Under a veil of fog a brush of stardust, a Leonid
Posted 18 November 2009 - 10:08 PM
Through a shifting veil of fog, a fast brush of golden stardust appears:
Inspired by seeing a few photo images in the web, we missed the peak ZHR hour here in the Northwest Oregon area due to heavy clouds and rain on Monday night ~ Tuesday morning November 17th. It was 3:30 AM PST time, now on the 18th locally and the rain had stopped for awhile. I decided to step outside and noticed a brief clearing overhead with Leo perched atop the house to the east, a canopy of tall fir trees narrowed my view to a small window overhead at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains 30 miles east of Portland, I could see Mars to the south through the treetops and Capella, Auriga and the Pleiades to the west.
After 15 minutes, my patience began to wear thin as a veil of low clouds and fog began to form to inhibit the view again; just then at 3:43 AM PST a nice Leonid's meteor streaked from the Radiant Point rushing west, across through Ursa Major, Lynx, finally fading out just before reaching Capella; its brightest part visibly for about 30 degrees. Its train followed for a split second; very fast as if someone painted with a brush of dull golden stardust quickly, it was over. I estimated its magnitude at maybe -1st to +1st.
Indelible in my minds eye, I decided to rush into the house and render this pastel impression of the canopy sky overhead surrounded by the narrow window of high fir trees with fast forming fog onto a 19â€ X 25â€ sheet of black Strathmore Artagain pastel paper with use of various pastel chalks. A second close-up sketch was inspired as I had just come in from outside and looked at Matthews sketch here in CN, it was almost identical to what I just observed.
So I rendered another pastel, a close-up on Canson heavily toothed-textured 19â€ X 24â€ indigo blue pastel paper to show the broken scattering of trailed meteor dust. (Second following window, image.) It was a scrap, as I used the back of a previous unfinished sketch of the moon, so the paper has pre-drawn circles, that now appear as light refractions? Thatâ€™s my eyes in tears of joy as I watched the meteor and its trailing golden dust. (;
Posted 18 November 2009 - 10:14 PM
The second image, a close-up of a Leonid meteor this morning at 3:43 AM PST from 30 miles east of Portland in the Cascade Mountain foothills near Sandy Oregon.
Rendering is on 19" X 24" indigo blue Canson heavily toothed pastel paper with use of various pastel soft dry chalks and hard pastel pencils.
My CN Gallery
Posted 19 November 2009 - 12:32 AM
These two sketches are really beautiful.
Posted 20 November 2009 - 06:59 AM
In a desperate need to sketch with almost constant clouds and rain, I was stunned that we had a cloud break if only for a half hour and I lucked out on the timing to walk out and see a resonably impressive Leonid Meteor.
So now you all get to see what I have for a sky- It is nearly canopied by tall Douglas Firs here on the west slopes or foothills of the Cascade Mountains.
I am also surprized that no one here has mentioned the huge fireball (or asteroid?) that fell over the Western US and into Western Utah the night before last night- Tuesday night just before midnight. Did you or anyone see the TV news from Utah? Jay in Utah? Spaceweather ran many video links to their front page yesterday. I think I saw the daylight flash from it here in Oregon at just before or was it after midnight? as they say it streamed from west to east.
Posted 20 November 2009 - 12:55 PM
Posted 21 November 2009 - 05:55 AM
Yes I saw that film on one of the news sites reports linked, I think through Spaceweather.
Here was a lengthy report from local TV in Utah>
I wished that I could have been there. I have seen several large and bright fireballs over the years. In 1999, 2000, 2001 I was with a small portion of our Portland Rose City Astronomers members about 100 miles east of Portland on the peak Leonidâ€™s nights. Over those few peak year activities, we witnessed some fireballs that exploded and left smoke trains hanging, lingering, twisting-distorting for up to a half hour. I never got a photo of those. I cannot remember the year now; I think it was 2001 that I drove again to that location over 100 miles east of Portland with my wife and two motion film making students from PSU. We arrived in the central Oregon desert after an extra hour drive to ultra-dark skies. [See the Earth at Night images on web- The largest Darkest place in The US is here in Central Oregon.] The temperatures were below freezing, but at 4 AM the sky began to fall like a heavy rain; not that of water but fire, as dozens per second were observed for bursts on and off again like a fireworks grand finaleâ€™. We were in utter awe. I have never seen anything thing like before that or again [yet.]
PS: I actually saw the brightest fireball that I have ever witnesses, just a month ago from Central Oregon near Redmond. I produced a rough pastel of that, as I was so impressed with it; it lit up the room through the window of the place I was staying as if almost like daylight. I could actually see it through a screen blinds pulled over the large living room windows that span from the floor to the ceiling. It looked like it actually came down to the ground - This was the rough pastel sketch that I produced then, but never really finished it- My usual 19" X 25" format but on a once before used paper from Italy that is 40% cotton fiber; then the actual scene photographed in daylight follows below the next window here >
Posted 21 November 2009 - 05:57 AM
Actual daylight photo out the condominium living room that I stayed in at the high desert area of Redmond Oregon in late September 2009 for two weeks.
Posted 21 November 2009 - 11:27 PM
Posted 22 November 2009 - 03:07 AM
Thank you for the kind words. I do not feel that I have really done a meaningful work since early August. That was the near whole moon rising in golden smog from atop Mt. Tabor in central Portland. * I believe that is in page one of my gallery. I just re-photographed it a few weeks ago and reposted it as a stereo version which I then rediscovered all my recent art with a new camera to record it.
I will try to improve in the future. I just picked up a copy if Benedetto Croce's Aesthetic- the great modern treatise on the theory of Art, containing both the Theory of Aesthetic and History of Aesthetic c 1909.
When I read the definition of beauty accidentally as I found the book accidentally tonight in the largest book store in America and opened right to that page accidentally of a 500 page book (by the way, this happens quite often to me and I do not know why,) I was thoroughly humbled.
There is much work to be done, so why do I procrastinate so easily? . . .
Posted 23 November 2009 - 05:54 PM
Beautiful renderings of spectacular Leonids and a very impressive fireball. Meteor trails are always fun to observe but fireballs are truly a sight to behold. Thank you for sharing them with us all.
Posted 24 November 2009 - 09:30 AM
Very beautiful drawings. I like how you chose that textured Canson paper to help you render the irregularities in the trail of your meteor closeup--a good example of how thinking about what media to use can help us with the finished product.
Posted 26 November 2009 - 05:54 AM
Carlos- I forgot to mention that you reminded me that my sight of that Leonid meteor was quite diminutive compared to the fireball I saw from Central Oregon last September, which I also displayed as another image above here. [I never really got that sketch as I had intended.] The two events were entirely different. When that fireball that came down in September, I did not believe at first. I actually thought in the first seconds after it descended, that surely some kid out in front of the resort condominium where I was staying, had thrown a large 4th of July sparkler over the house coming down over the north view window. It was twisting in a spiral approximately 4 ~ 5 degrees wide as it came down in a corkscrew pattern; itâ€™s bright greenish-white glowing and glittering train perhaps over 2 degrees in width at times. That field behind appeared almost as daylight for a second or two. I have seen meteors over the years break-up, even pop or explode like fireworks with a round flash at the end of their train but I have never seen one that appeared so close, that I thought it surely came down in that field of trees just a few dozen yards away.
Michael- Actually after I rendered that wide field view of the Leonid from the mountain home where I stay now, I was not satisfied with the meteor train, too small on the paper to really show its details, so after seeing Matthews image here from earlier the night before that was in nearly exact duplicate of the way the Leonid meteor trailed that I saw, I decided that a larger sketch and the heavier toothed paper would better render that â€œspray of dustâ€ appearance that Matthew depicted with use of Photoshop. This is where larger paper format may be necessary to attain fine detail such as the very large whole moon sketches. They simply cannot be done on anything smaller than the 19â€ X 24â€ paper that I use if one desires to get very fine details.
Matthews was one great example of good use of an electronic imaging tool, if I have ever seen it. He overlaid that golden dusty meteor trail perfectly to the earlier sky image he took as a time exposure. At first I thought his Photoshop meteor trail was an actual photo of the meteor. His Photoshop image reminded me that some rough pastel papers do have useful applications.
Matthews rendering >