It’s been a long while since I made a sketch of the Moon. Last night was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up – cloudless, no dew and the kids were in bed!
I spent half an hour scanning the terminator for a subject. I struggled to find an easily recognisable feature at first, and decided to look for those quirky “alphanumeric” features that to our mind resemble recognisable symbols like letters or numbers. Then a new world opened up with the change in mind set. As half chased letters started to show up, I chanced upon a fantastic freakish apparition – the face of an owl centred around the crater Mercator!
This striking resemblance is created foremost by the wing like mountains that reaches North East away from Mercator, and a vaguely similar feature reaching North West out of the neighbouring crater Campanus. Together these create the impression of the feather tufts that crest the face of the nocturnal aviator.
As the sketch developed and expanded, I came across so many unexpected features. My very first dome, Capuanus 2, in the crater Capuanus (top right of sketch), and the 309km long rile Rima Heiodus that punches through mountains from Palus Epidemiarum through into Mare Nubium. And then the last feature I included in the sketch was the crater Konig, named after the Austrian amateur astronomer whose Konig eyepiece design is one of my favourites (very bottom crater).
I showed my wife the sketch the next morning, and she too exclaimed the uncanny stylised resemblance to the owl! Confirmation to me that I’m not completely off my tree,
Object: Mercator’s owl
Scope: C8, 8” SCT
Gear: 5mm Hyperion, 400X
Date: 28th July 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia.
Media: Soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A5 size black paper.