Lunar Crater Copernicus

Lunar crater Copernicus - November 3, 2014
Lunar crater Copernicus – November 3, 2014

Lunar Crater Copernicus

Across the Carpathian Mountains resting on the eastern Ocean of Storms is the
landmark crater of the Sea of Islands, mighty Copernicus. Copernicus is a 95
kilometer diameter complex crater that begins to show itself in all its majesty
two days past first quarter. During the time of “Snow-Ball Earth” 800 million
years ago the event that created Copernicus suddenly occurred. What remains is a
3.8 kilometer deep hummock covered flat floored, centrally peaked, terrace walled
spectacular sentinel. Especially during high sun the bright ray system of this
crater can be seen extending from the base of the glassy glacis in all directions.
The descent from the rampart to the mare floor below is about one kilometer. Three
of five peaks were clearly visible in morning sunlight. In 1999 the Clementine
near infrared camera detected magnesium iron silicates in the peaks indicating
rebound of this deep rock through the surface crust following the impact event.
To view this impressive crater all you need is a good pair of binoculars and an
opportunity between two days past first quarter and one day past last quarter.
Weather permitting, you can see it tonight.


For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 9”x 12”, white and
black Conte’pastel pencils and a blending stump.

Telescope: 13.1 inch f/5.9 Dobsonian and 9mm eyepiece 218x
Date: 11-03-2014, 00:45 – 02:10 UT
Temperature: 0°C (32°F)
clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 23.2°
Lunation: 8.9 days
Illumination: 69.3 %
Phase: 67.4°

Frank McCabe

Craters Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel

Lunar craters Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel -October 1, 2014
Lunar craters Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel -October 1, 2014


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
Clear skies!


Abell 70

Planetary nebula Abell 70 and background galaxy PMN J2033-0656 make a beautiful duo
Planetary nebula Abell 70 and background galaxy PMN J2033-0656
make a beautiful duo
Abell 70 and galaxy PMN J2033-0656 field details
Abell 70 and galaxy PMN J2033-0656 field details

Hi All,

Not up to the quality of recent CCD images but something I certainly found pretty
exciting Abell 70 and friend in Aquila. I know that Abdrew Robertson has taken a look
after I shared this with him, so I hope that it inspires other too.

Here is my blog that accompanies the sketch:

I have been ‘told’ reminded and prompted regarding my lack
of astronomical activity this summer! I hold my hands up, guilty as charged I
cry, there are a couple of short tales from the sky that I have failed to share
here, but in general, I have been off elsewhere! Playing harmonicas, painting, and
drawing watching bands, associating with hot rodders in my truck, playing with
bee hives, building large garden structures and generally having a good time!
OK I get the message, astronomy is not for neglecting and I feel guilty so I’m back
and will make every endeavour to keep it that way.
With a stiff talking too from my friend Keith on Sunday
evening ringing in my eyes, the clear Monday evening sky forced me into the
observatory, the cob webs were incredible; it took me a while to clear the
worst of them. I set up the scope, plugged in the leads, opened the stiff roof
sections and pointed the scope skywards. It was only dusk, but I was eager to
make amends for my inactivity, I didn’t have a target in mind, so I thought
something bright, a revisit perhaps, to ease myself back into things. I flicked
through a few of the books on the shelf for inspiration, the scope was supposedly
pointing at Altair in Aquila, so something in that constellation would be good,
short hops would keep things accurate, I thought.

Nothing so far, until I looked through Kepple and Sanner,
last image for Aquila was Abell 70, no pencil tick on it so I hadn’t observed
it previously, mag 14.5 the text said hmmmm… hardly a bright object but well
with ‘scope’ excuse the pun.
OK target object decided upon, I went indoors for my evening
meal and got back into the obsy around 20.00. I got the scope aligned on Altair,
focus was out I tweaked that, so was collimation, I tweaked that, but really
another pair of hands were needed so it certainly wasn’t spot on, but it would
do! The sky was hazy, certainly not a great night. I hopped to Abell 70 aka PK
38-25.1 via a couple of brighter stars, re-syncing at each stop. Another short
slew and I turned up the camera gain and dialled in 15sec exposure and there it
was, small in the 12’ x 12’ fov, a truly round and fairly faint ring nebula,
but what was that going on along one side, it looked like an edge on galaxy,
with a core considerably brighter that the shell ring nebulosity of Abell 70. I
looked up Abell 70 on the web and sure enough there was a distant back ground
galaxy designated PMN J2033-0656 that made this observation, unusual and
special. I increased the cameras exposure to my max of 20 seconds and made a
sketch, the increased time exposure pulled out the central star, tiny but sharp
it also showed up another star close to nebula that I wasn’t able to see at 15
secs. I didn’t use the usual BAA observing form to sketch and
record rather reaching for black art paper and rendering the ghostly ring and
galaxy using white watercolour pencil and blending stump.
I was delighted at this observation after anticipating a ‘soft’ option for my return,
I was back with a bang, catching a new object with an unexpected added attraction!
Boy I have missed this observing malarkey, thanks to all who have given me stick
over not observing

Pax stellarum, Dale

Do you want to know more about my interest in astronomy? If so take a look at my Website:

Keep up to date with observations from Chippingdale Observatory by reading the Blog

Early Morning Pitatus and Neighbors

Lunar crater Pitatus and environs - September 17, 2014
Lunar crater Pitatus and environs – September 17, 2014
Lunar crater Pitatus and environs (labeled) - September 17, 2014
Lunar crater Pitatus and environs (labeled) – September 17, 2014

Pitatus is an old, large 97 km. diameter crater on the edge of Mare Nubium. The floor of this crater has a linear central peak which was casting a fine elongated triangular shadow at the time of this observation and sketch. To the south craters Wurzelbauer (88 km.) and Gauricus (79 km.) could be seen; both of these craters show badly warn rims; both much older than Pitatus. Attached to the northwest rim of Pitatus is the crater Hesodius (43 km.). At about the eighth or ninth day of lunation you can observe the famous “sunrise ray” beaming across the floor of Hesodius through a break in the wall with Pitatus. This is certainly a sight worth observing.


For this sketch I used: Black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 12”x 9”, both white and
black Conte’pastel pencils and blending stumps.

Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 Dobsonian and 9mm eyepiece 161x
Date: 09-17-2014 10:00-11:25 UT
Temperature: 5°C (42°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 187.3°
Lunation: 22.6 days
Illumination: 39.0 %

Frank McCabe

Crater Gassendi and the northern part of Mare Humorum

Lunar crater Gassendi and the the northern part of Mare Humorum - September 5, 2014
Lunar crater Gassendi and the the northern part of Mare Humorum – September 5, 2014

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


Goldilocks & The 3 Sun Bears

Three prominences on the solar limb - September 11, 2014
Three prominences on the solar limb – September 11, 2014


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

Solar Sketch
Black Strathmore Paper
Pastel and colored pencils
60mm Lunt h-Alpha
Maui, Hawaii

Webmaster’s note: Cindy has been instrumental in organizing a new Sketching Observing Award Program for the Astronomical League. Check it out here.

M22 – the quietly spoken big brother globular cluster

Messier 22, the great globular cluster in Sagittarius
Messier 22, the great globular cluster in Sagittarius

Hi all,
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

Crater Clavius Out and Over the Terminator

Lunar crater Clavius - September 3, 2014
Lunar crater Clavius – September 3, 2014

Among the large craters of the lunar southern highlands, a nearly 4 billion year old crater stood out over the terminator on this evening just after local sunset here in the central USA. This crater is the 230 km. diameter impactor known by the name Clavius. Clavius is blanketed with a sizable number of craters and numerous craterlets . The north-northeastern rim of Clavius has a large crater resting upon it and most of its rim is just catching the light of sunrise. This 52 km. diameter crater is Porter. Much of the central floor of crater Clavius remains in darkness except for Clavius D (21 km.) and to its right in the sketch Clavius C (13 km.). Note that crater D is casting a nice shadow across the high central floor which is just beginning to light up in the lunar morning sun.


For this sketch I used: Black Canson sketching paper, 8”x10”, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and blending stumps.
Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece 241x
Date: 09-03-2014 01:05-02:00 UT
Temperature: 26°C (79°F)
Partly cloudy, breezy
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 14.9°
Lunation: 8.47 days
Illumination: 56.7 %

Frank McCabe

Comet Jacques (C/2014 E2)

Comet C/2014 E2 (JACQUES) - August 22, 2014
Comet C/2014 E2 (JACQUES) – August 22, 2014

Object Name: Comet C/2014 E2 (JACQUES)
RA: 02h 04m 07.8s; Dec: + 63° 39′ 26.9″
Magnitude: 6.4
Constellation: Cassiopeia
Location: Pueblonuevo de Bullaque. Ciudad Real. SPAIN
Date: August 22, 2014.
Local Time: 01:57 (2h T.U)
Material used: pastel pencil and white ink on black paper.
Celestron Telescope S/C 8″ Mount Cgt-5
Eyepiece: 22 mm L-VW
Magnification: 92x.

More information: