The “Seeing Beater” versus the Jovial Giant


For observers in the northern hemisphere this opposition of Jupiter is not
a good one. This complex and fascinating gaseous world won’t manage
to rise above above the troubled horizon so views are going to be compromised during most if not all observations we attempt.

Having said this, Jupiter offers much to the observer seeking detail, OK it’s not
as sharp or as plentiful as we are used to during higher oppositions but it is
still worth recording with our sketch pads.
Increasingly I have been using my long focal length F15 Antares 105mm Achromatic
refractor for sketching observations, leaving the larger Newtonian for those rarer
steady nights. The long refractor is proving to be a bit of a “Seeing Beater”.
On the evening of June 1st/2nd 2007 I made such and observation and sketch and
hope you will agree it was worth the effort with some nice detail in the belts
evident and a couple of fine ovals too.
Start 00.00  end 00.15…. 2/6/07
Antares 105mm F15 refractor working at 163x with a Denk binoviewer, enhanced star
diagonal. Sketch made onto white paper with pre-drawn circles and black surround
using Derwent watercolour and pastel pencils. Image scanned but not enhanced.
Dale Holt

Radiant spectacle

The Sun with Sunspot groups 484,486, and 488

Today, March 2, 2007, the sunspot number is zero.

The sunspot number on October 28, 2003 was 238. An X-17 solar flare erupted that morning. Sunspot groups 484,486, and 488 were associated with Coronal Mass Ejections and auraural activity. The attached watercolor was based upon a white-light solar image captured with a 4″ refracting telescope, a white-light-solar filter, and a digital camera. The image of the sun with sunspots 484, 486, and 488 was processed in Photoshop and then printed. In a photocoping machine a transparancy was made. The transparancy was placed on an overhead projector and the projected image was traced and colored with watercolor pencils. Then, with a brush, water was added to the sunspots and to the remaining surface and background.

If the use of an “overhead projector” sounds like something from a school project, it was. Students at the A.R. Gould School in South Portland, Maine have used this process numerous times to document their observations.

… just a thought about tracing. In the late ’90s, I sent a cardboard-box camera obscura to Betty Edwards, the author of “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”. In her book she recommends that one should try to copy an image that is upside down; she suggests that that may allow the observer/drawer to see what is there and not what one expects to be there. In the camera obscura that I constructed, the image was projected upside down. In our conversations I asked her about the whether she thought tracing was drawing. She said that if two people were to trace the same thing that the finished drawings would be different, because drawing is about how we see things. (She also said that tracing allowed muscles to build muscle memory. I suppose that that is similar to practicing scales in music.)

John Stetson