The Jewel Box star cluster (NGC 4755) and the Coal Sack dark nebula

Light vs dark – The Jewel Box and The Coal Sack

The Jewel Box star cluster (NGC 4755) and the Coal Sack dark nebula
The Jewel Box star cluster (NGC 4755) and the Coal Sack dark nebula

Hello all,

A couple of weekends ago saw Ice In Space Astro Camp ’14 happen at Lostock in rural NSW, Australia. I arrived late on the Friday, and when I finally settled at the camp it was dark and I just didn’t feel like setting up a big scope. The sky was clear, the full brilliance of the Milky Way was arcing overhead, so it was a great chance for some wide field sketching with my little 4″ achro.

Some time ago I had made a mental note of a potential sketching target as being the area around the lovely cluster The Jewel Box in the Southern Cross. The great thing about this scope and eyepiece combination is the true field of view encompasses the Jewel Box, Mimosa or Beta Cruxius, and the western edge of the dark nebula The Coal Sack, all set off against the mottled background Milky Way. Gorgeous stuff!

The Coal Sack is also surprisingly detailed. Streamers of darker lines, patches of brighter, and ghostly arcs. These details made for a great challenge as they are, well, black… Another fainter open cluster can also be seen just to the upper right of the Jewel Box. The Southern Cross contains dozens of open clusters within its boarder.

This sketch is very close to showing the full 5deg True Field of View I had.

Object: Jewel Box and the Coal Sack.
Scope: 4″ f/5 achromatic refractor
Gear: 30mm 82deg Explore Scientific, 17X, 5deg TFOV.
Location: Lostock, NSW, Oz
Date: 25th April, 2014
Media: White soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper.
Duration: approx. 2hrs

5 thoughts on “Light vs dark – The Jewel Box and The Coal Sack”

  1. WOW what a rendition, I haven’t seen anything quite like that before, my initial reaction was ‘it’s a photograph’! An amazing piece of work Alex, congratulations ๐Ÿ™‚

    Dale UK

  2. Wow sums it up nicely! I feel I learn something new every time I see one of your sketches Alex.


  3. Alex,

    Sketching just doesn’t get better than this for beauty and detail except for some of your recent Lunar sketches are equally good.
    Scott Mellish would have given you a 10 out of 10 for this one.

    Frank ๐Ÿ™‚

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