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M82 / Arp337

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#1 hbanich

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 01:44 AM

A rare clear February night - on a Friday no less – graced Oregon skies yesterday so I headed out to my good friend Chuck's place in the Coast Range mountains west of Portland for a few hours of observing. When I got there I was treated to a pristine, unspoiled and completely overcast sky - what?! It was perfectly clear when I left home for crying out loud! A solitary cloud sprang up right over Chuck's place late in the day, and even though I saw it forming I was sure it would clear off by dark. Nope.

So we went inside and watched the first half of the Blazers-Nuggets NBA game, and by halftime the sky was clearing. Feeling optimistic I set up my 28 inch f/4 scope - Chuck's scope was already patiently waiting under a tarp - and by the time I was ready the sky was 100% clear. Sometimes we get lucky! There was about 4 or 5 inches of snow except on the gravel driveway - fortunately the snow there had melted earlier in the day.

After trying out my new DGM NPB filter on M42 - most excellent - I eventually settled on sketching M82. The conditions were quite nice with surprisingly good transparency and seeing. SQM readings were in the 21.25 to 21.35 range for most of the night. Temperatures fell slowly until a low of 17F at 2am when we called it a night. The Moon was coming up about then and revealed high clouds covering most of the sky, so we had gotten the best part of the night. More good luck.

As soon as I got M82 in the scope it was immediately apparent how good the conditions were because the galaxy was "exploding" with detail. I kept putting on more magnification, and until I got to 816x I kept seeing more internal detail. Most of my sketch was done at 408x and I used higher powers to help confirm some of the smaller and more difficult details. The most pleasing view was at 408x anyway so I really enjoyed the process of making this sketch. Chuck came over and soaked in the view for a while and agreed it was one of the better views he'd had of M82 too.

As always, I saw more than expected simply because I put a good effort into sketching. I don't recall seeing the small details near the core on either side of the dividing central dark lane before but they sure stood out well tonight. I was also surprised how little the NPB and OIII dimed this galaxy. The filters didn't reveal other details, M82 just didn't dim as much as most galaxies do.

The sketch is a result of about 90 minutes active drawing at the eyepiece, and then I cleaned it up a bit this evening before inverting it. I used HB lead and an eraser for the original sketch. I tried a slight variation of my usual technique – I had a piece of stiff cardboard behind the page of my notebook I was drawing in and that gave me a little more control over my sketch. I’m impressed by the result because the raw sketch was much nicer looking in the light of day then normal. It could be a fluke, but I’ll keep at it until I know for sure.

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#2 hbanich

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 01:45 AM

...and the inverted sketch -

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#3 Asbytec

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 02:12 AM

:jawdrop: Stunning! My next scope has gotta be a 28". Wonder if Hershel ever had such a great view? :)

#4 Roel

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 02:55 AM

...

#5 chrisrnuttall

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 04:32 AM

A very entertaining report which I enjoyed reading greatly, 4-5 inches of snow and 17F is the kind of conditions we had in December and I don't really want them back any time soon, you can keep that!
However what really struck a chord with me is the fact that you were using a 28" scope, with magnifications up to 800! I simply have no idea how cool this must be....Well, apart from seeing your sketch and your description of the galaxy exploding with detail, I didn't know galaxies could do that! they are always faint smudges in my 8"!

Love the sketches, they are quite inspirational actually, ie inspiring aperture fever in me!

Are the brighter areas gas and dust? ie more pronounced with filters? or are they concentrations of stars?

Thanks for sharing that, as you can tell I really enjoyed it.

#6 chrisrnuttall

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 04:32 AM

A very entertaining report which I enjoyed reading greatly, 4-5 inches of snow and 17F is the kind of conditions we had in December and I don't really want them back any time soon, you can keep that!
However what really struck a chord with me is the fact that you were using a 28" scope, with magnifications up to 800! I simply have no idea how cool this must be....Well, apart from seeing your sketch and your description of the galaxy exploding with detail, I didn't know galaxies could do that! they are always faint smudges in my 8"!

Love the sketches, they are quite inspirational actually, ie inspiring aperture fever in me!

Are the brighter areas gas and dust? ie more pronounced with filters? or are they concentrations of stars?

Thanks for sharing that, as you can tell I really enjoyed it.

#7 frank5817

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 12:16 PM

Howard,

It is great to see a sketch posted here that represents what a bright galaxy looks like at the eyepiece of a large telescope.
It also helps that you are an excellent sketcher to boot.

Frank :)

#8 lunar

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 05:41 PM

Hi Howard,

I have to say that this is an excellent sketch of M82! I was blown away by the detail a 28" reflector can reveal, and you definately conquered this galaxy! I recently viewed it with my 10" reflector, and saw quite a bit of mottled brightness under 200X, and indeed the core had those brightened areas on either side. Thank you for posting this, because it varifies that I did see what I saw, because I was a little questionable about it later when I looked back at my sketch.

Excellent job!
Brandon Doyle

#9 niteskystargazer

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 05:44 PM

Howard,

:waytogo:, on your very nice sketch of M-82 :).

CS,KLU,

:thanx:,

Tom

#10 Rutilus

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 05:50 PM

Wonderful work. My 14" scope always gave nice views of M-82.

#11 hbanich

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:13 AM

...However what really struck a chord with me is the fact that you were using a 28" scope, with magnifications up to 800! I simply have no idea how cool this must be....Well, apart from seeing your sketch and your description of the galaxy exploding with detail, I didn't know galaxies could do that! they are always faint smudges in my 8"!

Love the sketches, they are quite inspirational actually, ie inspiring aperture fever in me!

Are the brighter areas gas and dust? ie more pronounced with filters? or are they concentrations of stars?

Thanks for sharing that, as you can tell I really enjoyed it.


Hi Chris,

Thanks, glad you enjoyed my sketch and description - I sure had fun observing and sketching M82! And yes, being able to magnify an object over 800 times is a real kick when conditions allow it.

Most galaxies don't have this much detail but there are a surprising number that do - many of the Messier galaxies for instance. Using "exploding" was a reference to the old hypothesis that M82 was actually in the process of exploding, but it’s now been established that’s not the case and the seeming chaotic structure with the massive bi-polar outflows from the central core is a superwind possibly fueled by an enormous rate of star formation - M82 is a typically referred to as a starburst galaxy. At least that what I understand.

The brighter areas seem to be mostly contrast effects caused streamers of gas and dust blocking, or at least dimming the brighter stars, clusters and HII regions of the galaxy behind. I've only done a cursory bit of research into this but check out the HST photo on the Wikipedia page and you'll see what I mean: http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Messier_82

Filters didn't change the view other than to dim everything about the same amount. The DGM NPM filter dimmed it the least and the h-beta filter the most, but as I noted in my original post I was surprised by how little each filter dimmed the galaxy. Most often these filters will make a galaxy nearly invisible.

#12 hbanich

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:16 AM

Hi Howard,

I have to say that this is an excellent sketch of M82! I was blown away by the detail a 28" reflector can reveal, and you definately conquered this galaxy! I recently viewed it with my 10" reflector, and saw quite a bit of mottled brightness under 200X, and indeed the core had those brightened areas on either side. Thank you for posting this, because it varifies that I did see what I saw, because I was a little questionable about it later when I looked back at my sketch.

Excellent job!
Brandon Doyle


Thanks Brandon, glad you liked the sketch and that it helped you confirm what you saw through your scope.

#13 hbanich

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:17 AM

Howard,

It is great to see a sketch posted here that represents what a bright galaxy looks like at the eyepiece of a large telescope.
It also helps that you are an excellent sketcher to boot.

Frank :)


Thank you Frank!

#14 TenthEnemy

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 02:32 AM

Excellent sketch! You've inspired me to sketch M82 next time I get to a dark site. I wonder if I can catch any of those details. :hmmmm:

#15 Special Ed

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 05:57 AM

Howard,

A *very* nicely rendered sketch! I'm glad you hung in there until the skies cleared. :)

#16 hbanich

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 01:45 PM

Howard,

A *very* nicely rendered sketch! I'm glad you hung in there until the skies cleared. :)


Thanks, me too!

#17 markseibold

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 05:16 PM

I tried a slight variation of my usual technique – I had a piece of stiff cardboard behind the page of my notebook I was drawing in and that gave me a little more control over my sketch. I’m impressed by the result because the raw sketch was much nicer looking in the light of day then normal. It could be a fluke, but I’ll keep at it until I know for sure.


Howard

This is a very nice sketch :bow: :bow: :bow:, and even more so considering that you produced it as originally inverted with graphite on white paper reversed from the actual appearance in the dark sky. Just reading your final words about it appearing better in the light of day and that it could be a fluke, I wonder now as many have expressed this here about sketching from a dark sky before, have you ever considered using white Conte or pastel chalks on black paper? I, of course favor this method.

I like your inverted version as it reminds me of seeing M82 the way I remember it at previous Oregon Star Parties in your large Obsession telescope in the early 1990's.

I look forward to seeing your future observations and sketch work,

Mark
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My CN Gallery

#18 azure1961p

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:47 PM

A very well written report followed by an even better observation sketch. The whole thing is a success. Its daunting to think you have a full 20" over my newt!!!!


I really envy your eyepiece experience - really engrossing.

Pete

#19 hbanich

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 08:02 PM

I tried a slight variation of my usual technique – I had a piece of stiff cardboard behind the page of my notebook I was drawing in and that gave me a little more control over my sketch. I’m impressed by the result because the raw sketch was much nicer looking in the light of day then normal. It could be a fluke, but I’ll keep at it until I know for sure.


Howard

This is a very nice sketch :bow: :bow: :bow:, and even more so considering that you produced it as originally inverted with graphite on white paper reversed from the actual appearance in the dark sky. Just reading your final words about it appearing better in the light of day and that it could be a fluke, I wonder now as many have expressed this here about sketching from a dark sky before, have you ever considered using white Conte or pastel chalks on black paper? I, of course favor this method.

I like your inverted version as it reminds me of seeing M82 the way I remember it at previous Oregon Star Parties in your large Obsession telescope in the early 1990's.

I look forward to seeing your future observations and sketch work,

Mark


Hi Mark,

Thanks, but I'm so used to sketching "negatives I don't think about it - unless I'm sketching a dark nebula, then it becomes a challenge. What I menat by the "fluke" comment is that normally when I look at an eyepiece drawing the next day there are individual pencil lines all over the sketch that looked like smooth gradients in the soft red glow of my flashlight while drawing. Using the piece of stiff card board as a backing for my notebook page seemed to give me more control over my pencil and greatly reduced the pencil lines - what looked like smooth gradients while drawing actually were! Hopefully this will be the new normal state of affairs but time will tell.

Graphite pencil on white paper is my favored medium, I never got a feel for chalk and I couldn't use them neatly enough during the day to consider them around my scope at night, but that's just me. You obviously know how to use chalk properly!

#20 Mizar76

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 02:54 AM

:jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop:

Wonderfull!!!!!!!!

#21 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 12:35 PM

A great sketch :applause: although I'm not a very big fan of the "blur"-tool used on the inner detail. I'm sure the unedited sketch would look even better.

/Jake

#22 hbanich

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 01:25 PM

A great sketch :applause: although I'm not a very big fan of the "blur"-tool used on the inner detail. I'm sure the unedited sketch would look even better.

/Jake


I agree about the blur tool, but I couldn't get the effect I wanted with my pencil and eraser mostly because these areas were too small for the texture of the paper. Next time I'll have to make a larger sketch so I can render these areas better.

Here's the raw sketch:

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#23 markseibold

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 04:17 PM

A great sketch :applause: although I'm not a very big fan of the "blur"-tool used on the inner detail. I'm sure the unedited sketch would look even better.

/Jake


I agree about the blur tool, but I couldn't get the effect I wanted with my pencil and eraser mostly because these areas were too small for the texture of the paper. Next time I'll have to make a larger sketch so I can render these areas better.

Here's the raw sketch:


Howard

Yes, larger artwork can render some amazing details. I started with a scrap of black pastel paper one night in October 2006 after seeing Erika Rix's solar Conte crayon sketch. I dug up that scrap paper in the house, and little did I know that it would remain in NASA's Spaceweather for three days on their front page- It was only an 11 X 14" work in abstract colors, then later to soon find that 20" X 30" sheets of black pastel paper might seem unwielding at first but if you have an observing table set up there is easily space for this, so when you are done you have a museum sized quality art work. I know chalk seems messy to some but it can easily be quite cleanly handled with a little practice. I only keep a damp cloth or paper towel nearby to wipe the chalk dust from my hands occasionally or I stop and go to a sink to wash up if available at home near the yard. It is not really getting onto anything but the paper and a little on the hands. Contrary to what some may think, it doesn't blow around or get onto the telescope mirror at all. Then some will use pastel pencils that are more like colored pencils as i do to rough in the lines at the beginning. There is little if no chalk mess at all with the pencils. They are just not as vibrant looking as the real chalk sticks if even only in white shades for DSO's and the moon.

I'll make a tutorial film soon and release it here in a link.

Mark

#24 CarlosEH

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 01:50 AM

Howard,

An outstanding observation of M82 using your impressive 28-inch reflector. You have captured the dark, central bar and "exploding" extensions very nicely. The view of this popular irregular galaxy through your large instrument must be very impressive. Thank you for sharing it with us all.

Carlos

#25 starquake

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 05:14 AM

OMG, just can't believe the details you can get with that 28".

I have a 12" now, but designed my dome to accept a larger scope later, when I get old, my pupil gets small, but I'll be rich (hopefully).

First I wanted a 20" f/5, then I was optimistic to change my plans for a 24" f/4, but now it seems my dome is undersized I'm afraid. :D






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