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Stray's Sketchbook

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#1 stray1

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:10 AM

Hello!

Rather than clutter up the forum with numerous threads, I think I am going to start a dedicated “sketchbook”. The first installment is yet another attempt at capturing Jupiter. I have received a great deal of encouragement (and inspiration) from Asbytech and others so I figured I’d take another extended viewing of the “Big One” this evening. After consulting Stellarium I determined that the GRS should be in view, so that was really my primary objective. Unfortunately, my observing skills are not yet honed enough to see anything other than a slight widening along the southern equatorial band (this would be around the 5 O’clock position in my 17mm enlarged view). At least I “think” this is the GRS. It appeared more as a “faint gray blur” to my untrained eye. Additionally, I am beginning to discern a bit of shading in the southern hemisphere, but thus far this is coming in simply as a “hint” of grayness. Finally, Europa was in transit during my observation and I’m pretty sure (but not positive) that I was able to see its shadow (a black dot in the lower view indicates its approximate position).

:grin:

-stray-

Ps—After reading Jef De Wit’s critique of one of my previous sketches, I decided that he is correct—the “art deco” cadre is indeed a distraction. With this in mind, I generated a new cadre specifically for Jupiter. Hopefully, it is less of an eyesore; however, I am not sure whether to call it “Jupiter Cadre” or “Panzer Camouflage Cadre”. You decide.
Critique is welcome here.

Danke for looking!

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#2 Asbytec

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:35 AM

I do like the cadre, Stray. Maybe the hues you chose better compliment your subject? Eyesore is probably the wrong word, but the attractive color and designs did draw the eye away. They were attractive. This one seems to compliment without pulling attention from the subject.

The GRS is a big grey spot these days. You can check it's transit times here. I think Stellarium is accurate, too.

http://www.skyandtel...html?page=1&...

And the moons...and it shows the shadows, too.
http://www.skyandtel...ascript/jupiter

And later, Saturn...
http://www.skyandtel...pt/saturn_moons

Your sketches are already showing more, Stray. You enlarged the image. That's probably a good idea, our sketches should be accurate as possible while not making features as difficult for the observer, IMO.

Your refractor has a bit more to offer, conservatively about 100x on Jupiter and maybe 150x on Saturn and Mars. Your 17 is probably showing you everything there is to see, but the image scale might add difficulty.

#3 stray1

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:15 AM

Hi Norme,

After reviewing the Moon positions in the S&T link that you posted, I am unsure as to what was causing the dark "spot" that I detected on the planet's face. I initially thought it was something on the EP (17mm) that I was using, but I also saw it when I dropped the 10mm in. Plus, it appeared to move over time.

:confused:

-stray-

#4 stray1

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:20 AM

Hello!

Delta Orionis, Mintaka; “the belt” is an uncomplicated find. Simply slew to the upper-right star in Orion’s belt and there you have it. It is also a very easy binary to split (and, thus, right up my noob alley). After struggling for several weeks to resolve nearby 33 Orionis for the Haas Project, Mintaka is a breath of unsullied air!

A Class B giant star, this dazzling gem glows bright, surrounded by a lambent airy disk of deep zaffre blue. It almost looks as if the Cosmic Patrol pulled this one over for a “talking to”. It is, most definitely, a blue, cerulean star. While diminutive, Mintaka’s companion is just as striking to behold. It appears as a frosty, tiffany blue speck; perched immediately over Delta’s right shoulder (depending on your POV). Combined, this pair is a magnificent spectacle and well worth the time!

Did I mention that it is an easy split?

Thanks for looking.

:grin:

-stray-

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#5 Asbytec

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:21 AM

Jupiter rotates pretty quickly, you can actually notice it in a few minutes time. Sometimes you really need to be conscious of it when sketching. The moons and their shadows, as well. It does not take long to cross the disc. Good catch!

#6 Chopin

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:20 AM

Stray, great idea to make a single thread for your sketch work.

As for that black dot, I'm not sure if you've figured it out yet (so my apologies for any insult) but that was probably Europa's lunar shadow. Norme gives great advice for those programs. I have been using "Jupiter2" for years and find that to work too (just do a Google search). Don't forget to adjust your time against UTC when cross referencing. With Jupiter2 you can save your time so that you have the correct reference every time you open the program.

#7 niteskystargazer

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:42 PM

Stray,

I like your Sketchbook :).

CS,KLU,

:thanx:,

Tom

#8 stray1

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:23 AM

Beta Cygni redux.

"At first glance, the primary appears as a blazing daffodil; a yellow orb encompassed by a diffracted corona of similar, saturated hue. It burns in charcoal ether like a freshly plucked dandelion up there in the sky. Located a solid split away, its smaller companion glows pale diamond blue; a cool and pleasing complement to the warmer primary."

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#9 Asbytec

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:28 AM

More beautiful work, Stray.

Whoa! Delta Ori just made my list for tonight. I missed your post earlier.

Your sketch book has the feel of a monster thread. :)

#10 frank5817

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:45 AM

Stray,

A beautiful collection of sketches here.

Frank :)

#11 stray1

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:21 PM

Thank you all for comments/critique.

This is a "painting" that I based on an image that I found online. It is a study of the Great Nebula in Orion. While I did make an attempt at correct star placement within the nebula itself, most are simply random dots and splotches to achieve a "star field" effect. Additionally, there is some subtle coloring that might not show up on all monitors.

Thanks for looking and, please, do not hesitate to offer constructive critism.

:grin:

-stray-

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#12 Asbytec

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:41 PM

I dunno Stray, the stunning sensation I get when your sketches first pop up. Just gotta say, "Whoa..."

If that color (including the green below right) does not show up on your monitor, it's set to gray scale. Change it.

Man, how I wish to see that kind of color. Maybe in the next life.

#13 stray1

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:58 PM

I dunno Stray, the stunning sensation I get when your sketches first pop up. Just gotta say, "Whoa..."

If that color (including the green below right) does not show up on your monitor, it's set to gray scale. Change it.

Man, how I wish to see that kind of color. Maybe in the next life.


Hi Norme,

Thank you kindly for your comments, but "stunning"? "Cool" perhaps, but not stunning. Yes, the colors sort of jump out at you but I credit Paint.net and Gaussian blur for this effect. It did all of the hard work. Yes, it looks enough like the Orion nebula that it is easily recognized, but at the same time there are so many subtle nuances to this beautiful object that I just could not capture them all. The general shape is there. That's about it.

And then there's that awful, arbitrary "star field" :foreheadslap:

And yes, I too wish I could see those colors through my EP. I'd never leave Orion.

:grin:

-stray-

#14 Asbytec

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 09:11 PM

Observing the Trap a few nights ago, I thought to try a sketch of the nebulocity in the area. Are you kidding? Just way too many wisps and dark lanes. Beautiful, but I wouldn't wanna sketch it. :)

#15 frank5817

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 09:32 PM

Stray,

I think you spent some time in Art school. You are not new to sketching you have be doing this for a while. :shameonyou: :)

Frank :)

#16 stray1

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:30 PM

Stray,

I think you spent some time in Art school. You are not new to sketching you have be doing this for a while. :shameonyou: :)

Frank :)


Hi Frank,

No, no art school for me--high school art class and a couple of charcoal drawing classes in college is all my formal training. My use of color is based on watching Bob Ross on PBS; however, I have never painted along with him. My previous use of Paint.net has primarily been limited to retouching photographs, etc. Heck, I don't even know how to use 3/4 of the software's features.

While true that I have some artistic background, amateur astronomy and star sketching is new ground for me.

Thanks for the complement!

:grin:

-stray-

#17 stray1

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:38 AM

Though not a sketch per se, I believe the following observations are appropriate for my sketchbook. Please consider them as my "notes", scribbled in the margin, for future reference.

This evening I decided to take the pressure and distraction that comes with sketching an object off and spend a relaxed hour or so with Jupiter, simply observing. Transparency was not all that good as we had some clouds move through earlier, plus the moon gave the sky a washed-out glow, but seeing was not so bad…somewhat better than usual in that I was able to focus more tightly on the Galilean moons and bring them into sharp (or at least sharper) points of light (does this make sense?).

My objective tonight was to just look at Jupiter and see if I could make out any of the finer details that others have sketched and that I seem to be missing through my 90mm.

I began my survey using a 25mm EP (x36). The N and S EQ belts were apparent, but not much else (usually I can see a hint of the N Polar region (NPR) at this magnification, but not tonight). The addition of a yellow filter offered little improvement; it did, however, cut down on some minor glare and allow for an even tighter focus. As such, I decided to use the filter in all EPs for the remainder of my viewing session.

In an earlier discussion, someone suggested that I use a 10mm EP (x91) to bring out more detail so I gave it a second try (ordinarily, my cut-off for planetary observing is 17mm due to resolution issues, but I'm still a rookie). At x91 magnification, the NPR became apparent; though I think what I am probably seeing is a blending of the NPR and the N n Temperate belt.

Additionally, the N Temperate belt showed up as a thin scratch of shading between the N Temperate zone and the N Tropical zone.

In my observation of 19 November 2012 I mentioned that I was able to catch a “hint” of the South Polar Region (SPR), but this feature was not visible tonight for some reason; however, by using averted vision, I believe that I was able to catch a glimpse of the South Temperate Belt (STB). This is an element that I hadn't noticed before.

From here, I experimented with even higher magnifications (8mm (x113) and 6mm (x151) w/ yellow filter) and though I lost further resolution, I am convinced that I am beginning to discern subtle variations of shading in the EQ belts. At this early stage these are nothing that I could accurately represent in a sketch (other than as arbitrarily placed “smudges” of darker or lighter gray within the belts). Since the EQ belts show up regardless of magnification, perhaps this is where I should focus most of my attention?

Although the southern portion of Jupiter appeared to me to be without detail for the duration of this session, I did have a couple of lucid moments where everything north of STB seemed to gel and form an image of what I know the planet looks like as a whole (sans the GRS, which was out of sight). My hope is that as my eye becomes better trained, these lucid moments become the norm.

One thing that was particularly “neat” about this extended view was that I was able to observe one of the moons, Io, approach the northern limb of the planet…and then just “disappear”.

Never seen it happen before tonight.

Now, THAT was cool! :jump:

Thanks for viewing...er, reading. Comments, criticism, and advice are always welcome.

:grin:

-stray-

#18 stray1

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:43 AM

Observing the Trap a few nights ago, I thought to try a sketch of the nebulocity in the area. Are you kidding? Just way too many wisps and dark lanes. Beautiful, but I wouldn't wanna sketch it. :)


That is why I cheated and used a photograph. Overwhelming in my EPs.

:grin:

-stray-

#19 Asbytec

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 04:50 AM

...and spend a relaxed hour or so with Jupiter, simply observing.


Me, too. But I do have a back log of sketches to finish on the PC.

Additionally, the N Temperate belt showed up as a thin scratch of shading between the N Temperate zone and the N Tropical zone.

I believe that I was able to catch a glimpse of the South Temperate Belt (STB). This is an element that I hadn't noticed before.

I am convinced that I am beginning to discern subtle variations of shading in the EQ belts.


Okay, I remember you mentioned maybe seeing them before. And now you are seeing it? Thought so. :)

The Southern region has not a great amount of contrast, kind of a soft grey hue to my eye. That can be hard to differentiate from the more white region just north of it. Keep at it, you will spot the change in contrast. Wait on those very steady moments, that's when Jupiter speaks to you.

At times Jupiter will "burn" into your retina, for lack of a better description. At those moments when it "burns in", relax and focus down on it. Jupiter just pops, it becomes so crystal clear and colorful. Then it'll pass. Pull back, relax, sketch what you saw, and wait for the next session you and Jupiter are tuned and become as one. You get into a zone not unlike in sports. Make sense? Observing can really be that mystical.

On shading in the EQ belts, "Trust the force, Luke." You seem to be learning what to look for, that comes only with practice. Relax, let it come. Trust it when it does. Soon, some of those now difficult features will become second nature then you can plunge deeper and softer...probably right to the limit of what your scope and eye can deliver.

Rule of thumb is about 30x per inch, or 1.2x per mm (I think) of aperture. Here you get a good balance for contrast and image scale. Higher power, and Jupiter gradually becomes dimmer (more so with a filter) and softer.

No criticisms, Stray. It sounds like you are training yourself to observe. It just takes time and effort, nothing just comes to you without it. Spend an hour or so each session, just looking and looking again. Then, look some more. Take a break, if you feel the need. Stretch. No hurry (unless you're sketching, hang with it until done.) It's much like curling a barbell. The more you exercise your skill, the stronger you get. Passion helps immensely, but tempered with honesty. (I feel like I should add, "Grasshopper" here. :lol:)

Soon enough, you'll need new undergarments and more aperture. Last night I was weight training my eyeballs at 40x per inch, a bit too much for Jupiter. But it was the challenge, the training I was after. Still enjoying the view, of course.

(Man, I got all mystical on ya, huh?) :lol:

Rock on.

#20 Ed D

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 07:39 AM

Stray, your latest sketch of Jupiter shows quite a bit of detail. Good observation! :waytogo:

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#21 Chopin

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 09:52 AM

Observing the Trap a few nights ago, I thought to try a sketch of the nebulocity in the area. Are you kidding? Just way too many wisps and dark lanes. Beautiful, but I wouldn't wanna sketch it. :)


That is why I cheated and used a photograph. Overwhelming in my EPs.

:grin:

-stray-


:lol: Those darned deep sky objects are daunting to say the least. I'm actually considering the purchase of 30-40º eyepieces so that I have to sketch less of the field. :grin:

#22 Asbytec

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:34 PM

:rofl2: :rofl2: :rofl2: :funny:

#23 stray1

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 04:50 AM

Norme,

You don't need to refer to me as "Grasshopper"..."Weedhopper" works just as well. Heh.

At any rate, I ripped off your sketch template (do you mind?) to generate an approximation of what I might see of Jupiter on any given night. The features that I am unsure of are noted in red.

As for being passionate or honest, I tend toward the latter. As Cap'n Kirk might say: "Must...see...must see what I...see...Spock? Spock?"

:grin:

-stray-

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#24 Asbytec

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 03:43 PM

Sorry for getting all mystical on ya...just was on a passionate roll. Might have been a little "weed hopper," myself. :jawdrop: (kidding, only.)

As for your sketch, everything looks right. All the right stuff is there. The feature below the GRS certainly looks to be correct, you're capturing something in the (can't read the cheat chart from here) STB. To know if the GRS was visible, you can check the date and time of your observation against it's transit times. Here's a good one, of the many avail...

http://www.skyandtel...html?page=1&...

I don't mind at all, but you'll have to subscribe for updates. :)

#25 stray1

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 03:30 AM

Not a good sketch, though not really meant to be. Generated from memory following a very brief, spur of the moment, observation this morning. We’ve had clouds since the weekend, but they were thin and/or broken this morning, really hazy up there, but I decided to take what I could get while the getting was good. Clouds in the forecast for the rest of the week. The full moon, Jupiter, and a few of the brighter stars (e.g., Rigel, Sirius, etc.) were showing through the ceiling. Coldest session thus far: 25-deg F. High humidity, clammy, frost coating my viewing chair and table.

I spent a couple of hours on Sunday (cloudy) blackening the inside of the barrels of my Orion 25mm and 10mm EPs with flat black paint, so my real reason for “braving” the cold was to see if this made any improvement to my viewing clarity. I believe that there is a slight improvement as far as that goes. I have never seen the SPR as clearly as I did this morning (though this might also be attributed to the filtering effect of the clouds?)

NPR: check

NTB: check

NEB: check (also noted additional detail in this belt; see sketch)

SEB: check

STB: missing (possibly merged with the SPR?)

SPR: BIG check

Had my best view through the 10mm using a x2 Barlow; blurry, but detailed if that makes sense. Though the GRS was apparently visible I did not notice it as I spent most of my (brief) EP time focused on the NEQ to determine if I could discern any festoons (didn’t see them).

Anyway, here’s the sketch. The only real area of interest is noted (and, even then, this is a simple approximation of “something” going on in the NEB; not sure what it was).

Template is copyrighted to Asbytech, 2012, I think.

:grin:

-weedhopper-

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