My First Time Astronomy Sketching

I always look for opportunities to go out with my telescope around the new moon. The allure of the dark, clear skies was calling me last night, and having booked the following day off work, I resolved to head up to my dark-sky location for sundown and prepare for a night of stargazing.

One thing I was planning on doing for the first time last night, however, was to make my first attempt at doing drawings of my observations. I’ve prepared a sketchbook to make observations and take notes in.

I started with Jupiter.


In my initial drawing at 9:25 PM, the Great Red Spot wasn’t visible. Later in the night, approximately at 11:30, it was there! Note, I added the name of the jovian moons later when I was able to confirm their positions using Stellarium (https://stellarium.org/)

Later I did Saturn.

Again, using Stellarium, I was able to identify the moons. Titan is very bright. Here is a screenshot from Stellarium (you have to put in the date and time of the observation and the program shows you the moons positions)

Staying in Sagittarius, I moved on to M8, the Lagoon Nebula. It was my first time observing it. My drawing simply doesn’t do it justice. It is a breathtaking nebula and star-cluster.

My diagram below shows other targets I was hoping to observe. A tree got in the way of some, but I also had amazing views of the Trifid Nebula, M22 (beautiful globular cluster) NGC 6638, M28 and the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud.

Another drawing I did that I am fairly pleased with is of M27, The Dumbbell Nebula.

Again with notes of other objects I observed in ths part of the sky (Between Sagitta and Vulpecula)

My experience taught me that doing good sketches of these objects is rather time-consuming. I felt that there wasn’t enough time to do drawings that would do what I was seeing justice. I will be doing astro-sketching again in the future, but I think from now on I will select one object to do a drawing of per night out, I simply prefer to enjoy the observing.

As summer progresses, I am getting better and better views of the Andromeda galaxy. it is SPECTACULAR. It alone almost warrants buying a higher focal-length eyepiece. Temptation! Last night was also the first time I have observed M33, The Triangulum galaxy.

Very, very memorable night, August 1st 2019.

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