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Saturn in mid-February 2009

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#1 frank5817

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 02:46 AM

While I was awaiting the waning gibbous moon to reach a higher position in my southern sky, I decided to try my hand at a Saturn sketch. With the rings nearly edge on I find that the ring system is much less intimidating to portray. To begin the sketch I used a Conte' crayon and circular compass to draw a faint circle on black paper. I then grabbed an old mechanical drawing tool called a French curve to convert the circle into an ellipse after plotting a few points to create an equatorial bulge. When the shape looked alright for the bulging globe, I sketched the rings and then the globe while looking through a 6 mm eyepiece (magnification 241x). Saturn usually give me trouble while sketching, so after 15 minutes I found myself making too many errors so I erased the sketch and started over on the reverse side of the paper. The second attempt went better and after an hour I considered the planet sketch finished. I made a note of the positions of the moons I could see and added Tethys (10.3) to the west of the planet and Enceladus (11.9) viewed intermittently and Dione (10.5) to the east. Titan and Rhea were visible in the eyepiece at low power but beyond the margins of the sketch. The planets equatorial zone and the north and south temperate zones were bright and distinct. The darker regions over the remainder of the disk were less distinct through the polarizing filter I was using.

Sketching:

For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 7”x 9”, and a white Conte’pastel pencil and Conte' crayons. The globe of Saturn is about 2.5” inches in diameter and was done using sharpened pieces of Conte' crayon. Brightness was slightly decreased (-3) and contrast increased (+3) after scanning using Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 Dobsonian and 6mm eyepiece 241x, single polarizing filter
Date: 2-13-2009 5:25 – 6:45 UT
Temperature: -2°C (29°F)
clear, calm
Seeing: Pickering 6.0


Frank McCabe :)

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#2 cildarith

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 12:25 PM

Excellent work, Frank! :waytogo:

#3 rodelaet

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 12:55 PM

A beautiful sketch, Frank! :bow: :rainbow: :bow:
Great surface detail and fine rendering of the rings.

I can imagine how difficult such a sketch is. :mad:

I like how you tackled the ellips problem. (How many ways are there to draw a fine ellips on paper, btw?)

Amazing that you could discern Enceladus (with the filter?) with such a bright planet nearby. Is that not proof of great markmanship and a descent sky?
How deep could you go on deep sky under the same conditions (no planet in the view, I mean)

#4 JayinUT

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 01:23 PM

Frank,

Nicely done. May I ask how you put your cardinal compass points in?

#5 markseibold

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 02:54 PM

Frank

Beautiful skech :bow: :bow: :bow: I glanced at Saturn the other night while at the moon. Your sketch is about exactly as I observed it at 200X. I could see a couple other moons aside from Titan but in a little differing positions.

I look forward to your next sketch,

Mark

#6 frank5817

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 05:23 PM

Eric, Rony, Jay and Mark:

I thank each of you for your kind remarks.:thanx:
-----
Rony- Actually I could not see much surface detail at all until I added the polarizing filter. I tried some other filters too but none worked any better. I was seeing Enceladus (without the filter) intermittently but when I moved the globe out of the field of view I could see it fine (the rings nearly edge-on helps enormously). The surface detail has too much contrast in my sketch, it looked OK outside when I was sketching it in dim light but indoors it came out as you see it here. My hat is always off to planet sketchers,I find it daunting but after a while I always want to try again ("very hard for me"). Thinking about using a French curve actually motivated me to try this sketch. Stars I can see to mag 14.0 near the zenith with the 10" scope, extended objects must be quite a bit brighter, I have trouble seeing M101 at culmination for example.
---
Jay- I just put the sketch against a black background in Microsoft Paint and draw it in. see below

Frank :)

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#7 4Texans

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 12:32 AM

Frank, beautiful sketch.

#8 Tommy5

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 01:28 AM

great Saturn sketch,saturn is difficult to do without a template,Sol Robbins posted one a few months ago and i think alpo also has one. Saturns atmosphere is miore subtle and has less contrast then jup because it is dimmer and it has an actual layer of haze above the colored clouds, great sketch good idea expanding your sketching horizons to the planetary style, i think the moon is more diifficult then are planets but everyones different, thanks again for posting.

#9 frank5817

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 03:24 AM

4Texans and Tommy5,

Thank you both for the kind words. :thanx:
---
T5,
I hope you got a chance to observe tonight. The atmosphere has been unusually steady and Saturn looks much better than 2 nights ago. I was able to use a 4mm eyepiece to good advantage. Saturns moons are very easy to see under these edge-on ring days. I could easily see Dione just beyond the ring to the east and off the west side of the ring Enceladus, Tethys, Rhea and Titan were visible and I tried to pick out Mimas (13th mag.) very near the ring to the west but couldn't bring it in this time.

Frank :)

#10 CarlosEH

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 11:29 AM

Frank,

Excellent observation of Saturn and some it's satellites. You have recorded the bands across the globe nicely. Thank you for sharing it with us all.

Carlos

#11 frank5817

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 06:03 PM

Carlos,

Thank you. :thanx: I have renewed respect and admiration for all your excellent planet drawings, not an easy task in any media.

Frank :)

#12 Tom Machtemes

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 02:32 PM

Frank,

Nice sketch of Saturn.

:thanx:

Tom

#13 CarlosEH

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 05:20 AM

Frank,

Thank you for the compliment. I look forward to your future observations of the Moon, planets, and DSO's.

Carlos






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