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A short summer night sketching session


Ed astro

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Hi all

After many months of clouds and rain with very few clear nights I just really wanted to do some visual observing again. Last Saturday the skies finally cleared, and I set up my two scopes in the backyard. I have a 150mm skywatcher reflector (f=750 mm) on a HEQ5 mount which I use for both visual and astrophotography. The other telescope is a 150mm Dob with a focal length of 1000 mm, built from scratch by an amateur. Originally it was placed on a very heavy and unwieldy equatorial mount, but I converted it to a Dob on a lightweight alt/az mount. I regularly use this second scope for visual observing while the skywatcher is in use for photography.

I have been doing astronomical sketching for about 10 years now, but this is the first time I actually post any of my sketches in this forum.
This is not the best season for deep sky observing in the Netherlands, since it does not get fully dark. And we already have too much light pollution here πŸ™„anyway, this just means it is more productive to focus on some brighter targets instead of hunting down faint fuzzies.

My plan was to first quickly grab some pre-Nova images of T Crb. Then maybe start imaging another target and do some sketching in the meantime. It would not be dark until after midnight so I decided to get a bit of sleep first. Unfortunately I slept through the alarm and woke up at 00:50… so I missed about an hour of the already short period of darkness πŸ˜…

Once I was done setting up and imaging T Crb it was already 01:45, and I did not feel like starting imaging another target, so I just put the camera away and use both scopes for visual observation. First stop was NGC6543, AKA the Cat’s Eye Nebula. With the 150mm dob at 222X I could clearly see an elongated, green nebula with two condensations at the ends. There was also a bright spot in the center: perhaps a hint of the central star.

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I then turned my attention towards Ophiuchus, which was placed prominently in the south. I viewed M14 through both of my telescopes. Finding M14 with the dob was not easy, because there were multiple bright satellites crossing the FOV of the finder while I was starhopping from beta Oph. This was one of the first times satellites actually hindered visual observing for me, and I expect this will become more common in the next few years. M14 was not that spectacular either. I could not resolve any individual stars with either of the scopes, and it remained a very diffuse, large smudge of light.

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Β 

Messier 10 was a lot better, at 126X with the Skywatcher I could aready resolve individual stars especially at the edges. The core of the cluster was partially resolved and had a very grainy appearance. With the dob at 222X I could resolve the cluster almost to the core.Β 
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Finally I viewed NGC6572, one of my favorites among the planetary nebulae. It is very small but to my eyes it has one of the most vibrant colors of any deepsky object. At low magnification it looks almost like a blue-green LED! At 126X and 222X I could see it’s elongated shape.

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After 03:00 the northeastern sky started to become quite bright so it was time to pack up and get some more sleep.

I first made rough sketches with grey pencil on white paper. The next day I used these to make the sketches above on black paper. The (brighter) stars are painted with white acrylic paint, the faintest stars, star comas and deepsky objects are drawn using white water colour pencil (or white plus green and blue in the case of the planetary nebulae).Β 

Eduard

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Nice sketches! I was almost giving up on the idea of resolving any globular cluster in my skies with my 5in Mak, but your sketch of M10 gives me hope. I will hunt it down as soon as I can!

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4 hours ago, SwiMatt said:

Nice sketches! I was almost giving up on the idea of resolving any globular cluster in my skies with my 5in Mak, but your sketch of M10 gives me hope. I will hunt it down as soon as I can!

While I would consider M10 one of the better globular clusters I have seen, it is not the best or easiest target to resolve with small telescopes. That would probably be M13. Some other nice summer globulars that I have been able to resolve at least partially with my equipment are M5, M92, M71, M3 and M22.

Good luck with observing and clear skies,

Eduard

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Hi Ed - I guess with the task of sketching particular targets you probably observe much more than the average astronomer.

Your work reminds me of a conversation between Dr Watson and Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia".

"When I hear you give your reasons," I (Watson) remarked, "the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself, though at each successive instance of your reasoning, I am baffled until you explain your process.

And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours.""Quite so," he (Holmes) answered, lighting a cigarette, and throwing himself down into an armchair. "You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear. For example, you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room.

"Frequently."

"How often?"

"Well, some hundreds of times."

"Then how many are there?"

"How many? I don't know.""Quite so! You have not observed. And yet you have seen. That is just my point. Now, I know that there are seventeen steps, because I have both seen and observed."

Well done Sherlock!

I suspect you (and your peers) see a lot more than the rest of us - imagers and visual astronomers alike!

Norris

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On 11/06/2024 at 10:24, Ed astro said:

I first made rough sketches with grey pencil on white paper. The next day I used these to make the sketches above on black paper. The (brighter) stars are painted with white acrylic paint, the faintest stars, star comas and deepsky objects are drawn using white water colour pencil (or white plus green and blue in the case of the planetary nebulae).Β 

These sketches are lovely. Thanks for sharing them and the method that you use πŸ‘† What a cool idea to use paints!

Edited by Emperor!Takahashi!
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