Unwinding the Spindle

NGC 3115

NGC 3115, The Spindle Galaxy in the constellation Sextans

Sketch and Details by Marek Plonka

Sketch information:

My sketch shows NGC 3115 in Sextans (Sex). NGC 3115 is also known as the
“Spindle Galaxy”. It appears to have mostly old stars and little or no activity.
The growth of its black hole has also stopped. The stellar formation has
stopped because the interstellar matter was used up.

The object is easily found.

Object name: NGC 3115
Scope: Skywather dobs 1200/200 + 8mm TV PL + 24mm TV Panoptic
Place: Poland, Silesia, Skrzyszów
Seeing: 8/10 Transparency: 4/5

Marek Płonka

Sliding Down Kemble’s Cascade

Kemble’s Cascade

Kemble’s Cascade in the Constellation Camelopardalis
Sketch and Details by Aleksander Cieśla

This is my sketch of the Kemble’s Cascade, the astrism in Camelopardalis. This object looks better in scope with wide angle of view. Unfortunately in my SCT some stars are out of the field of view.

Object: Kemble’s Cascade
Scope: Schmidt-Cassegrain 5” with Ultima 35mm
Magnification: About 35,7x
Place: Poland, Wroclaw – near city center.
Weather: Not good. Seeing 3/5. Light Pollution.
Date: 24 May 2009
Technique: Graphite pencil. Scanned & inverted only.

A Seyfert Galaxy in Canes Venatici


M106, A Seyfert Galaxy in Canes Venatici
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

At a distance of 25 million light years away, M-106 is a bright spiral galaxy with about the same tilt angle as the Andromeda galaxy. This galaxy measures about 30,000 light years across and glows at a magnitude of 8.4. Like M-77 in Cetus this galaxy is a type II Seyfert galaxy. Pierre Méchain found it in July of 1781.
Nearby there is a 12th magnitude edge-on spiral galaxy (NGC 4217) among a group of bright foreground stars. In years past using a 10″ scope, I was able to spot this galaxy before the urban sprawl erased it from my sky.


M 106 (NGC 4258)
Date and Time: 5-18-2009, 4:50-5:25 UT
Scope: 10” f/5.7 Dobsonian. 24 mm eyepiece 60x
8”x12” white sketching paper, 2H, HB, 4H graphite pencils,
blending stump, scanned and inverted
Seeing: Pickering 8/10
Transparency: Average 4/5
Faintest stars visible overhead 4.3
Temperature: 10°C (50°F)
Galaxy magnitude: 8.4
Distance: 25 mly
Location: R.A. 12h 19m
Dec. +47° 18′

Frank McCabe

Three for the Price of One

Leo composite

The Leo Triplet, M65, M66 and NGC 3628
Sketches and Details by Jeff Young

This is a large-format sketch of the Leo Triplet. The field stars and galaxy positions were drawn from observations through a Takahashi FC-100 at 67X, while the individual galaxy details are from 3 separate sketches through 16” cats (M66 and NGC3628 through my old Meade SCT at 175X, and M65 through my newer APM Mak at 150X).

I scanned the original sketches and increased the contrast, and then printed them to the same scale. The printouts were taped together with the final 12” x 16” sketch paper, and the field stars and galaxy positions were traced with the help of backlighting from a window.

Leo Trio Window

I then copied the galaxy details by hand from the original sketches.

Leo trio details

There’s a bit more noise in the final result than usual because the larger format wouldn’t fit my scanner and I had to take a picture of it with my digital camera.

The Leo Triplet (M65, M66 and NGC3628)

Daler Rowney HB pencil on Daler Rowney A3 150 gsm cartridge paper

Sketched from County Louth, Ireland


— Jeff.

A Bipolar Planetary Nebula

NGC 3699

NGC 3699, A Bipolar Planetary Nebula
Sketch by Eiji Kato, text by Frank McCabe

Sky catalogue 2000.0 incorrectly lists this planetary nebula as an emission nebula. It is located in eastern Centaurus and glows visually at about 11th magnitude. Like M-76 in the northern sky this southern sky planetary is also a bipolar planetary. The central star was very massive and is now extremely hot. A central dark rift divides this planetary as can be seen in the sketch. An interesting description of this planetary can be found here.
This object was discovered by John Herschel April 1, 1834.

Coordinates: R.A. 11hrs 27min 58sec
Dec. -59° 57′ 28″

Drawings made using a home-built 47cm f/4 Dobsonian reflector.

Sleeping Giant Stirring Again?

Proms 051209

Solar prominences on May 12, 2009
Sketch and Details by Stephen Ames Jr.

Is ole sol finally waking back up?

Crayola Cerulean for plage
Conti White pencil for filament
Crayola Aqua Green pencil for proms
white 20# paper with Aqua Green disk
I scan into photoshop and invert.

Blue skies,

Stephen Ames Jr.

Stars Like Tiny Pinpoints


M53 (NGC 5024) Globular cluster
Sketch and Details by Kiminori Ikebe, translation by Mr. Eiji Kato

This is a globular cluster southeast of Mel.111 in Coma Berenices. It is fairly large and even at 110x it is finely resolved. This is a beautiful globular cluster with individual stars appearing as pinpoints.
The core shows even brightness and stars are well resolved to the center. North of the center there is a double, but they do not seem to belong to the cluster. The outlying regions in the northern half show scattered faint stars. The southern nebulosity does not show this.

Date of observation: 2000/04/09 02:58 UT
Observing site: Makinoto, Japan
Transparency/seeing/sky darkness: 3/4/4
Instruments: 32cmDB with XL14 at 110x
Width of field: 0.6 °
Kiminori Ikebe

Space Duo

M97 and  M108

M97 “The Owl Nebula” and Galaxy M108
Sketch and Details by Janusz Krysiak


These are the planetary nebula M97 and the galaxy M108. Together are beautifully visible.

Object Name: M 97, M 108
Object Type: Planetary nebula, Galaxy
Location: Pyrnik(Poland)
Date: 14.04.2009

medium: pencil, white paper
equipment: Newton 305/1500
magnification: 68 x