Optical Aid Optional

Optical Aid Optional

Conjunction of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter
Sketch and Details by Carlos E. Hernandez

I made a naked eye observation of the Waxing Crescent Moon (3.76 days old), Venus, and Jupiter over the southwestern sky on December 1, 2008 (22:45 U.T.). The trio was paired between a pair of trees and pastel orange clouds. It was a very impressive sight. I hope that others were able to view it as well.

A digital observation made using Photoshop CS3.


That Rare Phenomenon

Moon Venus Occultation

The Moon Occults Venus
Sketch and Details by Giorgio Bonacorsi

Hi astronomy sketchers,all o.k.? Today I made this sketch with very difficult (conditions) :Cold,strong wind and clouds and at the end,rain! But I don’t lost that rare phenomenon :Moon occulting Venus! The clouds covered the sky,the wind was very strong and cold, but I take my little Klevstov and made this sketch.I hope you like (it). I lost the Venus exit cause the clouds,but I see the planet at 6,30 p.m.for one second!
At next,clear sky.

Site:Pergola,Marche,Center Italy
Date:1December 2008
Moon phase:3,3 days,crescent
Instrument:Vixen Klevstov 110/1035
Eyepiece:Plossl 25mm
Seeing:Good,turbulence,very difficult drawing
Air:Cold,very strong wind.

The Beautiful Occurence

Moon occulted by Venus

Venus just before Occultation by the Moon
Sketch and Details by Aleksander Cieśla

Sketch of the beautiful occurence. The Moon a few seconds before occulting Venus.

Sketch information:
Scope: Schmidt-Cassegrain 5” with Vixen LVW 13mm
Place: Poland, Wroclaw – near city center
Weather: Bad. Seeing 2/10. Light pollution. Clouds oncoming.
Date and time: 1st December 2008r. 5:15 PM (17:15)
Technique: Pencil with finger blur
Tooling: Scan and GIMP2 working.

Webmaster’s note: I’ve got a few days worth of excellent sketches of this wonderful occultation that I think you’ll all enjoy.

Jewel Vanishes and Appears Again

Occultation Moon Venus

Occultation of Venus by the Moon
Sketch and Details by Deirdre Kelleghan

Meade LX 90 FL 2000mm
35mm eyepiece = 57X
Dec 1st 2008 – Greystones Co Wicklow Ireland

Pastels/Conte on FineArt Pastel Velour Paper

15:35 – 17:10 approx too cold to time with any great regard

Venus was shining like a million dollar jewel in the early evening sky.
The young moon hung low in milky blue atmosphere, giant Jupiter watched the
visually stunning occultation unfolding below.

As it got darker more and more detail became visible on the crescent moon.
Between finishing the Venus vanishing sketch and the reemergence of Venus
I put as much lunar detail as possible in the time and under the conditions as I could.

The view as Venus reappeared and once again sparkled like a diamond stuck on the moon was breathtaking .
I quickly place the planet as accurately as I could and then continued to enjoy the view
along with my fellow observers, Michael, Philip, Aubrey, and Keith, awesome afternoon.

Deirdre Kelleghan
Irish Astronomical Society 1937 – 2007
Public Relations Officer IFAS
Oscail do Shuile D’iontas na Cruinne
Open Your Eyes to the Wonder of the Universe

Captivating Conjunction

Moon venus and Jupiter

Moon, Venus and Jupiter Conjuction
By Carlos E. Hernandez

Moon, Venus, and Jupiter

On February 5, 2008 (11:35 U.T.) I was able to view a very thin Waning Crescent Moon (27.9 days old) visible floating above (~5 degrees) a lavender cloud covered southeastern horizon. Venus was a very bright beacon (-3.97m) 12.2 degrees southwest of the Moon. Jupiter was a bright pastel orange-white star (~-1.87m) 4.0 degrees southwest of Venus. The southeast horizon exhibited pastel yellow to orange colors. I hope that others were able to view this pairing as well.

A digital image produced in Corel Painter X.

Shadow of the Goddess

transit of Venus

The transit of Venus June 4th, 2007
By Michael Rosolina

While listening to the McDonald Observatory’s StarDate, I was surprised to hear that
this week marks the 125th anniversary of the 1882 transit of Venus.  In my mind I
was transported back to June, 2004 eagerly anticipating the first Venus transit
since 1882.  No one living at that time had ever seen such an event.

The transit would be nearing its end when the Sun rose at my location so I set up my
small, portable Astroscan telescope equipped with a homemade white light filter on
the mountaintop behind my home.  I wanted my wife to see this rare event too, so I
lured her out by saying I needed her to watch my back for bears (not entirely
untrue–it was mating season and the black bears were very active).

As the Sun rose, we were completely enveloped in a cloud but soon the mist thinned
and we could see the small black dot against the solar disk with the unaided eye.
As conditions improved, we employed filters on the scope and on a pair of 10×50
binoculars to track the progress of Venus towards the Sun’s limb.

During egress, I was fortunate to detect the aureole created by the planet’s
atmosphere.  This halo was first seen during the 1761 transit by Russian scientist
Mikhail Lomonosov, who rightly concluded that Venus had an atmosphere.  The egress
created some interesting contrast effects which I have tried to render as I saw

I later discovered that there was indeed a small sunspot group near the Sun’s
central meridian, but I could not see it because of the poor transparency.

The sketch was done in the field with 2B and HB graphite pencils on Strathmore
paper.  I used a 4 inch template for the Sun and a penny to make the template for
the inset.

Seeing the transit was a peak experience for me (my wife was glued to the binoculars
through the whole thing, too).  It was also very gratifying to see how the event
brought the global amateur astronomy community together as we shared sketches and
images via the Internet.

The next Transit of Venus will be June 6th, 2012.  Clear skies to all in 2012–there
won’t be another transit for over a hundred years.

A Brilliant Irony


Terrestrial Planet
By Eric Graff
Parks Astrolight EQ6 • 6″ f/6 Newtonian Reflector
7.5mm Parks Gold Series Plössl + 2x Barlow • 240x, 13′ FoV
30 September 2007 • 13:00-13:30 UT

It is somewhat ironic that the most brilliant planet in the sky is also the most challenging to observe. On 30 September 2007 Venus appears as a dazzling crescent (32% illuminated) in the morning sky, 42° west of the Sun and shining at magnitude –4.7.

This observation was made during morning twilight and the white cloud-tops of Venus displayed a fair amount of subtle, dusky shading, seemingly in a series of roughly parallel arcs curving northward. The shadings were most prominent toward the terminator, while the polar-regions were quite bright, particularly the southern cusp. In spite of the atmospheric subtlety, I found the observation of the large Venusian disk quite relaxing and relatively easy compared to the previous observation of the tiny Martian disk.

The Mysterious Terrestrial Planet

Venus 2007

  In the 1950’s when I was a youngster, Venus was believed to be Earth-like not only
in size but in atmospheric conditions as well.  Today it is known that Venus has
the hottest surface temperature of all the planets (457°C on average) and a high
pressure atmosphere of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid. Venus is always shrouded
in clouds but its phase change and albedo features can be seen with a telescope.
The late spring and summer of 2007 have provided northern observers a great
opportunity to observe Venus in the west just after sunset. Within the week Venus
will reach inferior conjunction and begin to switch over to the morning sky as it
races past earth. Currently Venus is a thin crescent only 44 million km. from
earth and subtending an angular size of nearly 58 seconds of arc. Presently the
planet is too close in alignment with the sun for safe daytime observing but
beginning in September it will rise before the sun in the morning. The 4 drawings
above were made when  Venus was between 103 and 51 million km from the Earth.
The first drawing was made with an 18” Newtonian telescope at 381x and the other
three were made with a 10” Newtonian at magnifications between 161x and 241x.
Deep violet, red and polarizing filters were used to bring out the albedo cloud features.
  First drawing         7 pm local time June 11, 2007
  Second drawing     8 pm local time June 20, 2007
  Third drawing        5 pm local time July  1, 2007
  Fourth drawing     2 pm local time July 29, 2007
  Frank McCabe

Gibbous Goddess


If you live in the temperate latitudes of the northern hemisphere, you’ve probably
noticed brilliant Venus high in the west at twilight–indeed, it’s hard to miss.
Apart from the phase, little detail is normally visible in the cloudtops of Venus,
due to the glare and low altitude of our “sister planet”.

This year presents the observer with a very favorable apparition because Venus
reaches greatest eastern elongation near the spring equinox.  If an observer uses
filters and gets out during early twilight (or even before sunset) while the planet
is still above the atmospheric murk on the horizon,  subtle detail can be seen on

Even though it is our closest neighbor (next to the Luna) and has been visited by
spacecraft, there is still much that is unknown about Venus.  Iti s a worthy target
for any observer, especially during a favorable apparition.

This sketch was made using a 2B and HB graphite pencil, black ink, and a loaded
stump.  The sketch was done from an eyepiece diagram based on an intensity scale
where 0.0 = darkest and 10.0 = brightest.

Michael Rosolina
Friars Hill, WV  USA