After the clouds went away Comet C2014Q2 (Lovejoy) appeared glowing in the
sky! The nucleous was very bright, nearly stellar but the tail was not
visible. Not yet.
I observed from my balcony on the 7th floor…
Immediately – after placing my chair there – I went to work but had to wait
for an annoying Cirrus blanket that covered the view. It finally cleared
but before I even looked through the binos, I tried to spot it with my eyes
alone but I just couldn’t convince myself that it was visible. However, I
suspect that with excellent sky conditions the first naked eye observations
will be reported very, very soon!
I made this sketch with white pastel and blending stump on black
Object Name – Pythagoras
Object Type – Lunar impact crater
Location – Deventer, The Netherands
Date – Januari 3, 2015
Media – White pastel pencil on black paper
So far this winter is terrible for astronomy. Nothing but clouds and rain in the Netherlands… But yesterday evening the skies finally cleared and my 3″ Polarex Unitron was quickly set up in the backyard. Crater Pythagoras on the northeastern limb of the Moon looked particularly nice – like a deep rocky bowl in the lunar surface. Seeing conditions were fair, so I pumped up the magnifcation to a crazy (for a 3″) 200x. It still gave a pleasant and sharp view and sketching was quite comfortable with the crater looking big in the eyepiece.
Pythagoras is a 130km wide impact crater with staggering 5km high terraced walls. The central peaks (I could see two of them) are also pretty huge: 3,5km high! Imagine the panoramic view from the top op one of those mountains….
Sketch made with a pastel pencil on black paper, through a 3″ Polarex Unitron at 200x (Baader 6mm BGO). The image is mirror reversed.
Here’s my lunar sketch of today.
Object Name: Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel
Object Type Lunar Craters
Location: Home terrace, Dusseldorf region, Germany
Date: Oct 1st, 2014, 1930-2000 CEST
Media: charcoal and white pastel on black cardbox
Here is a sketch of the Moon on the 5th of September from my backyard
in Adelaide, South Australia.
The moons phase was waxing at 83%, with only the very western edge
still in shadow. I observed with a C11 SCT. Seeing was quite
reasonable, so I took a 15mm eyepiece + 2x Barlow for a close look.
The shallow illumination on Mare Humorum made the creases on the mare
floor stand out. Crater Gassendi, toward the bottom, showed stark
shadows. Rimae Hippalus was visible, passing through the partially
submerged crater Hippalus at the top right. Because I used a diagonal
prism, the sketch is mirror imaged.
I used pastel chalks and black and white pastel pencils on black
While observing our ever changing Sun today I was struck by a grouping of prominences on the western limb. All of them of high intensity and curving towards the same direction. They made me think of the story of Goldilocks & The 3 Bears!
Cindy (Thia) Krach
Black Strathmore Paper
Pastel and colored pencils
60mm Lunt h-Alpha
Webmaster’s note: Cindy has been instrumental in organizing a new Sketching Observing Award Program for the Astronomical League. Check it out here.
This was the second sketch I completed at this year’s Astrofest back in July.
M22 is a true jewel of the night sky. This giant globular cluster from a dark site it can be a naked eye object as well. It is large enough for even smaller telescopes to resolve its multitude of component stars, revealing its large and intense core.
M22 is beautiful in my 17.5” scope. It is very different from Omega Centauri and 47Tuc – could even describe it as the ‘runt’ of the giant globulars as its core is not as busy as its bigger brothers. But the component stars of its core are absolutely brilliant, arranged in so many signature patterns. It is slowly turning into a favourite of mine with its understated brilliance, loud without being overbearing presence, and sitting on a magnificent carpet of the Milky Way glow.
I won’t say much here. I’ll let M22 do its own quite whispering of its magnificence. Yeah, I think one firm fav of mine now…
Object: M22 globular cluster
Scope: 17.5” push-pull Karee dobsonian
Gear: 22mm LVW, 91X
Location: Linville, Queensland, Australia
Date: 24th July, 2014
Media: Soft pastel and white ink on A4 size black paper
Duration: approx. 2.5hrs
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.
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