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Mike JW

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About Mike JW

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    Star Forming

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  1. My current push on lunar sketching continued last night. This time I wanted to have a go at the Lunar Alpine Valley. I have often observed it but never sketched it because it is hard to pick out details. I had to race against the fast approaching cloud to make a quick outline. I have not got the scale correct - the valley needs to be longer........needs a revisit. In a previous posting I was asked how I do these sketches so below the completed sketch is a pictorial guide. Feel free to ask questions but I am no expert. Mike The Lunar Alpine Valley Here's how I did it. Eyepiece notes and outline Re draw and do shadows in ink Next do shading with 4B pencil Use a blending stump to smooth the shading Initial blending completed Add dark areas and blend Adding details to the valley Pencil marks to indicate rough ground, enhancing white More rough ground added, more 4B added/blended Finally I check each area, making sure the tones are correct, that the black transitions to a dark grey, enhance any mountain tops with the white gel pen, make sure the blending goes neatly to the crater, mountain, feature - any gaps are picked up by the eye.
  2. Hi Rob, I either use a 7" Mak Cas (on an Ioptron Minitower pro) or the C11 (on a iEQ45 Pro). Your 102 Vixen is fine for lunar sketching. EPs - various but mainly Televue Delite. I use magnification between x100 to x250. Sometimes I will go higher to check out details. Sketch time - at the EP 30 to 60 mins to get the basic outline, mark in the black shadows, make any notes. I often have the laptop near by with the current moon view to ID features. Back indoors finishing sketch can take from 1 to 2 hrs. (my posted "dotty technique" took 5 or 6 hrs to do) Mainly Pencil (various grades and makes). To get black for small areas I will use black felt (0.1 to 0.5 width, and normal chunky felts for big areas). To get the smooth look I go over the shading with blending stumps. To get bright white I use a white gel pen. Scan the sketch which frequently does not look as good as the real sketch, so I will then darken it in Photoshop, sometimes scanning give a speckled effect to the black areas so I either blacken then lightly and/or use the blur facility in Photoshop. Sometimes I will improve the white mountain, crater rims with white in Photoshop. Paper - photocopy type paper in a sketch pad. My general advice - give it go, make lots of mistakes, look at what others do, give it a go, make more mistakes, get cross, break a few pencil leads but stick with it........... I am not artistic - I was thrown out of art at school. The technique I use I developed through dogged persistence. Ask me to draw a house and it would be like a child's picture....... Mike
  3. Mike JW


    I was actually planning to hunt out a nearby galaxy cluster and needed to be at a faster focal ratio so I did not want to to find Neptune and then have to add the focal reducer and refocus.......but you are right I should have gone for it at f 10. Next time....... Mike
  4. Last nights target was the Bessel Ray, in Mare Serenitatis. Actually quite difficult to pick up. Some folk say that this mysterious ray could be ejecta from Tycho, others say its source is unknown. I enjoyed teasing out its presence. Amazing that it passes straight through Crater Bessel, which came first the ray or the crater? I could not decide. Crater Bessel lacks a central peak and is about 15/16 Km across. Although my target was the ray I could not help noticing the amazing "dark snake" lying close to the terminator - really quite spooky. The low lighting really highlighted this sizeable wrinkle ridge. Also of interest was the strip of larva plain close to the edge was a definite lighter colour. Reading around apparently near the edges of Serenitatis there is a different type of rock so maybe I was picking this up? Mike
  5. Mike JW


    Neptune was close to a mag 10 star last night so I observed it visually with the C11 and then popped the camera into the focuser. 11 x 1 sec subs. Triton showed up nicely. Mike
  6. Mike JW

    Crater Burg

    On the same evening as sketching Atlas and Hercules, I wandered over to Crater Burg. I was fascinated by the multi shades of grey , something I do not recall seeing so a sketch was in order. Burg is 15 to 20 km across and is known as a complex crater despite its relative small size. It has a central peak ( are there two tops - I thought so at times but could not be sure. Professional images do indeed show twin central peaks). The small crater floor was a definite darker shade with very obvious terrace walls giving rise to the different shades. What is also interesting is that the crater rim looked a bit irregular at times. This is the second time I have sketched this crater. Last visit I saw more of the wrinkle ridges that lie around it but less detail within the crater. (Different illumination). Last nights sketch is on the left. Mike
  7. Thanks everyone for your kind comments. Mike
  8. Another clear spell saw me out there looking along the terminator just before midnight, when I stumbled across Atlas and Hercules. The shadows from Atlas indicate a very jagged crater wall made up of several major peaks. The floor of Atlas is very rough indeed. Atlas would appear to have steep terraced walls. Hercules has a much gentler appearance and has big crater within its floor. Both these craters seem sit on a raised plateau of very rough terrain - need a decent all terrain quad bike to scoot around this area as well as some serious climbing kit to reach the sharp peaks. To the right of Atlas is a much eroded elongated crater, presumably much older than Atlas and Hercules as well. Two craters near the terminator have very long shadows - I assume this means they have high walls and judging by how black the crater floors are this would seem to confirm this idea? The mountain tops in the blackness of the night gradually got dimmer over the 1.5 hours I watched this area as the sun gradually dipped below the lunar horizon...... Mike
  9. Mike JW

    Mare Crisium

    Great description Mark. Mare Crisium fascinates me as it changes under different illumination.
  10. Mike JW

    Mare Crisium

    Don't what to get stuck in a rut!! "I did a sketch of the Cleomedes, Burckardt and Geminus craters" - I thought about those. Burckardt is just on the edge of my sketch. Actually I was tempted to not draw at all because it was fascinating to watch mountain tops disappear into the black, shadows lengthen, cliffs becoming highlighted.... Mike
  11. Mike JW

    Mare Crisium

    It is not often I look at the waning moon but last night it worked out. Mare Crisium was stunning. So much detail and the wrinkle ridges very much in evidence. I enjoy seeing the technique used by Martin (Lurcher) so I gave it a go but the result is so appalling I am not prepared to post it. The technique is so different to my normal approach that I could not master it. I think I try to do too much detail. So hats off to Martin. Below is my normal technique but not as good as I would like it. Mike
  12. Hi Martin, I use to own a 500mm Dob and using under Bortle 5 skies I saw the central star just twice in M57. In a 24 " it is somewhat easier. Under dark skies than the 20 would have picked it up much more regularly. Mike (as in lunar sketching threads). PS a 500mm scope will noticeably out perform a 450mm scope but will be harder to transport. My mates 600mm blows away the 500mm but is a beast to transport.
  13. Hi Martin and Mark, Doubles fascinate me. I have made doubles data bases (excel) for all the northern constellations , based on the 2nd edition of the Cambridge Double Star Atlas. These doubles in this 2nd edition are true doubles (or multiples), rather than optical ones. Most have SAO numbers. I have attached an example which has my notes in it as well. I could supply all my lists - very happy to do this. Is the forum the correct way to do this? Andromeda doubles Cambridge.xlsx Sissy Haas book is very good. As to the best way to present a doubles sketch - there are as usual several approaches. Sometimes I will include details, other times I go for the art effect........ Mike
  14. Impressed. Never heard of the WBL galaxy groupings. Mike
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