M82 and Supernova News

SN 2014J in M82 - February 2, 2014
SN 2014J in M82 – February 2, 2014

Object Name (SN 2014J in M82)
Object Type (Supernova in galaxy)
Location (Provence – France)
Date (Feb 2nd 2014)
Media (graphite pencil, watercolour on white paper)

Hello sketchers, here is my contribution to the observation of SN 2014J.

From Jan. 23rd till Feb. 11th I spend a lot of good time with the M82 supernova. Sketching the galaxy, estimate the visual magnitude and made watercolour of the sceneries.
Sometime I observed with friends and their materials, sometime I’m alone on the middle of no where, between the Provencal wild nature and the dark sky. Here in south France the temperature is quite high for the season but wind blows, so, often I place my car to protect the 12” Dobson from the mistral.
Attached is a kind of “auto portrait” (yes, that’s me!), from a photo I take tonight. On the basis I add the AAVSO curve with my own visual observations (blue cross is DMIB).

The technique used is inverted watercolour, so I invert the colours of the sketch while scanning. For the galaxy this is common sketch black on white – inverted.

Thanks to read this, clear sky to you all !


Geminid’s Rain

Geminid Meteor Shower - December 14, 2013
Geminid Meteor Shower – December 14, 2013

Object Name (Geminids)
Object Type (Meteor shower )
Location (Provence France)
Date (14 dec 2013)
Media (graphite pencil, watercolor, white paper, digital inversion )

From 4UT just after the moonset, I was observing one hour looking around the Leo area.
I begin to sketch the sky region where I was looking, +/- 45° from the radiant. We can see the Leo and the red Mars underneath.
Each time a meteor was burning out I put the trace on my white paper link with the estimated magnitude. Let says one minute after, because already years ago, I realized that sometime a meteor is following shortly by another one, just on the same track, like a double meteor. This morning I saw 42 Geminids and 2 sporadic’s, I don’t sketch the sporadic meteor here. The speed was quite low and the magnitudes quite brilliant.
The small village where I’m don’t care about light pollution, ok then, I use this to sketch the Christmas street decoration like it is.
Here follows my result of the watch,
December 14, 2013 (Val d’Issole, France)
Longitude 006 degrees 05′ 25″ East,
Latitude 43 degrees 18′ 15″ North.
UT Period Field Teff LM GEM SPO
4:00-5:05 60SSE 1.00 5.20 42 2

Total Meteors: 44
Magnitude Distributions:
Shower  -5  -4  -3  -2  -1   0   1   2   3   4   5

GEM      0   0   2   4   5   5   6  10   8   2   0
SPO      0   0   0   1   0   1   0   0   0   0   0

Based on this, my ZHR observation reaches 250!

It was a nice watch, a wonderful spectacle indeed.

Clear sky to you all

Michel Deconinck

C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) – December 3, 2013

C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) - December 3, 2013
C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) – December 3, 2013

Hello sketchers,

Object Name (C/2013 R1 – Lovejoy)

Object Type (comet)
Location (Provence France)
Date (3/12/2013)
Media (watercolor on paper 65cm/25cm)

This very morning, early, from Néoules, a nice dark sky area, I made 5 sketches with :
a 80/400mm refractor (10x) for the large field and the long tail,
a Dobson 12”, 58x and 150x for the coma around the nucleus
and a 102/1000 refractor (25x and 100x) for the intermediate view.
I used miscellaneous EP from 40mm to 10mm Delos, sometime with UHC filter.
I made this watercolor today 3 December at home, the idea was to put together the different magnifications on a single view.
Oh yes, something funny, to sketch the tail, I used a light sand paper to take away the pigment from place to place; this sand feels like real comet dust : scale 1/1…

Clear sky to you all !

Michel Deconinck

Watercolor Prom

Solar Prominence - April 22, 2012
Solar Prominence – April 22, 2012

Object Name (Sun)
Location (Rocbaron – Var in Provence)
Date (April 22 2012 16h12 local time)
Media (white paper, emerald green watercolour, inverted scanning.)

Hello artists

Just a few hours after the great sketch of Stratos Tsanaktsidis, I had the opportunity to draw this one. I use a common H alpha PST Coronado.

My technique is quite original, after a light circle portion made by a graphite pencil on white paper I use directly a pure watercolour “green emerald” to sketch the solar surface on a water base and then the protuberances on the dry part of the sky, taking into account that light green will become dark red and vice-versa. Then I just have to invert the colours after scanning. The white sky is becoming black while the green part is becoming “H alpha red”.

Right, I add the approximate dimension of the earth and the moon orbit.

Clear sky to you all

Michel Deconinck


Orion’s belt stars

Orion's Belt
Orion’s Belt

Hello ASOD, here join my last watercolor

Object Name (Orion’s belt stars and M42)
Object Type (Constellation and nebulae)
Location (Porquerolles on board of Aquarellia)
Date (02-10-2013)
Media (watercolor on white paper, paint.net for inverting the sky)

In the night of October the first, our old two masts Aquarellia was anchoring close to the harbour of Porquerolles, one of the three “Provencal golden islands”.
At one o’clock in the night I wake me up,… maybe ‘cause of some wave noise? I was surprised by seeing the Orion’s belt stars and M42 rising close to the ‘Sainte Agathe’ fort. With my 7×50 binoculars I sketch this original encounter, the mythic Orion warrior at the rear of a real castle.
The French coast, here in my nord, is full of light pollution but to my surprise, the castle illumination was the only light in the sight. The island is not so close to the polluted coast, so the Orion’s constellation was pure in the dark while rising.
This watercolour was made on board with local salt water (;

I hope you enjoy

Michel Deconinck


Nova Del 2013

Nova Del 2013
Nova Del 2013

Object Name (Nova Del 2013)
Object Type (Variable Star)
Location (Provence France)
Date (sept 5th, 2013)
Media (graphite pencil, water colour, white paper, paint.net to invert and compil)

Hi sketchers

I like things moving in the sky, and the Nova Del 2013 was the kind of progression that I like to chase.
A little bit less artistic, you can find the curve made of 30 magnitude estimations I did during 20 successive nights, no one single cloudy night!
The original sketch was done during the first night (Aug. 15th) the Dolphin constellation is easily visible.
The observation was made via 10×50 binoculars and then with a 80/400 refractor, received from my friend Yvan, to follow this observation . The sketch of the nova story, on the upper let corner, was made with inverted watercolour.
Hope you like, it’s difficult to make an artistic curve, isn’t it?
Michel Deconinck (from Polaris83 Forcalqueiret)

Michel Deconinck

Star Party under the Perseids

Perseid Star Party - August 11, 2013
Perseid Star Party – August 11, 2013

Object Name (Just a Perseid)
Object Type (Falling star and star party)
Location (Sainte Anastasie sur Issole – Provence)
Date (august 11th 2013)
Media (watercolour on 300gr paper – dim : 25cm/65cm)

The national star night, august 10th 2013 with AFA (Astronomical French Association)
At night, a lot of curious, tourist or passionate are join us under thousands of stars, fixed or falling.
A storyteller playing Celtic harp tells children “how they tried to assassinate Jupiter.” Another storyteller playing bagpipe tells the strange story of the constellations, the gods who watch us from the sky. A dozen of telescopes were in place, including a real antiquity made before the first edition of the Messier catalogue… Workshop were organised around magnitudes and star colours. Children dancing as orbited around our big model of Jupiter and its four main moons…
All this achieved thanks to the Sainte Anastasie’s municipality, turned off the lights around our observation field.
For all of us, this night was,… an astronomical success!


Michel Deconinck

Early Planets

Mercury, Venus, alpha Libra, Saturn and Spica
Mercury, Venus, alpha Libra, Saturn and Spica

Please find here my last watercolour

Object Name (Mercury, Venus and Saturn)
Object Type (Planets conjunction)
Location (Rocbaron Provence France)
Date (December 5th 2012 5:55 UT)
Media (Watercolour on 300gr paper plus white colour for planets)

It was quite cold this morning 1°C but I would like to see the rising of Mercury from my terrace.
Bottom-up we can see: Mercury near the chimney, Venus near alpha Libra, Saturn and Spica .

Clear sky to you all, and if possible, with warmer atmosphere !

Michel Deconinck

Conjunction of Mercury and Venus

Mercury and Venus Conjunction - June 20, 2013
Mercury and Venus Conjunction – June 20, 2013

Hello sketchers

Here my last observation of Mercury and Venus

Object Name (Mercury and Venus)
Object Type (Planet conjunction)
Location (Val d’Issole)
Date (June 20th 2013)
Media (Watercolour for the landscape and graphite pencil for the planets)

During this very “non cloudy” evening with a perfect transparency, I observed this planet conjunction from my own terrace. I use a 10×50 binocular to find Mercury as early as possible, then with my 102/1000 refractor I begin to sketch this planet that I see with a pale orange light, until masking by the horizon. Some time after, I sketched Venus, with a more blue light. The EP I used was a 40mm to find the planets and then a 10mm SWA to sketch.

What is uncommon here is the apparent diameter of both planets, they looks very similar in size but with very different colours. In fact, Mercury was close to us, nearly between the sun and the earth, and Venus was far further our star.

Michel – http://astro.aquarellia.com

Michel Deconinck