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Mars and the Beehive

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#1 Special Ed

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 09:39 PM

Hi Everyone,

The clouds parted over West Virginia the other night allowing me to view Mars shortly after it passed in front of Messier 44, the Beehive.

I made this widefield sketch in order to capture the star cluster and its two attendants, Asellus Borealis--the Northern A$$ and Asellus Australis, the Southern A$$. In Galileo's time (about 180 years before Charles Messier catalogued it), M44 was known as Praesepe, the manger, where the Aselli ate their hay.

Praesepe was one of the objects that Galileo scrutinized with his new telescopes, discovering that it was a star cluster and not a nebula or cloud as previously thought. One of his scopes had about 15x, although he didn't enjoy nearly the field of view that I had with my modern binoculars.

I made this sketch in the field with color pencils on black paper. I couldn't give Mars the luminous appearance that I observed using color pencils on black paper, so I tweaked it a little digitally.

I am dedicating this drawing to a friend who passed away not long ago. Eric realized his dreams of astronomy by becoming an operator of the 100 meter radio telescope at Green Bank, West Virginia.

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#2 JayKSC

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 10:16 PM

Your digital "tweaking" seems to have worked! Mars does look to be visiting M44 with its ruddy glow. Great sketch and thank you for sharing; it's a beautiful dedication to a friend now passed.

- Jay
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#3 frank5817

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 01:36 AM

Michael,

Beautiful sketch of the pair and a wonderful sketch to dedicate to the memory of your friend. :bow: :rainbow:

Frank :)

#4 Jim Rosenstock

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 02:57 AM

Well done Sir. A beautiful tribute.

Congratulations and condolences.

Jim

#5 Jef De Wit

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 06:02 AM

Hi Michael
Here in Belgium we missed completely the passage due to bad weather :bawling: Thanks to your beautifull sketch I saw the passage anyway!

#6 rookie

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 08:37 AM

Very nice, thanks for posting.

#7 markseibold

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 10:17 AM

Michael

Very nice sketch :bow: :bow: :bow: Sorry that I missed the Mars conjunction with the Beehive cluster.

Thanks for the early history of Galileo. You have also made a great respectful memory for your friends passing.

Mark

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#8 Mateyhv

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 10:29 AM

Beautiful sketch! Even I saw Mars a month ago I didnt realize it should pass in front of M44. You are lucky to have seen it.

After retrograde motion Mars should pass again next to M44 on 3 april 2010 this time 47 minutes north of it but one more time between Asellus Borealis and Asellus Australis.

#9 Shannon s

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 11:39 AM

Great Sketch Michael. :bow: :bow: :bow:

#10 JayinUT

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 11:41 AM

Michael,

Great sketch and I like the combination of techniques uses. A wonderful memorial to your friend. Thanks for sharing the history of Galileo related to the Beehive as Mark mentioned.

#11 Special Ed

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 06:39 PM

Thanks to everyone for the very kind words. I am glad you feel this is a fitting tribute for Eric.

In this International Year of Astronomy 2009 recognizing Galileo's contributions, an opportunity to observe The Beehive with Mars is heaven-sent. Praesepe, as it was known in Galileo's time, has been a naked eye object since at least the Greeks (if your skies are dark enough), but looks like a fuzzy patch. Imagine Galileo's surprise when he turned his primitive telescope on it and saw a field of stars.

Regards to all.

#12 Tommy5

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 06:27 PM

great sketch of this cool cluster and mars moving past it thanks for sharing.

#13 nunciusaustralis

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 07:06 PM

Tnks. I lost the alignment. Great sketch. :bow: :bawling:

#14 Jef De Wit

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 10:33 AM

Michael
Congratulations with your ASOD!

#15 Special Ed

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 10:34 PM

T5 and Nuncius, thanks. It was a beautiful, warm, and lately rare clear night, so the pleasure was mine.

Michael
Congratulations with your ASOD!


Thanks, Jef. It's an honor to be accepted by ASOD.

#16 kraterkid

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 08:37 AM

Michael,

Superb sketch and a very fitting tribute to your friend Eric. I was very happy to post it to ASOD and look forward to your future submissions. Also, I like your choice of text colors, very seasonal! :D

#17 Special Ed

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 12:15 PM

Thanks for the appreciation, Rich. :)

#18 CarlosEH

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 08:23 PM

Michael,

An excellent observation of Mars among the Beehive Cluster (M44 or Praesepe). Mars appears as a red jewel among a treasure chest of white jewels. Your observation is a fitting tribute to your friend that passed away. He is now able to view all of the wonders of the universe.

I was able to view Mars and the Beehive Cluster on October 30, 2009 (09:45 U.T.) using my Oberwerk 11 x 56 mm binoculars. Mars appeared as a reddish-orange beacon among the swarm of stars of the Beehive Cluster. A digital image produced using Pixelmator.

The best of luck in your future observations.

Carlos

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#19 frank5817

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 11:49 PM

Carlos,

Beautiful sketch. :bow: I am glad you captured this view as well.
I missed it due to poor weather. One of the things I like so much about this forum is that someone always seems to capture those great sketching opportunities I miss. So I actually don't miss them but I see them here.
Thanks for this one Carlos :cool:

Frank :)

#20 Tommy5

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 12:44 AM

Very sharp Mars and the beehive thanks for posting.

#21 Jef De Wit

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 10:56 AM

Carlos
Nice sketch. You draw an enormous quantity of fine stars! How much time you spend sketching?

#22 Special Ed

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 12:13 PM

Carlos,

Thank you gor your kind comments and thanks also for including your very attractive digital rendering. :)

#23 CarlosEH

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 03:32 PM

Frank, Jef, Michael, and Tommy

Thank you for your kind compliments on my Mars and Beehive Cluster conjunction. It was striking to see the red planet among the beautiful pattern of the Beehive Cluster. I am glad that some of you were able to view the event.

Jef- It takes approximately fifteen to twenty minutes to place the brighter stars in position in the rendering. The smaller stars are placed over a period of another twenty to thirty minutes. This time scale varies according to the complexity of the object being rendered.

Carlos

#24 niteskystargazer

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 11:11 AM

Special Ed,

A very nice sketch, I like it.

:thanx:,

Tom

#25 Special Ed

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 04:11 PM

Tom,
Thank you very much and welcome to CN. I hope you will share your sketches and reports with us here. :)






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