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Luna/Antares Occultation

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#1 Special Ed  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 11:45 PM

Hi Guys,

I was fortunate to be able to observe the Moon occulting the 1st magnitude star Antares, the heart of the Scorpion. This is my first lunar sketch using Conte' crayon and black paper (and my first lunar sketch using anything in several years). I've used Conte' and black paper for solar work but never for the Moon. I didn't have time to study up on the how to's posted here--just jumped in with both feet.

I usually don't try to take in so much landscape in one drawing--it's too hard--but the seeing wasn't good enough to push the magnification any higher. I think the features are a little compressed and out of place but it's not too far off.

The main thing I learned was to make it bigger next time--it's difficult to do detail with the crayons when the scale is too small. The crayons are messy, too. I used white and gray crayons, a charcoal pencil, a Prismacolor erasable orange pencil, and a white vinyl eraser. I blended with my fingers. Hope you like it--the occultation was very cool. :cool:

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#2 daniel_h



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Posted 07 June 2009 - 04:02 AM

terrific effort -the moon is great, antares looks a little dim on my sccreen

#3 Dee


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Posted 07 June 2009 - 05:20 AM

Cool sketch there Michael , love the lunar profile. Occultations are great :-) fingers are excellent for blending ,lovely and messy but they bring a real good sense of tone and shape to the lunar surface.


#4 CarlosEH


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Posted 07 June 2009 - 05:26 AM


Congratulations on a wonderful observation of Antares along the lunar limb during the occultation. Your use of the Conte crayons and black paper is excellent. I am glad that you were able to view the event. Thank you for sharing it with us all.


#5 JayinUT


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Posted 07 June 2009 - 09:40 AM


I'm glad you captured this as my location clouded up in anticipation of yet another "spring" storm. I think the lunar profile is great. I can really visualize looking through the eyepiece in your sketch at this event. Wonderful capture.

#6 frank5817



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Posted 07 June 2009 - 09:52 AM


Wonderful sketch of the event.:waytogo:

Frank :)

#7 Tommy5



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Posted 07 June 2009 - 06:39 PM

great sketch of the event, it was cloudy here in chicagoland, it that the greenish companion star next to Antares?, very clear sketch.

#8 Special Ed  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 05:40 AM

Thanks, everyone for the very kind words. My hat is off to those of you who use this technique with excellent results. The Conte crayon/black paper combination is a great choice for lunar sketching and I want to try it again, but it will take me a lot of practice for proficiency. Graphite and charcoal pencil on white paper (what I have experience with) seems much less complicated. I will need to re-read the tutorials and The Book before my next attempt.

@ daniel--the dim appearance of Antares is probably not your monitor. It is hard (at least for me) to make color pencils appear bright on black paper--others with more experience may know how--and I chose not enhance the sketch digitally. Also, it is surprising how dim Antares (mag 1.1) appeared when it was right next to the limb of the full Moon (mag -12). :)

@T5--I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Antares's companion (it would have been following) but the seeing wouldn't allow higher magnification. What you see on the drawing is a speck of something on the paper or scanner--my bad. :p

#9 kraterkid



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Posted 10 June 2009 - 08:50 PM


Your first sketch using Conte' on black paper is just superb! :bow: :jump: :bow:

You've done a wonderful job capturing this occultation. Great work on Sinus Iridum and Mare Imbrium and Frigoris, beautiful tonality in your grays. The brightness of the highland areas is excellent. Fantastic! :waytogo:

#10 Special Ed  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 03:22 PM

Thank you very much, Rich. I haven't had the weather or much time to spend looking at the Moon through a telescope lately so I was a happy boy. The limb was interesting that night because even though the Moon looked full, it wasn't--and the terminator made the "limb" have an odd and irregular appearance. Then Antares disappeared when it was still several arcseconds away from the sunlit portion of the Moon. :cool:

I'm looking forward to having another try with the Conte' crayons and black paper.

#11 rodelaet



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Posted 13 June 2009 - 01:56 PM


This is one very beautiful sketch, having a real sense of depth. :cool: :cool: :cool:

#12 Special Ed  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 08:05 AM

Thanks, Rony--that's a nice compliment. :)

#13 markseibold


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Posted 14 June 2009 - 01:29 PM


A very nice rendering of the lunar limb and the occulting star! :bow: :bow: :bow: I like the way you represented the moons edge and the surface details.

Congratulations on your first attempts of sketching the moon. It must have been quite special to witness the occultation for you. These events will inspire us to the artistic process and to sketch.

I sympathize for your views about working in larger format. It took me awhile to commit to a large 20" X 25" sheet of black paper. (*Also, you might try using only dry hard pastel chalks if you find the oil pastels and/or crayons messy.) It also took me a while to accept all the details of the lunar surface after only doing the sun before; ie.; where to start, how much in detail to include, what to leave out due to time constraints, etc. The moon is the most challenging now for me yet also the most rewarding in many ways. There is so much surface detail, that you will never run out of an artful challenge!

I have tried to encourage others to this leap in size; yet I know it is not for everyone. *See the tutorials here where Rich Handy produces very large whole moon lunar sketches- the moon as sketched as a 12" disc. It is a commitment but with practice the rewards will pay off with much realism and detail.

Good luck; I look forward to seeing your next sketching efforts,


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#14 Special Ed  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 12:19 PM

Thank you, Mark. :)

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