The evening was a classic early spring night for Virginia that was complete with rushing clouds and gusty winds that follow a front passage. Temperatures were dropping fast. Patches of clear sky showed twinkling stars, which is a sure sign of atmospheric instability. It took 20 minutes to align the 8 inch telescope because key stars kept disappearing in cloud cover. I had chosen a crater to sketch on the day-4 crescent moon by studying a screen that was fed an image from an astro-video camera (1/6000 sec exposure). The image was so wavy that lunar details were hard to see. I picked up pastels to start and clouds obliterated the view. I quickly looked out of the observatory pod to see a beautiful view as the heavy cloud banks passed the setting moon. I shifted paper quickly and did a quick eyes-only sketch. After 15 minutes of work the clouds covered the moon. I took a break for just a few seconds. The clouds cleared in the west long enough to do a quick return to the screen image for a sketch, but the sky turbulence was so bad the craters could not be sketched. Mare Crisium, however, was beautiful at a magnification of 254X, so I changed targets again. The poor conditions forced me to look at overall features, which were marked by indistinct mottled topography around its edges. The scene became the second sketch. Incoming clouds deteriorated the image after 35 minutes that forced the end to the session.
The first sketch: