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A few Messiers


Talitha
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November's been mostly cloudy but there were a few nights that were absolutely awesome (please don't hate me :headbang: ).

During the 'human-friendly' seasons of the year, i observe from the Starpad, which is a small fenced area on the eastern half of my land... these sketches were some of the last ones done there before i closed it down for the year. The temps were already dropping to about -6C at night, and everything's been brought back to the house for the winter. So, i'll be observing from the east deck from now until after the Spring thaw, which can be anytime during March or April... hopefully not as late as May but it's been known to happen.

I'd already sketched these three Messiers in the past but wanted to get them again. M15 definitely needed more magnification than the previous sketch. M45 and M42 had been done with the 80ST but i wanted to redo them with the new-ish 120ST which is also an f/5 but has more aperture.

Thanks for looking.

:D

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Carol,

These sketches are wonderful and an excellent example of what can be achieved with meager pencil and paper (for less than meager results!) - a great record of your observations.

Your M15 just looks like I could reach out and touch it :headbang:

Really pleased you had some good conditions, as you've probably heard the weather has been dire over here in the UK. Here's to a better December :D

Thanks for sharing :D

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Wonderful sketches !! I'm in awe of M15...that really is a gem of a draw. I havn't tried a globular cluster for a while - a bit scared of them to be honest in terms of getting them down on paper. I did do M13 once...a long time ago...but that was an embarrasing effort :headbang:

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Thank you! :headbang: Yes i've been reading about your weather.. here's hoping things improve quickly. As the saying goes, 'enough is enough'. :D

Those globular clusters certainly are beautiful, aren't they? That's why i wanted to go back and re-do M15.. the first one was a mere smudge on the paper, drawn before i tried the 'stippling' technique used by some of the old-time lunar sketchers.

TBH resolved globulars are a lot easier than you'd think, the trick is in your choice of pencils. Usually the darkest pencil in my DSO sketches is a 'B', used for very bright stars like those in M45, for example. But an 9B was used for the core of M15. It's the darkest available and is the one i use for the blackest shadows in lunar sketches. (Pencils are either hard [H] or black and are classed by number... the higher the number, the harder or blacker the pencil.)

Radiating outwards from the core, i gradually dimmed things down by using a 6B, 4B, 2B, B, and finally an HB for the outermost stars. When drawing stars in a regular DSO, you draw a small dot using circular motions. But there are so many stars in a resolved globular, that a pin-dot of graphite is all you need. These pin-dots of graphite are applied by repeatedly tapping the pencil tip onto the paper (stippling).

Basically you begin at the core with a very sharp 9B and lightly tap the paper about 5-10 times, very close together but not close enough to make it look like one big 9B dot. The 9B graphite is extremely soft, so you won't need much pressure in tapping. Then switch to progressively harder pencils as you move outward, and pretty soon you're done. Invert the image to a negative when scanning, and you'll see a brilliantly glowing globular cluster that looks three dimensional.

Give it a try, it's really not that difficult. :D

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Those are really good Carol, I hope you have a lot more great, but not too cold, nights this winter.

A question I've always felt too silly to ask really, but in M45, which stars make up the "seven sisters"? The six are obvious, it's the seventh that confuses me?

Cheers

Tim

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Thanks, Tim. :headbang: (Sorry about the delay.. national holiday yesterday.) Yeah, i hope there aren't too many cold snaps this winter. When the Arctic cold blasts down out of Canada the sky's beautiful but the temps are deadly.

I don't know which of the Seven Sisters you're missing. They're Alcyone, Merope, Electra, Celaeno, Maia, Taygeta, Asterope.

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Thanks, Martin and Rob. :headbang:

There's no such thing as a stupid question, Martin. :D My sketches are all drawn in 3" circles representing the eyepiece's field of view, so there's no cropping needed. If the target is one which needs a lot of magnification, the f/10 8" SCT is used, which takes me in real close and gives a narrow fov.

If the target is large and needs a wider fov, either the 120ST or 80ST is used depending on how much aperture is needed (they're both f/5 rich field refractors).

Rob, M42 took a total of about 90 minutes over 2 nights, most of which was done the first night, 7 Nov. There was a 67 percent illuminated waning gibbous Moon which was 14 degrees above the horizon and TBH i wasn't sure how much of M42 would be visible. Basically all i expected to be able to do was draw my anchor stars and get a bit of the nebulosity. But it was surprising how much was seen through the moonwash, and i was able to get most of the sketch in about 60 minutes during that first session. It was completed in about 30 more minutes on 10 Nov with the addition of fainter stars and extentions of the outer nebulosity.

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Your sketches are wonderful and very realistic. I would be a happy man if mine ware half as good as yours. I'm trying to perfect them till I can find the courage to post some here.

I have a suggestion to make: You should gather some of you best sketches of the most famous DSOs and make a primer explaining what people will see trough a scope and the diference between what you can see and what images show.

I think lots of new comers buy telescopes with the images in mind, while this sketches show what you can actually see when you look through a telescope.

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Thanks Paulo. :icon_eek: Please feel free to share your observations with us, we'd love to see them. Astrosketching is an acquired skill which you learn, and then improve with practice. It's not an inborn talent.. no one in my family is an artist and i've never had any lessons. Trust me, if i can do this anyone can. :mad:

Actually, a primer (of sorts) was published in the May 2009 issue of Sky at Night magazine. Staff member Will Gater did a Hubble spread on 10 specific objects, and included my sketches to illustrate what the targets look like through the eyepiece. I hope it made new Amateurs aware that they wouldn't see glorious color images when looking through the eyepiece. :hello2:

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Fantastic sketches! I saw the Orion nebula for the first time the other night with my new scope although observation wasn't great due to the weather. I'm looking forward to seeing M15 and the Pleiades! They're priority on my list! :icon_eek:

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Great sketches M42 is my fav of these 3

you must have a good eye a a delicate touch

you have(and the new dob) tempted me to have a go again last night as I did try to sketch many years ago

I need a bit more practice and my pencils back off Helen

and I did find that sketching helped me see more

does that make sense?

Please more

Steve

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Thanks Steve. :icon_eek: You're absolutely right, sketching helps us to see more. We need to really study an object in order to sketch it, and the more time we spend studying it, the more things we notice.

Btw, when you begin sketching again :mad: try drawing nebulosities with a blending stump to get the 'delicate touch' seen in the M42 sketch. It's a technique of coating the tip of a blending stump with graphite and then using the stump as a pencil to apply the nebulosity to the paper. It takes some pre-scope practice to get used to the technique, and a bit longer at the eyepiece because you can't apply too much at once, but to me it's worth the effort because it creates such a soft, smoky look.

(an embarrassingly belated) Thank you to Phil. :hello2: Your lovely comment was apparently entered while i was replying to Paulo, and i missed seeing it till just now. My apologies, and please do try sketching some globulars.. honestly, they're not as difficult as they look.

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