of the sky almost right down to the horizon. What stuns me every winter, is the size of the blob of the andromeda galaxy almost as big as the moon!

This sketch was made digitally with photoshop

Enjoy this nightly cruise with me as the atmosphere rushes by…

Patrick Van Beeck

Crescent Moon and Earthshine

Crescent Moon
Crescent Moon and Earthshine
Sketch and details by Carlos E. Hernandez

I was able to observe the Waning Crescent Moon (27.6 days old) above the eastern horizon covered by pastel bluish-lavender clouds and an orange strip on December 14, 2009 (11:10 U.T.). The Moon was spectacular as it displayed a thin bright white sliver and earthshine was very prominent over the un-illuminated portion. I hope that others were able to view this scene as well.

A digital image produced in Pixelmator.

Carlos E. Hernandez

Moon over Armagh

Moon over Armagh
Moon over Armagh on Christmas Eve
Sketch and Details by Miruna Popescu

This painting depicts how the southern sky looks on 24 December 2009 at 5.30 pm, when the Moon’s phase reaches first quarter. The next brightest celestial object at this time is the planet Jupiter, which this year is the “Christmas Star” for the Royal School, Armagh. Jupiter is seen here just before it disappears behind the school. The painting shows stars in Pisces, Pegasus, Aquarius and other constellations, and the location of the planet Uranus (visible through a telescope) about a third of the way from the Moon to Jupiter. Uranus was found in 1781 (seven years after the old building of the Royal School was completed) by the astronomer and musician William Herschel, the discovery constituting the first identification of a planet since ancient times and earning Herschel the post of King’s astronomer from George III.

In 1609, the year after the founding of the Royal School, Galileo Galilei used an early telescope to map the Moon and discover satellites of Jupiter. To mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of the telescope to observe the sky, 2009 is being celebrated worldwide as the International Year of Astronomy.

Dr Miruna Popescu from Armagh Observatory is the coordinator for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 in Ireland.

Fiery Mane of the Lion

Fiery Mane of the Lion

The Leonid Meteor Shower, November 16th and 17th, 2009
Sketch and Details by Richard Handy

The Leonids put on a spectacular display in the early morning hours of November 17th as seen from from Jacumba, California. Around 1:30 to 4:30 am PDT, we were treated to a barrage of meteors, from bright little spikes of light to radiant bolides that streaked halfway across the starry skies leaving long smoke trains that lingered in the air and then dissipated. The stream was sporadic however, and we noted several five to ten minute intervals with small counts breaking the 100-200 meteors per hour rate that seemed a good approximation to the average observed. I was certain that the rate was close to the 500/hr in periods between 3:30 am and 4:30 am predicted by some. Jacumba has very few bright street lights currently and the zodiacal light shone so brightly it was almost distracting. I decided to sketch the scene, and after finishing the foreground ridge on the eastern side of my property and the position of Leo on the horizon, I began to record the trajectory and brightness of the meteors that fell within the field of view of my sketch during the interval between 1:45 am and 3:15 am PDT. You’ll note that Leo would have risen about 25 degrees higher off the horizon during the sketch session, so the drawing does not accurately reflect that movement. Despite the restricted field of view, you can see that I was able to record a nice variety of Leonids during the hour and a half period. In the future, I’ve decided to try sketching one hour intervals with larger fov’s, that way I can record hourly count variations.

I hope most of you had clear weather and were able to see this awesome event, it’s one that will remain in my memory as the best I’ve ever witnessed.

Sketch details:
Subject: The 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower
Date: 11-17-09 Time: 1:30 to 3:15 am PDT Location: Jacumba, California
Naked eye sketch
Media: Conte’ Crayon and dry pastels on Strathmore 400 series black Artagain paper
Sketch size: 9″ x 12″

The Young Desert Moon

The Young Desert Moon

The Young Desert Moon Just Past Sunset
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

The Young Desert Moon Just Past Sunset

I just returned to the cloudy Midwest this afternoon from a brief trip to Mesa, Arizona. On the evening of October 19th the beautiful sunset had just occurred and the search for the young waxing crescent moon began in earnest. A quick turn to the eastern sky and the dark portion of the Belt of Venus could be seen 3° above the horizon. Looking back to the southwestern horizon I spotted the 1.8 day old, 3.8% illuminated moon in the golden green glow in that part of the sky at 6:08pm local time (1:08 UT October 20, 2009).
While the sun was setting, I began to sketch the scene using a piece of copy paper and a number 2 pencil. I took careful notes on the sky colors, positions of trees, cactus and roof tops of homes in Sunland Village East where I was sitting while I made this pencil sketch. After arriving back in Oak Forest, Illinois, I converted the pencil sketch and notes into an oil pastel drawing on to white sketching paper.
I did not have access to a telescope at the time of this sketch but if I did I would have been looking at craters Neper, Gauss and Phillips the latter two along the lunar terminator and the former near the illuminated limb.


For this sketch I used: medium weight white CPP sketching paper 9″x 12″,
Grumbacher oil pastels, blending stumps, plastic eraser, and a razor blade, redrawn from a graphite pencil sketch and notes
Telescope: none
Observation Date: 10-19-2009, 6:00-6:45 local time
Temperature: 32°C (90°F)
Clear, calm, warm
Seeing: very good
Lunation number 1074
Lunar age 1.82 days
Illumination 3.8 %

Mesa, Arizona

Frank McCabe

The Moon and Jupiter at Dusk

The Moon and Jupiter at Dusk

Moon and Jupiter at End of September 2009
Sketch and Details by Carlos E. Hernandez

I was able to view a conjunction (or appulse) of the Waxing Gibbous Moon (10.8 days old) and Jupiter on September 30, 2009 (00:00 U.T., 8 PM EDT) over my southern sky. The Moon (-12.45mag.) and Jupiter (-2.67mag.) were very striking but the presence of clouds containing ice crystals, which produced a pastel reddish-pink and orange colors semi-halo, made it spectacular! I hope that others were able to view the event as well.

A digital image produced in Gimp 2.6.7

Carlos E. Hernandez

Crescent Moon Over the Campus Observatory

Crescent Moon over the Campus Observatory

The Crescent Moon Over the Campus Observatory
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

Over the past two evenings I sketched the view of our campus observatory dome and the waxing crescent moon with earthshine. On the first night beginning at sunset I drew the view of the observatory deck and dome from across the campus pond. The moon was already in the trees on this night so I knew I would need to return to capture the moon on the next evening if it was clear. The white dome was brightly illuminated by the parking and tennis court lights. As luck would have it, the sky was beautifully clear the next evening and I was able to finish the drawing as planned.


9″x 12″ sheet of dark blue construction paper, a set of Grumbacher oil pastels, x-acto knife for correcting mistakes, flat edge toothpicks for blending, fly tying pocket clip-on lamp.

Clear to partly cloudy both nights
29-30°C (84-86°F)
Very humid, calm
1:15-2:30 UT 6-24-2009
2:00-2:30 UT 6-25-2009
Palos Hills, Illinois

Frank McCabe



Sketch and Details by Carlos E. Hernandez

I made an observation of the Waning Gibbous Moon (17.8 days old) on June 11, 2009 (04:00 U.T.) above the southeastern horizon. The Moon exhibited a golden color as it is appropriately called a “Honeymoon.” The origin of the word Honeymoon is vague but it may have originated in Northern Europe when the newly married couple was supposed to drink a daily cup of Mead (a drink made from honey) for the first month of marriage in order to provide strength and virility. The astronomical explanation may refer to the low (southern) position of the Moon along the Ecliptic (greater amount of haze) giving it a “golden” appearance. Whatever the explanation it is a beautiful sight for newlyweds and all of us.


Beauty Cubed

Moon, Mars and Venus

Conjunction of the Moon, Venus and Mars on May 22nd, 2009
Sketch and Details by Carlos E. Hernandez

I was able to view a Waning Crescent Moon (~23 degrees above the eastern horizon), a brilliant Venus (-4.32m,~31* above the eastern horizon) and Mars (1.35m, ~27* above the eastern horizon) over a lavender to bluish-gray clouded horizon. The trio was impressive over the hazy sky.

A digital image produced in Gimp.


The Shiny Shockwave Around the Moon

Moon Halo

Moon with Halo
Sketch and Details by Aleksander Cieśla

Tonight I saw an impressive halo around the Moon. It looks like a shiny shockwave on the shining clouds.

Sketch information:
Object: Moon (94% of full) and halo
Scope: Naked eye
Place: Poland, Wroclaw – near city center
Weather: Quick passing clouds. Seeing 6/10. Light Pollution.
Date: 7 February 2009.
Technique: White pastels on black paper
Tooling: N/A

From Inside, the Waxing Crescent Moon Sets

Crescent Moon in Trees

January Waxing Crescent Moon
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

January Waxing Crescent Moon

As January comes to a close, I must say I am happy to see it going away. We have been having a cold and snowy winter so far with very few clear nights. However tonight I saw the sunset with Venus appearing about the same time and a beautiful two and one half day old crescent moon about 7% illuminated. As twilight deepened the earthshine presented itself quite well. Temperatures here near Chicago remain well below freezing so I made this observation out my kitchen bay window without the benefit of optical aid. By the time I gathered my sketching material the moon was already beginning to sink behind a few basswood trees along my line of sight. The moon was impressive and the comfort of indoor warmth made for ideal sketching climate.


Naked eye sketch out a large window
For this sketch I used: dark blue construction paper, 11”x 9”, white and black Conte’pastel pencils and a blending stump, for templating the moon as a circle I used a salt shaker bottom.. Brightness was slightly decreased after scanning.

Date: 1-28-2009 11:10-11:40 UT
clear skies
Lunation: 2.64 days
Illumination: 7 %

Frank McCabe

Two Views of Venus

Venus naked eye

Venus over Brzeźno, Poland
Sketch and Details by Krzysztof Rajda

These two excellent sketches of Venus by Krzysztof Rajda demonstrate that the Planet presents wonderful views whether seen naked eye or through the eyepiece of a telescope. Superb work Kris!

Sketch information:

Obiect name:Venus
Amateur astronomer:Krzysztof Rajda

Venus 2

Venus seen through the telescope
Sketch and Details by Krzysztof Rajda

Sketch information:

Obiect name: Venus
Scope:SkyWatcher 150/750
Eyepiece:Vixen NLV9mm
Technique:Pencil,graphics GIMP2
Amateur astronomer:Krzysztof(Kris)Rajda

Mixed Media Daytime Moon

Daytime Moon

Gibbous Moon
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

On Saturday October 18, 2008 at 8:00 am local time, I was out walking in east Mesa, Arizona on a gorgeous morning with the air temperature about 22°C (72°F) and the humidity in the high teens. Over in the western sky the 19 day old waning gibbous moon was riding high and bright in a remarkable deep blue sky. Never in my life have I seen such a bright daytime moon. I stopped in front of a nearby building roof with a tall palm tree on the other side. I took out of the folder I was carrying an index card and using a pencil I drew the moon on one side and the building roof and palm tree on the other side. I jotted down some notes on colors and positions. When I got back home to Illinois, I combined the pencil drawings and notes into a mixed media sketch. For the moon I used pastel pencils (white and black) and for the building and palm tree I used Cray-Pas oil pastels on deep blue construction paper. Of course the view was much better than I am capable of capturing but I will never forget the treat of this perfect morning.


Naked eye drawing
Date and Time: 10-18-2008 8: 00 am PST
Location: Power Road and Broadway Ave. Mesa, Az.
Weather: Perfect
Moon at 19 days, high in the western sky.

For this sketch I used: dark blue construction paper, 10”x 8”, white and black Conte’pastel pencils and a blending stump. Also cray-pas oil pastels for the building and tree. This sketch was put together from pencil sketches and notes made at the time of the observation.

Frank McCabe

Moon River

Naked Eye Moon
Waxing Gibbous Moon
Sketch and Details by Carlos E. Hernandez

We are experiencing hurricane season (June 1 to December 1) in South Florida and therefore lots of rain. On July 16, 2008 (01:45 U.T.) I was fortunate to experience a break in the clouds which exposed a Waxing Gibbous Moon (12.7 days old) which had a copper glow to it floating within a river of dark blue sky. The clumps of clouds on either side of the Moon had a lavender tint to them. The cloud border west of the Moon had a reddish-orange half arc visible over it. It was a very beautiful sight to behold while fighting off bad weather.

A digital rendering made using Corel Painter X.

I hope to post telescopic observations as soon as possible. My hectic work schedule and weather have prevented me from making them. I look to everyone’s observation in the future.


Unusual Earthshine


Moon with Earthshine
Sketch and Details by Carlos E. Hernandez

I was struck by the Waxing Crescent Moon (2.4 days old) over the western horizon (~11 degrees) tonight (January 11, 2008 at 00:00 U.T.) as it appeared that the Earthshine over the unilluminated portion was asymmetric. I turned my 11 x 56 Oberwerk binoculars upon it and noted a brightening over the Moon’s northern (upper) limb. My wife also noted the brightening without my suggestion. There also appeared to be a “glow” surrounding the crescent Moon. I have never observed this over the Moon at this or any other phase. This most likey represnts an atmospheric phenomena (e.g. haze or diffuse cloud).

A digital rendering in Corel Painter X.


A Waxing Gibbous Moon

Gibbous Moon

Sketch and Details by Carlos E. Hernandez

The waxing Gibbous Moon (11.9 days old) was visible over the western horizon on April 17, 2008 (07:30 U.T.). The Moon appeared a yellowish tinge while visible beneath a palm frond. The scene was both eerie and beautiful.

A digital rendering produced in Photoshop CS3.


Captivating Conjunction

Moon venus and Jupiter

Moon, Venus and Jupiter Conjuction
By Carlos E. Hernandez

Moon, Venus, and Jupiter

On February 5, 2008 (11:35 U.T.) I was able to view a very thin Waning Crescent Moon (27.9 days old) visible floating above (~5 degrees) a lavender cloud covered southeastern horizon. Venus was a very bright beacon (-3.97m) 12.2 degrees southwest of the Moon. Jupiter was a bright pastel orange-white star (~-1.87m) 4.0 degrees southwest of Venus. The southeast horizon exhibited pastel yellow to orange colors. I hope that others were able to view this pairing as well.

A digital image produced in Corel Painter X.

Milky Way in Cassiopeia

Milky Way in Cassiopeia

The Milky Way in Cassiopeia
By Rony De Laet

 This is a lawn chair observation of the Milky Way passing through Cassiopeia. The view was so beautiful that I wanted to capture it in a sketch. I studied the region for about 20 minutes before sketching. North is right in the sketch. The two patches on top of the view are the double cluster in Perseus. I tried to simulate the glow of the Milky Way as it crossed this mighty constellation.

Location : Bischofshofen, Austria
Date:  Dec. 25, 2006 , 21.00UT
Seeing:  4 on a scale of 5, Transparency : 4, Nelm : 5.1
Scope : naked eye