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1st time under dark(er) skies = 3rd sketch - M8

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#1 Ragaisis

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 09:01 PM

I had the opportunity to spend last Saturday night under the darkest skies I've seen since I got my TV-85. I live in a white/red zone, and was able to observe from a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river into Minnesota.

I'm still a beginning observer and I spent a number of hours looking at what I _can't_ see back home - DSOs. So I got to see a number of items for the first time - M8, M22, M23, M25... Nothing was like what I imagined from reading or looking at photos.

So I took an hour and made my 3rd ever sketch. It's M8. I used a TV-85 with a 13mm Ethos eyepiece giving a 47x magnification. North is up and West is to the left. I estimated NELM at 6.5 and the skies were a bit hazy (all my maps and sketch paper was damp within 2 hours).

I'm keeping in mind that eventually I'll get better. :p

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#2 frank5817

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 08:33 AM

Chris,

It is quite a sight to see M8 in a telescope from a dark site. You have nicely captured the star field and nebulosity of this fine object.:waytogo: Sketching it really makes you look at it with a new eye. :cool:
Thanks for posting.

Frank :)

#3 rolandlinda3

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 09:41 AM

Chris, that looks very good to me. Welcome to the addictive world of sketching the beautiful heavens. Look forward to more of what you do.

#4 Ragaisis

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 09:48 AM

I'm rapidly learning things... I have to rework my set up. Sketching while balancing the pad on my lap, pen in one hand, and red flashlight in the other needs to be rethought.

I need some way to attach the light to the pad, and I need some way to dim the light. I'm holding fingers over the lens and spreading them to brighten/dim the thing. My red light is a converted mag lite (addition of red LEDs).

I might have to invest in a dimmable red light and then I saw a reference here to using a lamp gooseneck from Office Depot to attach that to the sketch pad. I'll have to find one of those.

I also need to work on drawing "rounder" stars. They looked just fine at night, but during the day my circles are pathetic. ;-)

Finally, I need to learn how to digitize better. I'm supposed to have a high tone scanner, but it didn't really capture well what I drew. The drawing is much better than the scan indicated. And I'd also like to be able to clean up the digital copy a bit. I don't currently have any tools for that on my Mac. But my wife has Photoshop. I might have to install that...

Chris

#5 Ragaisis

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 09:50 AM

BTW, it IS addictive. I want to do more right away.

But I found when I was observing that it's only one sketch a night for me. With each of the 3 that I did I took almost an hour. After that, I saw things that I _wanted_ to sketch, but I just didn't have the intestinal fortitude to go at it.

At this rate, though, if I can make myself do one each time I observe I'll consider that a victory.

#6 rolandlinda3

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 10:04 AM

All those procedural things will work out. Lighting has so many options you just have to find one that works best for you. I use 2 or three methods...depending on how big the sketch surface is. Round star marks just takes practice...and not starting too small on your paper. Also, larger paper permits you to take some leeway to make the stars relatively sized to reflect magnitude. Some folks on the forum encouraged me to start with larger paper, which it took some getting used to, but having done it, it has advantages. Also, when you scan and reduce size, some of the "bloopers" sort of disappear. Time on the scope varies dramatically but, as you found out, it can get pretty intense. On a larger target with a complex field, it can take more than one sitting, but normally for me 45 or 50 minutes is about all I can do with a significant break. Also, try short sketching (say 15 minutes) which is an excellent way of practicing quick laydown of an object and star field.

Enjoy.

#7 Jef De Wit

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 10:23 AM

Hello Ragaisis
It's a lot of fun to observe (and to draw) from a dark sky. I live in a suburban region with a lot of lightpollution (NELM 4,5). This sketch was made this summer in the south of France (much darker and the Messierobjects are higher in the sky than in my hometown). At home I observe with a 30 cm Dobson, but on holidays I take a 7 cm refractor (Meade ETX-70). Some people say that a UHC-filter doesn't work with small telescopes. But I had a nice result. Magnification x50.

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#8 Ragaisis

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:36 PM

Jef,

I think that your drawing looks like what I was TRYING to do. ;-)

Thanks for the comparison!

Chris

#9 Jef De Wit

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:31 PM

Chris
I didn't posted my drawing to correct yours! My sketch isn't perfect neither. For instance: the placement of the brightest nebula is much to far east... When I make a sketch at the eyepiece it looks like your sketch. At home I do some "make-up". If you make for instance your stars a little bit rounder it will look much nicer. And inverse the colours to white stars and black background. It looks "real".
Have more lots of fun drawing the nightsky!

#10 Ragaisis

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 06:06 PM

Let's both try again in a year. It's be interesting to see how far we come.

Chris

#11 kraterkid

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 10:33 PM

Chris and Jef,

I very much enjoyed your views of M8. They are both beautifully rendered. Don't worry, every sketch you do will bring you closer to your ideal sketch. Just keep doing it! :bow: :rainbow: :bow:

#12 JayinUT

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 12:32 AM

Chris,

I really enjoy your sketch of M8. Please keep posting your sketches as they remind me of the thrill of sketching at the eyepiece. One of the things I like about sketching is the fact that it really improves the amount of detail one is seeing at the EP.

In terms of lighting here is one solution from Jeremy Perez's site: Lighting Solution. I tried to do something similar but couldn't find the necessary resources. So at Walmart one day I found an LED lamp that has a clip on the bottom and where the light cover came off. I bought it for $10.00 LED Clip Light I have modified it (taken out the LED and replaced with red LED, put a red cap on it then a clamp to hold a light) and with the modifications it works with the clipboard I use to sketch on. If I get time this week I'll take pictures and post them up.

#13 starquake

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 01:42 AM

Some people say that a UHC-filter doesn't work with small telescopes. But I had a nice result.


We have made some comparison of filters on the Lagoon with some of my astro-friends last month. With a Baader UHC-S filter the nebula was more or less the same as without no filter at all. With a Lumicon UHC filter however, the changes in details were dramatic!

So even the filters designed for the same purpose are different, but Lumicon's UHC filter definitely helps on this nebula.

#14 TenthEnemy

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 02:18 AM

Let's both try again in a year. It's be interesting to see how far we come.

If you stick with it for a year your sketches will improve dramatically, I've even got proof. Here's my own sketches of M8 from last year and this year.

The way you can make stars round is by simply placing the tip of the pencil on the page and rotating it.

#15 Ragaisis

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 08:42 AM

Thanks to everybody for the encouraging words and the great suggestions. I'll keep sketching. I can already tell that it is improving my observing skills, challenging my patience, and giving me something physical to show for my time.

All in all, not a bad thing.

Chris






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