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M42/ M43 Orion Nebula and Its Companion

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#1 frank5817



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Posted 15 February 2009 - 07:18 PM

Everyone that has taken a telescope or pair of binoculars outdoors to view the heavens on a clear winter night in the northern hemisphere has seen the Orion nebula. It is that fuzzy star in the middle of the hunter’s sword. M42 the “Great nebula” is a stellar nursery and emission nebula that shines as bright as a 4th magnitude star while its smaller companion on the other side of the intervening obscuring dust is M43 shining at 9th magnitude. Soon the nebula will be past the south meridian point before it is fully dark. So now is the time to take your last good looks before it’s too late; spring will be here soon.
On this night I decided it was time to try and make a sketch of this winter gem. I have made a few crude sketches in the past and know this is a tough target to capture as it appears in the eyepiece. I started by sketching the stars and lightly outlining the bright parts of the nebula with a 2H pencil. After much erasing and repositioning of stars I shaded in the bright to faint nebula gradually until it looked to be a reasonable match to the eyepiece view. After two and a half hours I consider the sketch finished. Averted vision helped with the outer faint regions.
It was a slow process but a fun challenge at the same time.


Date and Time: 2-15-2009, 1:10-3:20 UT
Scope: 10” f/5.7 Dobsonian. 21mm Hyperion eyepiece 69x
8”x12” white CCP sketching paper, 2H, B, 2B graphite pencils, blending stump, erasers, scanned and inverted, contrast and brightness were slightly adjusted at the scanner
Temperature: -3 °C (26 °F), calm
Seeing: very good Pickering 8/10
Transparency: good 3/5

Frank McCabe :)

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#2 JayinUT


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Posted 15 February 2009 - 07:45 PM


I love the depth and perception of the sketch. It really captures the feel of this wonderful winter object. I sure hope that I can have a good night soon to give it one last very good look before spring arrives.

#3 Tom Machtemes

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 11:24 AM


:thanx: for the nice sketch. I'm looking forward for your next ones.



#4 Tommy5



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Posted 16 February 2009 - 11:30 AM

great Orion neb sketch, you really captured the "wings" very well.

#5 rodelaet



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Posted 16 February 2009 - 04:04 PM


You finally did it! This is great news. :jump:
Now I'm really stunned by this sketch of the flying bat.
The way that you portrayed the delicate whisps of dust and gas within the nebula is simply outstanding. :bow: :rainbow: :bow:
These two and a half hour did pay off, Frank.
This is one of your best deep-sky sketches, very enjoyable, and ready to be framed on the wall.
And I'm really glad that you captured M42 for us, Frank. :D

#6 frank5817



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Posted 16 February 2009 - 08:28 PM

Jay, Tom, Tommy5 and Rony,

Thank you all much. :thanx:
I was waiting for the right night to give the Orion nebula a shot. I think I would like to try this again in the future and spread it out over several nights when Orion is high in the south.
Thanks for your words. I was motivated by your prompt. Deep sky sketching is more difficult than lunar sketching. Just putting the stars in is tough. I used lower light levels while sketching and stopped before I began to shade too heavily.

Frank :)

#7 rolandlinda3



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Posted 17 February 2009 - 10:45 PM

Nice sketch, Frank. It's easier than lunar sketching? Sometimes a lunar scene just stops me cold it is so complex yet you tackle those scenes!


#8 frank5817



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Posted 17 February 2009 - 11:24 PM


I do feel that I come closer to what I see in a lunar sketch and I can use as much light as I need to complete it. With the deep sky sketching I feel I always need more light, tend to lose the realism in the dark and in general feel less confident. Thank you for your positive feedback. :)

Frank :)

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