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M82 - 4/11/09

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#1 NerfMonkey


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Posted 12 April 2009 - 03:57 PM

Last night I was planning on doing a little galaxy hunting before the moon came up but took a look at M82 and got caught up in its beauty. I decided I needed to do a sketch of it. Here's the original sketch followed by the invert and an inverted closeup of the galaxy. Sorry the original's small, it was 72 KB at 640x480 so I resized it to half that size.

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Notable features: the dark line running up the middle of the galaxy. It wasn't as prominent as usual but still pretty easy to see. Also there was a brighter stellar point just to the right (westish) of the dark line and what looked like several very faint stellar points just to the left (eastish) of the dark line. I'm not sure what these were but they were very interesting. The two dots below the stellar point right at the center of the picture are from poking the compass through the paper, there is only supposed to be one. There also appeared to be a smaller, less prominent dark line running parallel to the first one to its left, just to the left of the little bundle of stellar points, after which there was just a very faint bit of fuzz that faded out to nothing. The right end of the galaxy was noticeably brighter overall than the left.

This sketch was made on 4/11/09 from 10:15-10:30 EDT (2:15-2:30 UT 4/12/09). I used a 12" f/5 Dob with a 5.9mm Siebert Starsplitter, giving me 254x. It was done with a simple #2 pencil and a blending stump on watercolor paper. The transparency was average to good and the seeing was about as good. The NELM near the object was a little better than 4.

The more I look at the sketch the more I wonder about that little bundle of "stars" to the east of the galaxy's center. If someone has any suggestions about what they might be I'd be really interested to hear them.

Criticism's welcome. But praise is good too. :grin:

#2 frank5817



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Posted 12 April 2009 - 07:18 PM

Mike, Nice sketch of M-82. :cool: :rainbow: On either side of the dust and debris blocking the central core you may be sketching the bright central region of the galaxy. When you stay with this galaxy for an extended period of time these bright knots become visible. First you see them by averted vision then by direct vision.

Frank :)

#3 CarlosEH



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Posted 13 April 2009 - 09:02 AM


An excellent observation of the irregular galaxy M82 in Ursa Major. You have captured the central dark lane and mottling within the galaxy very nicely. Thank you for sharing it with us all.

I have taken the liberty to adjust your excellent observation using Photoshop. I adjusted the levels of the drawing as well the brightness/contrast (by 20 %). I hope that you like it.


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#4 markseibold


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Posted 13 April 2009 - 10:48 AM


Beautiful sketch of the irregular galaxy M82. :bow: :bow: :bow: You have captured many of its subtleties quite well. I guess I have not observed it for some time, or enough to recognize the group of stars bundled near the center that you mentioned.

I was wondering what paper you used. I see that it is a white drawing paper with a notable texture and that your lighting of it seems to emit from the bottom. Carlos enhanced the contrast somewhat which helps. Lighting of the art is critical when photographing it but can be adjusted with computer enhancement to compensate for the camera exposure (depending on graphics programs) to some degree and usually easy if only in black and white image. Then there are colored pastels; a whole nother' game of art.

I look forward to seeing more of your future sketching; thanks for sharing this,


#5 JayinUT


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Posted 13 April 2009 - 12:10 PM


Nicely done. I enjoy seeing the central dark lane and the subtle details around it.

#6 NerfMonkey


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Posted 13 April 2009 - 06:50 PM

I photographed the sketch outside under bright sunlight. The paper is Strathmore cold press watercolor paper.

I recently reformatted my hard drive and only have MS Paint to work with. Thanks for redoing it in Photoshop Carlos, that looks much better.

Thanks for all the kind comments.

#7 varmint


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Posted 13 April 2009 - 11:59 PM


Nice sketch. I (personally) like seeing a bit of your "workflow" as well as the inverted image. I have never "seen" the irregularity in M82, but I'll be on the "lookout."

But then I've never tried looking at 254x. I may need to start hunting for some of these brighter galaxies at higher magnifications... :grin:

Thanks for sharing.

#8 NerfMonkey


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Posted 14 April 2009 - 12:23 PM

Jim, the dark line running up the center of the galaxy is subtle but on a night with great transparency it's quite easy to see. The first time I saw it was on one of those amazing nights and I was able to just glimpse it at 88x; at 176x it was very obvious. I think your sky is just a bit darker than mine so on a clear night you should be able to see it in your SCT.

On that same night that I first saw M82's dark lane I also quite easily saw the dark lane in NGC 3628, the faintest member of the Leo Trio (without knowing it was there). Since then I've had trouble even finding that galaxy. That's how big of a difference sky conditions can make, as I'm sure you've found out.

#9 kraterkid


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Posted 14 April 2009 - 10:26 PM

Mike, great sketch of M82! You've captured the complexity of the mottling in the central area and rendered the arms wonderfully. Excellent work!

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