#201  
Old 16-06-2012, 11:02 AM
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John, Patrick, Alex, thanks for the positive comments. I hope to keep them coming as time and weather permit. I found that I really enjoy low power, wide field sketching, just have to keep getting better at it.

Alex, it was the 'June wide field challenge' you posted on Cloudy Nights that steered me in this direction. Initially I didn't think I could do it, but decided to try anyway and I'm glad I did. In addition to NGC6231 I want to try Mel 111, the Coma Berenices Star Cluster, which I was looking at last night.

Ed D
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  #202  
Old 16-06-2012, 03:56 PM
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Mmmmm, NGC 6231...

The Scorpio OB Association, or the Table of Scorpio: What a grouping! 6 OCs & emission & dark nebulae, all within a couple of degrees! Makes me week at the knees! I've only "discovered" this tinderbox of stellar treasures recently!

If you can get hold of a really fast scope, like an 8" f/4, & an OIII filter, this area is "suck your eyeballs out of your head" stuff! It is such a detailed area.

Last edited by mental4astro; 16-06-2012 at 04:10 PM.
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  #203  
Old 02-10-2012, 02:04 PM
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The Grus Trio, plus friend

Hi all,

Paddy suggested I sketch the Grus Trio in another thread. I had actually sketched them back in April but never got around to posting it.

The Trio is actually a quartet of interacting galaxies. The fourth one lies about 30 minutes south (?) of the Trio.

I like to call this group the "Dinosaur Killers" because their average distance is calculated to be around the same time as when the dinosaurs became extinct some 65 million years ago. To me it is amazing that the photons arriving at my eyes through the eyepiece left these galaxies at around the same time that a mass extinction was happening here on Earth. I just love these coincidences. Makes history a little more tangible and palpable.

April was the only opportunity I've had in the last 12 months to sketch from a dark site, and only over three hours after the first 7 hours of the evening were overcast, .

This quartet is just wholly attainable in my 17.5", as the four lie within the FOV of my 30mm TMB Paragon. Conditions were ok, so some detail was had at 66X. The 'forth' member, NGC 7552, exhibiting the greatest amount of detail with a significantly brighter core with its bar spanning out. 7552 is one of the few barred galaxies with an easily seen bar across its face.

This a grouping I'll like to visit again individually. At higher magnification they should reveal a whole lot more structure.

Object: Grus Quartet, NGC 7552, 7582 7590 & 7599
Scope: 17.5" f/4.5 push-pull dob
Gear: 30mm TMB Paragon, 67X, approx 1deg FOV
Location: Katoomba Airfield, Oz
Date: 23rd April, 2012
Media: White soft pastel and ink on black A4 size paper
Time: approx 1hr
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (Grus Quartet, 23rd April 2012.jpg)
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  #204  
Old 02-10-2012, 09:57 PM
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Very nice indeed Alex!
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  #205  
Old 02-10-2012, 11:49 PM
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Lovely representation of a lovely group of galaxies Alex.
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  #206  
Old 10-12-2012, 08:14 AM
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Jupiter Dec 6, 2012

It's been several months since I posted here. I recently did this sketch of Jupiter's 'boring' side using my AT72ED and binoviewer from my home in Miami, Florida. That night the conditions were very good. Other than the NEB being a bit too pronounced and ruddy, and the NPC being a bit too yellow, it's pretty much what I observed at the eyepiece. The colors are there, just very subtle. The light areas of the planet are a bit off white, the SEB brownish, and the SPC has a hint of blue. There is also a bit of shading at the terminator. NOTE: The eyepieces were Astro-Tech, not Celestron as noted on the sketch.

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Last edited by Ed D; 10-12-2012 at 08:19 AM. Reason: Add info
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  #207  
Old 10-12-2012, 08:32 AM
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M33 November 17, 2012

Here's a sketch I did on our last dark sky outing at Everglades National Park on the tip of the Florida peninsula. This one was observed through my 6" f/8 with my 24mm Baader Hyperion eyepiece. That night started out so bad we almost packed it up and went home, but ended up being one of the clearest nights I can remember. Even so, the Triangulum Galaxy is DIM!!! I had to observe it for the better part of the night to grasp the detail that could be seen. It was fascinating to me.

I'm attaching the original, as well as a 'negative' of the sketch. Somehow the negative comes out brighter than what I actually observed. The core and spirals should be dimmer, but I couldn't correct it in my program without obliterating the galactic disk. The original is a good representation of what I observed at the eyepiece.

Ed D
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  #208  
Old 06-01-2013, 01:12 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Ed, my apology for not responding earlier to your beautiful sketch of M33. Things here have been very tough for observers for a very long time, and it had been getting depressing for me to come to the Obs forum when I hadn't been able to add in a contructive manner. It is staggering that you are able to see so much detail in M33 with just a 6" scope. I had been hoping to sketch M33 too, but the poor conditions killed that chance for this season. I'm glad you've been able to though!

~X~

Below is my first DSO sketch since April last year. Not my best effort, but it was good to get the blood and pencils moving again.

A perpetual favourite is M42. And it is deceptively difficult to sketch. With the lack of practice, I'm a little flat in my technique. But, it felt so good to get to do a sketch again.

This is also the first sketch and serious use of my modified 13mm Hyperion. An orthodox 13mm Hyperion displays terrible pincushion in a very fast Newtonian. I changed the Symthe field lens for an ordinary 2X barlow lens and the difference is staggering - a lovely flat FOV, tack sharp stars, and the eye relief that I was concerned about not once did it become an issue. I am most impressed now with this EP now. I was impressed at how extensive the observable nebulosity was, and from home in Sydney too. Oh so soft and faint extensions of the famous scallop shape nebula were to be seen, and the more I looked the more I saw. A very good night for Sydney skies.

Here's hoping that this coming new Moon will finally give us the long expected and awaited clear night's observing...

Object: M42 & M43
Scope: 8" f/8 push-pull dob
Gear: Modified 13mm Hyperion, 62X, OIII filter
Date: 5/1/2013
Location: Sydney, Oz
Duration: 1.5hrs
Media: White and black charcoal & ink on A4 sized black paper
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Click for full-size image (M42, Sydney, 5-1-13, 8in.jpg)
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  #209  
Old 06-01-2013, 09:03 AM
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Lovely sketches Ed, particularly M33. Lovely subtle detail.

Alex, as usual, raising the bar for us mortals. A lovely M42. I was looking in the same direction 2 nights ago thinking "I will draw that one day"!

Thanks for sharing with us guys. Look forward to seeing much more of this in 2013.

Cheers
John
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  #210  
Old 13-01-2013, 10:17 PM
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Plundering treasure from the LMC.

Thanks John for your comments,

Well, I finally got some dark sky time! What a lovely night too. I only got to do the one sketch, but I'm very happy and satisfied with just the one. I had a few targets on my "to do list", but that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

Here in IIS, fellow members Paddy and GlenC have put me on a bit of a triple quest. Paddy has a fascination with the Magellanic Clouds, GlenC with the Dunlop objects, and I with anything that is waaaaayyyy too complex, . The target became a part of this triple quest is within a rich region of the LMC that's also rich in Dunlop objects, and profuse with faint & tenuous glow. It is the area surrounding the intense open cluster NGC 1850.

Until recently, 1850 was considered to be a Globular cluster. Recent spectral analysis of it has revealed it to be a giant OC that is actually younger than any other OC in the Milky Way. The size and number of stars in it has allowed the cluster to remain compact for some time, hence its resemblance to a GC. The finest detailed charts available to me of the LMC (courtesy of Paddy's site "Clouds of Magellan") show that the approximate 0.7 degree FOV of the sketch shows 12 other named objects around 1850. I feel I've managed to see more than that due to the finer scale of my viewing.

Dunlop objects, there are 8 in total here, their "NGC" prefix being ommited: 1850 - D172, 1854 - D119, 1856 - 118, 1858 - D120, 1860 - D172, 1863 - D173, 1866 - D247, and 1870 - D123.

At first glance at the FOV, there seems to be just the four main DSO's with maybe a hint of fainter patches of glow. As time progressed with the sketch, fainter and more extended glows appeared. Almost baby breath like extensions reach out from the cluster/nebula duo 1858, giving it an almost 'spiral galaxy' look. The same, if not even fainter, extends down from 1850 itself. And oh-so-faint arcs reach out in three other parts, one of which has an accompanying arc of stars along its leading edge. Just about every time I looked back into the EP a new glowing patch appeared, "Man, another one!" the exasperated thought came to me, .

1858, again, has such a rich and complex structure too. Its "core" is darker than the surrounding glowing mass - a rich prize on its own!

Late last year I asked here in IIS for some sketching suggestions. The end result came back as a montage of the LMC, to which I agreed. BUT, no freaking way am I going to use the same EP & scope combination to do it!!!! Even I am not THAT crazy.

I've included two photos of the sketch, one of which I labled using Paddy's charts as reference, and noted what each DSO is as an OC, GC of N for nebula.

I hope you like this piece. It may not be the most dramatic, but for the observing challenges that it ended up presenting, I am very happy with it.

Object: NGC 1850 et al
Scope: 17.5" f/4.5 push-pull dob
Gear: 20mm Meade S5000 SWA, 100X, OIII & NPB filters
Date: 12th Jan. 2013
Location: Katoomba Airfield, Australia
Media: soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper.
Time: approx 2.5hrs

Edit: I've added an image of the LMC showing the area the sketch is within the galaxy. Image is a mosaic of the LMC, used with kind permission from Andrew Lockwood, aka Alocky, .
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (Plundering treasure from LMC.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (Plundering treasure from LMC - Labled.jpg)
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Last edited by mental4astro; 15-01-2013 at 02:35 AM.
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  #211  
Old 16-01-2013, 01:44 AM
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M42 revisited, with a bigger gun

Hi all,

Tonight conditions were much cooler than a few days ago. And I was in for a big surprise. While I would have prefered to have sketched M42 from a dark site last new Moon, conditions weren't condusive to using much magnification. Even at low power, M42 from a dark site is a totally different beast than when viewed from home.

As the sketch progressed, seeing improved. To the point that not only was able to seen Trapezium E & F, but other component stars that are even fainter! Truely remarkable! While I've seen Trap' E & F before, tonight I could count a further 6 additional stars around the Trapezium.

The second attached image is a close up of the Trapezium.

Tonight I added tha circle of death to the sketch to give the piece a little more context on what I could see though the eyepiec.

Object: M42 & M43
Scope: 17.5" f/4.5 push-pull dob
Gear: 13mm modified Hyperion, 153X, OIII filter
Date: 15th Jan. 2013
Location: Sydney, Australia.
Media: Soft pastel, chacoal & white ink on A4 sized black paper
Time: Approx 2.5 hrs.
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (M42 & M43 Sydney 17.5.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (M42 Sydney 17.5 Trapesium.jpg)
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  #212  
Old 16-01-2013, 11:31 AM
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Great work Alex. You certainly see a lot in the LMC with a 17.5" scope.
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  #213  
Old 16-01-2013, 11:44 AM
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Wooo-hoo Alex! What a set of stunners. M42 - stunning as all your sketches are. But the LMC sketch - what a joy to this obsessed observer. I love the way you've brought out all the subtleties of these clusters. Ripper, ripper, ripper!!!
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  #214  
Old 16-01-2013, 12:55 PM
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Well done Alex! Really like the way you've presented the LMC sketch, and the M42 re-visited is a corker.

I started my first drawing session at the eyepiece a few nights ago. I found it difficult to transfer what I saw in the eyepiece to the drawing pad on my knee. I seemed to lose the image in my 'minds eye' by the time I left the EP to look at the pad. There is a finite time for my eyes to adjust from EP to pad, and in that time I lose the detail that I'm seeing.

I guess it's all down to getting more experience and time doing this. What sort of lighting do you use - a pad clip-on, or head-mounted red LED type? I was using a hand-held red LED torch.

These questions are probably answered in previous discussions, so I will go and review what has been posted earlier.

Cheers
John
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:11 AM
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Hooray! A comet!

Hi all,

Well, I've finally bagged my first comet since Halley's so long ago.

I too have been inspired by the current thread on it. Particularly the "Freecharts" link that Suzy provided with its locator charts and table of nightly positions. The latter was invaluble as the charts did not cover tonight's position.

Thanks Suzy!

Conditions were pretty good considering Lemmon isn't too high in the sky. An oh-so-faint hint of a tail though did come and go. I included its trace detection on a couple of the "time lapse" sketches as I couldn't quite make it out by the third rendition.

I have to say that I am most impressed with my 5mm Hyperion. Of all the one's I've tried, the 5mm is the only one that's been good in my fast Newt's. Tonight I pushed it to 320X with an ED barlow and it gave me such a lovely image.

The time lapse show's Lemmon's position over just a tick more than an hour going from right to left.

Object: Comet Lemmon
Scope: 8" f/4 push-pull dob
Gear: 5mm Hyperion plus 2X ED barlow, 320X
Date: 9th Jan., 2013
Location: Sydney, Oz
Duration: time lapse of just over 1hr, 9:15pm to 10:30pm local time.
Media: Soft pastel on A4 size black paper.

approx TFOV: 11'
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Click for full-size image (Comet Lemmon 8th Jan '13.jpg)
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Last edited by mental4astro; 07-02-2013 at 08:52 AM. Reason: more info
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  #216  
Old 08-02-2013, 06:21 AM
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Awesome work Alex,

I really like the timelapse, you couldeven make an animated sketch with that, not that I know how.

I wonder if colour is visible in very large apertures I have yet to try with the 12'' dob, I have just observed with binos.

Thanks for posting
Orestis
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  #217  
Old 15-02-2013, 11:53 PM
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Thanks Orestis. Colour? I think I could make out a faint hint of bluey-green. Would need a dark site to confirm.

Tonight's close encounter of Comet Lemmon and 47 Tuc was an opportunity that couldn't go by unviewed. I'm sure that the photophiles will be busy tonight too.

I went a bit stir crazy tonight too. I set up two scopes tonight knowing that with a larger aperture the duo wouldn't be possible to view at the same time. So I set up my 8" f/4 dob and my 80mm f/5 refractor.

The first sketch is with the 8" at 80X using a 10m XW. Not only was the comet brighter than I saw last week, but its tail was also easier to tease out. It's a long thin ribbon that extends out from the nucleus, the coma and hydrogen cloud giving the comet a big 'head'.

BEHOLD! THE MIGHTY SMALL APERTURE.

I was in for a double surprise with the 80mm refractor. I used a 36mm Aspheric Hyperion here as it gives me a full 6degree TFOV - massive! Here, the advantage of a small aperture over a large one in a heavily light polluted enviroment became evident. A large aperture makes the background sky glow too intense in urban areas, making low power a difficult proposition. Yet, a smaller aperture isn't affected the same way, making low power more practical. The result here was that at 11X I could also make out the tail.

The second surprise was that just squeezing into the FOV is the smaller globular cluster NGC 362. Sadly, the SMC that would be in the FOV is just overwhelmed by the Sky Glow, even in a small scope.

In the second sketch, Lemmon is at the lower right, 47 Tuc is in the centre, and 362 is in the top left.

Both sketches took about 1/2 hr to complete.

Mental.
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Old 21-02-2013, 12:35 PM
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Great sketches Alex. I love the second one seeing the three together.
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  #219  
Old 13-03-2013, 09:18 PM
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Lovely indeed Alex!

Cheers,
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  #220  
Old 24-03-2013, 06:02 AM
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Alex, great sketches. I especially like the one of Lemmon/47 Tuc/362.

Ed D
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