Conspicuous and Pretty

Conspicuous and Pretty

The Open Cluster M23 (NGC 6949) in Sagittarius
Sketch and Details by Kiminori Ikebe, translation by Eiji Kato

M23 (NGC 6949) Open Cluster in Sagittarius

This is an open cluster located east of M24. Through binoculars you can see M23, M24, and M25 from east to west, M18, M17, and M16 in the north, and M8, M20, M21 and M22 in the south. This area is a treasure trove of open clusters and nebulae. It is large and contains many stars. Stars are fairly bright with similar brightness providing a fine sight. Many arch-shaped lines of stars look overlapping. Near the center stars form a number of small conspicuous squares. There is a star at the edge of the northwestern side and a line of stars run toward it. These asterisms are conspicuous and pretty.

Date of observation: 2001/05/03 02:49
Observing site: Kuju
Transparency / seeing / sky darkness: 2/1/3 out of 5
Instruments: 32 cm Dobsonian with XL21 at 70x. 
Width of field: 0.9°



The double star Rigel in Orion
Sketch and Details by Michael Vlasov

Rigel sketch.jpg
Object Name: Rigel
Object Type double star
Location Haifa, Israel
Date 29/12/2006

Sketch of a double star Rigel, in Orion.
Star and the companion magnitudes: 0m ,8m.
Separation: 9″
Instrument: 8″ Orion Newtonian, at 80X.
Pencil sketch, scanned inverted and processed

The Great Sagittarius Globular Cluster

The Great Sagittarius Globular Cluster

M22 (NGC 6656) Globular Cluster
Sketch by Janis Romer and text by Frank McCabe

Janis has beautifully captured the ancient, large, bright gravity held group of stars known as M 22. Only Omega Centauri and 47 Tucanae of the 140 or so globular clusters are brighter. This beauty of more than 100,000 suns scintillates above the lid of the teapot in Sagittarius. Specifically it is located at R.A. 18h 36m; Dec. -23° 54′. It is well placed if you are not too far north. At a distance of 10,400 light years away it is close to us and shines at about 5th magnitude.
William Herschel may have been the first observer to recognize this patch of light as a cluster of faint stars.
As you can see in this fine sketch many stars are visible here using a telescope of 8″ aperture. Hundreds of the stars are as bright as 11th magnitude in M 22. Currently this globular cluster is receding from us at 144 km. /sec as it orbits the center of the Milky Way.

A Little Dumbbell or a Cork?


M76, NGC 650 Planetary nebula
Sketch and Details by Przemysław Horoszkiewicz

Hello 😉

Sketch information:
Obiect name: Messier 76 (NGC 650).
Scope: Sky Watcher 10”.
Eyepieces: Super Plossl 10 mm.
Place: Poland, Zielona Góra (A few kilometers for city).
Seeing: 4/5.
Date: 14.07.2009r.
Technique:Pencil,graphics GIMP2.
Amateur astronomer: Przemysław Horoszkiewicz (Poland).

Rocking Horse on the Swan’s Back

Rocking Horse

NGC 6910, The Rocking Horse Cluster in Cygnus
Sketch and Details by Ferenc Lovró

NGC 6910 (Open cluster)
Also known as: Rocking Horse cluster
Constellation: Cygnus
Right ascension: 20h 24m
Declination: 40° 48′
Seeing: 7/10
Transparency: 4/5
Magnification and filter(s): 250x
Date/time: 2009.06.19 00:00 UT
FoV: 12′
Equipment: 12″ f/5 Newtonian

This tiny little object is also known as the Rocking Horse cluster. The name says it all: it really looks like a little horse jumping around the space. Although it’s in a quite easy position, it still is a neglected object, as when it comes to Cygnus, everyone thinks of nebulae like the Veil and its companions, and the tiny shiny planetaries. Too bad, because this cluster is a real gem! Its special features are the two brightest stars of the cluster (at the front leg and the eye), that are apparently yellow, even though their spectral class suggests a rather white colour. This optical illusion is caused by the interstellar dust that is so common through Cygnus. A very important hint: you should use a fairly high magnification when looking at this object, because it’s located in a field that is rich in bright stars, which makes it harder to detect the real shape of the cluster.

Ferenc Lovró

Blue Flash of the Dolphin

Blue Flash Nebula

NGC 6905, Planetary nebula in Delphinus
Sketch and Details by Michael Vlasov

blue flash sketch.jpg
Object Name: NGC 6905 – blue flash nebula
Object Type planetary nebula
Location Negev Desert, Israel
Date 29/8/2008

NGC 6905 is a tiny 12m planetary nebula in Delphinus, named a “Blue Flash Nebula” (probably due to it’s blueish color) and it lies 4700 light years from us.
The nebula resembles a little stellar coffee grain, hidden between the stars. It can be quite a challenge to find, unless moderate aperture and dark skies are avaliable. However, especially at high powers, the look is quite rewarding.
Observation and sketch details: The observation took place in Negev desert (Israel), at a local starparty. Sky conditions were excellent (~6.5m stars could be observed). The sketch was made using 8″ Orion equatorial Newtonian, at 250x power, Graphite pencil and a red light. Then the sketch was scanned and inverted in Photoshop.

Michael Vlasov

Three Lobes Glowing


The Trifid Nebula, M20, in Sagittarius
Sketch by Janis Romer, text by Frank McCabe

This is a fine eyepiece sketch of the Trifid nebula (Messier 20) in Sagittarius. Northern hemisphere observers at dark sky sites consider it a real summer time delight. The glow sketched here is mostly an emission nebula but includes a reflection nebula component as well. Three lobes in the emission nebula portion were created by the light blocking debris remnants of exploded stars. The glow is mostly due to H II star formation regions of ionized gas and plasma heated by high energy radiation from hot young stars in the region.

The distance to this deep sky object is not well known. It is believed to be between 2,300 and 9,000 light years away. Estimates of the visual magnitude of this treasure fall between 6.8 and 9.0, making it visible with binocular or a small telescope. Charles Messier viewed and catalogued M 20 on June 5, 1764.

R.A. 18h 2.6m
Dec. -23° 2′
Known also as NGC 6514
Scope used:
Criterion 8″ f/8 Newtonian reflector

Seeing Double Twice

Epsilon Lyrae

Epsilon Lyrae, the beautiful double-double star system
Sketch and Details by Janusz Krysiak

Object Name:Epsilon Lyrae

medium: pencil, white paper
equipment: Newton 300/1500
magnification: 214x

These are Epsilon Lyrae. It is probably one of the most beautiful double
sysetm on our sky. It lookes gorgeous in large extention.

Janusz Krysiak

Onion Like

NGC 6535

NGC 6535 Globular Cluster in Serpens
Sketch and Details by Ferenc Lovró

Globular Cluster NGC 6535

NGC 6535 is a tiny, faint globular cluster with four clearly separated stars on its Western side. However, I’m not sure whether they really do belong to the cluster, or they are just plain foreground stars. With several other stars resolved at its slightly brighter core, two of them can be seen clearly with this technique; while some others pop up here and there when the atmosphere calms down for some moments. The core, just like the globular itself is not really sphere-like, but rather looks a little bit like an onion, with the thinner part looking to the East.

Right Ascension: 18h 04m; Declination: -0° 18′
Constellation: Serpens
Date/time: 2009.06.18 21:30 UT
Equipment: 12″ f/5 Newtonian
FoV: 16′ Magnification and filter(s): 250x
Seeing: 7/10 Transparency: 4/5


Observer: Ferenc Lovró

Lost In Space

ISS Toolbag

The ISS Tool bag
Sketch and Details by Jef De Wit

On November 18 2008 Endeavor astronaut Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper lost her grip on a tool bag during a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. The tool bag cost $100,000 and its loss meant astronauts had to share the remaining tool bag for subsequent spacewalks. The bag weighs about 14 kg and measures only 50 x 40 x 20 cm. It contained two grease guns, a scraper tool, a large trash bag and a small debris bag.
On websites like and you can find the visible passes for your location. The maximum brightness of the tool bag is 4,8 mag. So in theory it can be a naked eye object. But in practice it turned out to be more difficult. I first tried to spot the tool bag with binoculars (7×50). After six failures I asked help on Cloudy Nights.
Armed with the good advice from a kind Neal and a little refractor I was more lucky on the first of July. The tool bag passed almost overhead at a distance of 280 km (in his 3534th turn around the Earth).
I was especially surprised by the speed of the satellite and there is no second chance. So I’m not sure that the sketched path is 100% correct (it differs a little bit from the calculated one). It was far more difficult to recall where the tool bag entered than where it left the FOV. It was also the first (and maybe the last) time I used a lath for an astro-sketch. The calculated brightness of the bag was 5,4 magnitudes. The bright star on the right border of the sketch (north) is Kappa Cygni. The two bright stars below (east) are Iota 1 and 2 Cygni.
When I was sketching some background stars there was at 0.57 UT an unexpected visitor. A bright (mag. 2,3) satellite passed the same FOV than the tool bag. Some research on CalSky revealed it was a cylindrical rocket-piece (IGS 3A H2A) that measured 13,5 by 2,5 meters. A nice extra!
Don’t wait too long to observe the tool bag, because in the future it will fall back to Earth. It is not expected that any components of the tool bag will reach the Earth´s surface. But maybe some beautiful morning you will find a grease gun in your backyard…

Clear skies
Jef De Wit

Object Name: ISS / Shuttle tool bag
Object Type: satellite
Location: Hove, Belgium (51°09’ north lat. 4°28’ east long.)
Date and time: 1 July 2009, 0.52 UT
Equipment: Meade ETX-70 (2,75 inch refractor)
Eyepiece: 35mm Celestron Ultima (FOV 4,4° and magnification 10x)
NELM: 4,2 mag.
Medium: graphite pencil HB/n°2, lath, printing paper, scanned and inverted, some cleaning up was made with Paint

Splinter in the Dragon

NGC 5907

NGC 5907, the Splinter Galaxy in Draco
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

NGC 5907 Splinter in the Dragon

When you live in a bright sky zone and can’t get away to a dark site, it may yet be worth your while to track down brighter galaxies if the transparency is good. This is what happened to me on Friday evening when I spent about 6 hours enjoying a warm dry summer night under the stars.
After a couple of hours of viewing bright galaxies, I remembered attempting to sketch NGC 5907 in late spring when clouds rolled in at put an end to observing. I returned to that edge–on galaxy on this evening and after getting as dark adapted as possible and moving the scope back and forth to stimulate averted vision, this is what I sketched. I did detect some irregular condensations of brightness in this galaxy.
This galaxy is about 39 million light years from us and although nearly edge on does not seem to have much of a central bulge. At low power it is a couple of fields of view to the east of the brighter lenticular galaxy NGC 5866 which is also nearly edge-on. NGC 5907 glows at magnitude 10.3 and is located at R.A. 15h 16′, Dec. +56° 20′. I need about 10 inches of aperture to just detect this galaxy against the sky background on a good night.
In 1788 William Herschel located and described this nebula [galaxy].


(NGC 5907)
Date and Time: 6-27-2009, 4:00-4:25 UT
Scope: 18” f/5 Dobsonian. 28mm, 24 mm eyepieces 82x, 95x
8”x12” white sketching paper, 2H, 4H graphite pencils,
blending stump, scanned and inverted
Seeing: Pickering 8/10
Transparency: Average 4.5/5
Faintest stars visible overhead 4.4
Temperature: 26°C (80°F)
Galaxy magnitude: 10.3
Distance: 39 mly
Location: R.A. 15h 16m
Dec. +56° 20′

Frank McCabe

Antares´s Neighborhood

Antares’s Neighborhood

Rho-Ophiuchi, Antares and M4
Sketch and Details by Leonor Ana Hernández

The view through the binocular was splendid, Antares highlighted with an intense orange and was surrounded by a diffuse cloud, visible with averted vision.

The field was rich, plenty of stars, I distinguished perfectly the cluster M4 as a round nebula of grey cotton. Rho Ophiuchi showed flirt in the upper zone with its three components forming the shape of Mickey Mouse… with a blue intense color. The nebula around Antares appeared to reach Rho Ophiuchi indirectly.

Site : Mazarambroz, Toledo (Spain)
Date : June 20, 2009
Time : 21.53 UT
Binoculars : Vixen 12×80
FOV: 4.2°
Sky brightness : 20.70 magnitudes per square arc second near zenith (SQM reading).
Orientation: N up, E left
Sketch made with graphyte pencil, difumino, on white paper. I scanned it and change to negative view. I added the color tone of the main stars.

Leonor Ana Hernández

In the Strings of the Lyre


M56 (NGC 6779) in the constellation Lyra
Sketch and Details by Kiminori Ikebe

M56 (NGC 6779) Globular Cluster in Lyra

This globular is northwest of Albireo. It is a mid-size globular and fairly bright. It is grainy but even at 190x it is not resolved clearly. The center is triangular-shaped with even brightness. The outlying area is faint and diffuse. There are some faint stars further out, but it is not certain whether they are members of this globular.
There is a double star north of the center. The faint outlying area is extensive in the north but almost no extension is detected in the south. However, there is a string of stars forming an arch in the south.

Difficulty level 3
Date of observation: 2000/08/28 00:47
Observing site

Galaxy On Edge

NGC 4244

Edge on galaxy NGC 4244
Sketch and Details by Ferenc Lovró

Edge-On Galaxy: NGC 4244 ( C26)

This is a large edge-on spiral with intermediate brightness, highly elongated in the NNE-SSW directions near the famous double, Cor Caroli in Canes Venatici. It does not show much detail like arms or dense spots, however its NNE side looks a little bit brighter and wider, which makes the entire galaxy look a bit asymmetrical. I estimate its average brightness at 12 magnitudes maximum, with an apparent size of 13′ x 2′.

Date/Time: 2009.05.17 : 21:15 UT
Equipment: 12″ f/5 Newtonian working at 100x
FOV 33′: Seeing: 6/10: Transparency 3/5
Coordinates: R.A. 12h 48m; Dec. +37° 45′

Spiraling into the Whirlpool


M51 (NGC 5194 and 5195), The Whirlpool Galaxy
Sketch and Details by Janusz Krysiak

Object Name:M 51
Object Type:Galaxy

medium: pencil, white paper
equipment: Newton 300/1500
magnification: 68x

Under a dark sky you may see the spiral galaxy structure. I made this
sketch on 18.04.2009 in Pyrnik, Poland.

Janusz Krysiak

Raining Suculae


Hyades Open Cluster, Melotte-25
Sketch and Details by Math Heijen

On december 27th 2008 I observed the Hyades with my 12×60 Celestron binoculars, mounted on the SkyWindow. The field of view (FOV) that these binoculars provide is about 5 degrees (300′) and the Hyades are just a little to wide, to fit into FOV. But although I didn’t see the whole cluster in one FOV, the first impression of this cluster was simply stunning. The brilliant deep orange Aldebaran, which actually isn’t a member of the Hyades but a foreground star, dominates the field of view, together with three bright yellow companions. These are three of the four yellow giants of the Hyades: Delta, Gamma, and Theta-1. The fourth is Epsilon (which again didn’t fit in the same FOV). There were many different chains of stars and small asterisms (triangles and other shapes) visible. The northern and southern half’s of the cluster seemed to be more or less divided by a dark empty zone, with almost no stars.

Beside Aldebaran and the three yellow stars, there were two other stars that drew my attention. First of all the brilliant white Theta-2 Tauri, with magnitude 3.3 the brightest star, the Lucida of the Hyades. It makes a beautiful double with the Theta-1, one of the yellow giants. To the south of this nice couple I detected the other prominent star, the reddish M-type variable V1146 (or 84 Tauri). In total I counted about between 75 and 85 stars, but I’m sure with my 300mm Dobson I could double or triple that number easily. According to Archinal and Hynes (Star Clusters, Willmann and Bell) the Hyades contain about 380 stars. This makes it a rich cluster. I could not detect any nebulosity of unresolved stars or of any other kind.

This sketch was made with led-pencil on white paper and later processed in Photoshop. The technique used I learned from Jeremy Perez’s website. If you want to learn more about this object or see a few more sketches of open clusters and double stars, please feel free to visit my website at

Clear Skies!

Math Heijen


Revealing the Veil

The Veil Nebula

The Veil Nebula (NGC 6960)
Sketch and Details by Dan Israël


I made this sketch in a small hamlet in Aubrac, south of France, altitude 1100m, with average transparency and no moon. I used a 80mm refractor at 30x magnification
and an OIII filter. The sketch was made on the spot with graphite pencil on white Canson paper. Some minor improvements were made later in the daylight (shading, shape of stars).

Object Name NGC 6960 (Veil Nebula)
Object Type supernova remnant
Location Aubrac, France
Date August 2007

The Veil Nebula processed

Computer processed Veil Nebula (NGC 6960)
Computer Sketch by Dan Israël

PS: this version with software processing is a little bit more realistic (but less authentic).



Taking Aim at the Wild Duck Cluster

The Wild Duck Cluster

The Wild Duck Cluster (NGC 6705)
Sketch by Janis Romer, text by Frank McCabe

The Wild Duck Cluster (NGC 6705)

Messier 11 or the wild duck open cluster as it is frequently called is a dense open cluster in the constellation of Scutum. A portion of this cluster is reminiscent of a flock of ducks flying in classic “V” formation. There are nearly 3,000 suns in this cluster, including many giants of all classes. The cluster is estimated to be 250 million years old and like most galactic cluster lies in the plane of the Milky Way.
This cluster was discovered by Gottfried Kirch in 1681 and it was added to Charles Messier’s famous catalog in 1764.
This sketch was made using a Criterion 8” f/8 Newtonian reflector telescope

M 11 (NGC 6705)
Visual mag. 6
Aprox. Distance: 5 kly
Apparent Size: 13 arc min.
RA 18h 51m
Dec – 6° 16′

Unwinding the Spindle

NGC 3115

NGC 3115, The Spindle Galaxy in the constellation Sextans

Sketch and Details by Marek Plonka

Sketch information:

My sketch shows NGC 3115 in Sextans (Sex). NGC 3115 is also known as the
“Spindle Galaxy”. It appears to have mostly old stars and little or no activity.
The growth of its black hole has also stopped. The stellar formation has
stopped because the interstellar matter was used up.

The object is easily found.

Object name: NGC 3115
Scope: Skywather dobs 1200/200 + 8mm TV PL + 24mm TV Panoptic
Place: Poland, Silesia, Skrzyszów
Seeing: 8/10 Transparency: 4/5

Marek Płonka

Sliding Down Kemble’s Cascade

Kemble’s Cascade

Kemble’s Cascade in the Constellation Camelopardalis
Sketch and Details by Aleksander Cieśla

This is my sketch of the Kemble’s Cascade, the astrism in Camelopardalis. This object looks better in scope with wide angle of view. Unfortunately in my SCT some stars are out of the field of view.

Object: Kemble’s Cascade
Scope: Schmidt-Cassegrain 5” with Ultima 35mm
Magnification: About 35,7x
Place: Poland, Wroclaw – near city center.
Weather: Not good. Seeing 3/5. Light Pollution.
Date: 24 May 2009
Technique: Graphite pencil. Scanned & inverted only.

A Seyfert Galaxy in Canes Venatici


M106, A Seyfert Galaxy in Canes Venatici
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

At a distance of 25 million light years away, M-106 is a bright spiral galaxy with about the same tilt angle as the Andromeda galaxy. This galaxy measures about 30,000 light years across and glows at a magnitude of 8.4. Like M-77 in Cetus this galaxy is a type II Seyfert galaxy. Pierre Méchain found it in July of 1781.
Nearby there is a 12th magnitude edge-on spiral galaxy (NGC 4217) among a group of bright foreground stars. In years past using a 10″ scope, I was able to spot this galaxy before the urban sprawl erased it from my sky.


M 106 (NGC 4258)
Date and Time: 5-18-2009, 4:50-5:25 UT
Scope: 10” f/5.7 Dobsonian. 24 mm eyepiece 60x
8”x12” white sketching paper, 2H, HB, 4H graphite pencils,
blending stump, scanned and inverted
Seeing: Pickering 8/10
Transparency: Average 4/5
Faintest stars visible overhead 4.3
Temperature: 10°C (50°F)
Galaxy magnitude: 8.4
Distance: 25 mly
Location: R.A. 12h 19m
Dec. +47° 18′

Frank McCabe

Three for the Price of One

Leo composite

The Leo Triplet, M65, M66 and NGC 3628
Sketches and Details by Jeff Young

This is a large-format sketch of the Leo Triplet. The field stars and galaxy positions were drawn from observations through a Takahashi FC-100 at 67X, while the individual galaxy details are from 3 separate sketches through 16” cats (M66 and NGC3628 through my old Meade SCT at 175X, and M65 through my newer APM Mak at 150X).

I scanned the original sketches and increased the contrast, and then printed them to the same scale. The printouts were taped together with the final 12” x 16” sketch paper, and the field stars and galaxy positions were traced with the help of backlighting from a window.

Leo Trio Window

I then copied the galaxy details by hand from the original sketches.

Leo trio details

There’s a bit more noise in the final result than usual because the larger format wouldn’t fit my scanner and I had to take a picture of it with my digital camera.

The Leo Triplet (M65, M66 and NGC3628)

Daler Rowney HB pencil on Daler Rowney A3 150 gsm cartridge paper

Sketched from County Louth, Ireland


— Jeff.

A Bipolar Planetary Nebula

NGC 3699

NGC 3699, A Bipolar Planetary Nebula
Sketch by Eiji Kato, text by Frank McCabe

Sky catalogue 2000.0 incorrectly lists this planetary nebula as an emission nebula. It is located in eastern Centaurus and glows visually at about 11th magnitude. Like M-76 in the northern sky this southern sky planetary is also a bipolar planetary. The central star was very massive and is now extremely hot. A central dark rift divides this planetary as can be seen in the sketch. An interesting description of this planetary can be found here.
This object was discovered by John Herschel April 1, 1834.

Coordinates: R.A. 11hrs 27min 58sec
Dec. -59° 57′ 28″

Drawings made using a home-built 47cm f/4 Dobsonian reflector.

Stars Like Tiny Pinpoints


M53 (NGC 5024) Globular cluster
Sketch and Details by Kiminori Ikebe, translation by Mr. Eiji Kato

This is a globular cluster southeast of Mel.111 in Coma Berenices. It is fairly large and even at 110x it is finely resolved. This is a beautiful globular cluster with individual stars appearing as pinpoints.
The core shows even brightness and stars are well resolved to the center. North of the center there is a double, but they do not seem to belong to the cluster. The outlying regions in the northern half show scattered faint stars. The southern nebulosity does not show this.

Date of observation: 2000/04/09 02:58 UT
Observing site: Makinoto, Japan
Transparency/seeing/sky darkness: 3/4/4
Instruments: 32cmDB with XL14 at 110x
Width of field: 0.6 °
Kiminori Ikebe

Space Duo

M97 and  M108

M97 “The Owl Nebula” and Galaxy M108
Sketch and Details by Janusz Krysiak


These are the planetary nebula M97 and the galaxy M108. Together are beautifully visible.

Object Name: M 97, M 108
Object Type: Planetary nebula, Galaxy
Location: Pyrnik(Poland)
Date: 14.04.2009

medium: pencil, white paper
equipment: Newton 305/1500
magnification: 68 x



M64 (NGC 4826) “The Black Eye or Sleeping Beauty Galaxy”
Sketch and Details by Janusz Krysiak

Object Name:M 64
Object Type:Galaxy

medium: pencil, white paper
equipment: Newton 300/1500
magnification: 68x

I made this sketch in Pyrnik(Poland).Beautiful galaxy, clearly visible
darker place near the center.

Galactic Windmill


M101, The Pinwheel Galaxy in Ursa Major
Sketch and Details by Janusz Krysiak

Object Name:M 101
Object Type:Galaxy

medium: pencil, white paper
equipment: Newton 300/1500
magnification: 68x


The building which has absorbed most of my time, many observations have
enabled me to draw some conclusions. First of all, the best results
achieved when the galaxy was very high. My requests generally
poorly-visible, the middle of the oval and a little brighter, you can
see two “weak points of light” near each other in the vicinity of the
center, I recommend a look around the chief field of view, found three
“weak points of light” to show the galaxy frame, after a long
observation draws M 101 is a painting, sketch shows roughly what I saw
and I must say that gave me a lot of satisfaction.

Janusz Krysiak

Great Globular


M13, The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules
Sketch and Details by Robert Gudański, commentary by Rich Handy

This beautiful view of M13, the Great Globular Cluster in the constellation Hercules, was rendered by Polish amateur astronomer Robert Gudański. The cluster, some 25,000 light years from Earth, contains hundreds of thousands of stars. It’s been said that the core of M13 is so dense with stars that a planet near the center (assuming a transparent atmosphere), would behold a sky full of bright suns. In fact the sky would perpetually be several times brighter than the full Moon. Not quite the place to be if you like Deep Sky Objects!

Synta 8″ dob
Stepnica, Poland
Robert Gudański

Ursa Major Triplet

Ursa Major Triplet

M81, M52 and NGC 3077 in Ursa Major
Sketch and Details by Jef De Wit

M81 and M82 are an impressive duo. But a lot of people don’t know that there is a third galaxy in the neighbourhood (NGC 3077, magnitude: 9,8, surface brightness: 13,2). Even in a small telescope (like my 2,75 inch refractor) you can easily see a lot of detail in this trio.

M81 is the biggest and best visible of the three, M82 is a little less bright than M81 and NGC 3077 was only visible with averted vision. Nice are also the differences in form. NGC 3077 is round, M81 is oval (elongated NW-SE) and M82 is oblong (elongated NE-SW). M81 is the only galaxy with a bright nucleus and a big difference in brightness between the core and the outer halo, M 82 has a less difference in brightness and NGC 3077 is uniform, without any detail.

The problem making this sketch was that I couldn’t see the three galaxies at once in the wide angle eyepiece. To see the edge I had to look around the corner. This made it (for me) difficult to position the stars. Normally I limit a sketch to the field of view I can see at once.

Once inside I made some brightness adjustments to the stars and finished the galaxies with the use of a blending stump (at the eyepiece I work with contour lines). After scanning I did some cleaning up with Paint.

I hope you like this “Ursa Major Triplet”.

Clear skies

Jef De Wit

Object Name: M81, M82 and NGC 3077

Object Type: galaxies

Location: Buis-les-Baronnies, France (44°16 north Lat. 5°16 east Long.)

Date and time: 15 April 2009 around 1.15 UT

Equipment: Meade ETX-70 (2,75 inch refractor)

Eyepiece: 7mm Nagler type 6 (FOV 1,6° and magnification 50x)

NELM: 5,7 mag

Medium: graphite pencils HB/2 and 8B, blending stump, printing paper, scanned and inverted, some cleaning up was made with Paint

Getting a Black Eye in Coma Berenices


M64 (NGC 4826) The Black Eye Galaxy
Sketch and Details by Kiminori Ikebe, translation by Mr. Eiji Kato

M64 (NGC 4826) a Coma Berenices galaxy

Sketch and details by Kiminori Ikebe translation by Mr. Eiji Kato

Date of observation: 2001/05/21 21:46 UT
Observing site: Makinoto, Japan
Transparency/seeing/sky darkness: 3/2/4
Instruments: 32cm Dobsonian with RA8 at 190x
Width of field: 0.31 degree

This is a galaxy southeast of the Coma Berenices Cluster. I sketched this galaxy soon after I acquired the 32cm Dobsonian, but I tried it again.
It is bright and large. There is a small core-like condensation at the center with a sharp stellar nucleus. The surface brightness very gradually and smoothly falls toward the outer regions, which resembles the smoothness of cream. The outline of the galaxy is difficult to determine, as it fades into the background brightness.
A dark lane runs east-north around the nucleus. It is quite clear and with a longer look, it will look like an image in photographs. The dark lane is bent in the middle.

Kiminori Ikebe

Needle in a Deep Dark Haystack

NGC 4565

NGC 4565, The Needle Galaxy in Coma Berenices
Sketch and Details by Ignisdei (Robert Twarogal)


Now I want to present my last night sketch – Needle- galaxy NGC 4565 .This object lays in the constellation Coma Berenices about 50 million light-years away .. It is always a pleasure for me to watch the magnificent shape of this spiral beauty. It is one of the marvellous galaxies of spring night sky. The core of this object is sharp and visible, quite the contrary – long spiral arms are much more elusive.

Object Name Needle- galaxy NGC 4565
Object Type (Galaxy)
Location (Oborniki, suburbia, Poland)

Date (19-04-2009)
Equipment Meade SCT 8″ + Heq5, WO SWAN 40mm and 25mm
Autor: Ignisdei (Robert Twarogal)

Your sincerely Robert