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M42, first DSO sketch since April '12

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#1 maroubra_boy


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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:13 PM

Hi all,

Things here in Australia's east coast have been very ordinary for a very long time around the new Moon period since October '11. Since then I've only had four hours dark sky time, back in April '12. If it wasn't for the Moon, I'd have nothing. Even the Moon has conspired with the clouds to stop things since Armstrong's passing.

The New Year has started in a more promising way. This last weekend I was finally able to blow out the encrusted cobwebs in my sketching kit. While just done from home, and in the middle of the Australian summer, conditions on this night were quite good.

M42 seemed to show even more nebulous extensions than I've previously seen im my 8" dobbie. The scallop shaped nebula is normally restricted to the brighter "hinge" half of the shape. This night the fainter top half was dimly visible.

I don't often sketch objects close to the celestial equator, so the speed at which M42 moved across the FOV surprised me for once. I found myself needing to nudge the scope along after just about every glimpse back to the sheet of paper.

It was also the first time I got to push my "modified" 13mm Hyperion. As an orthodox Hyperion, in my very fast Newtonians it show horrendous pincushion! A crazy thought occured to me to see what would happen if I replaced the EP's 1.25" Smythe field lens with a 2X barlow lens. WOW! What a difference! The previously unuseable EP has now become a very pleasent one to use. In my 8" f/4 dob not one bit of pincushion or field curvature is visible. Only the slightest amount of astigmatism along the very, very edge of the FOV. A very useful EP now.

M42 shows such lovely mottling close to the Trapisium. The shockwave ribbons that extend out from the Trap have such a subtle leading edge brightness, particularly the one on the bottom half of the sketch. M42 is a surprisingly difficult object to sketch. It has such a range of brightnesses, effects, and size that makes it quite a lovely challenge. I really want to be able to have a go of this DSO from a dark site.

I'm a bit rusty after such a long absence, so my apology for the quality of the sketch and image.

Object: M42 & M43
Scope: 8" f/4 push-pull dob
Gear: Modified 13mm Hyperion, 62X, OIII filter
Location: Sydney, Australia
Date: 5th Jan., '13
Media: white soft pastel, black charcoal & white ink on A4 size black paper
Time: 1.5hrs

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#2 JeanB



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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:33 PM

I'm a bit rusty after such a long absence, so my apology for the quality of the sketch and image.

Alex I see no need to apologize here! Your sketch is, to my point of view, a real beauty. As usual your technique makes wonders! I love your sketch and praise your talent. I once tried to sketch M42 and it was a complete failure and I was not even rusty! :lol:


#3 Ed D

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:45 PM

A bit rusty? Are you kidding? That is an amazing sketch, on par with your usual work that's in a class by itself.

Glad to see you sketching and posting again. I hadn't seen a post from you in quite a while either on Cloudy Nights or Ice In Space.

I remember you posting about getting a wide field scope. Did you ever get one? Just curious.

Ed D

#4 maroubra_boy


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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:00 PM

Many thanks Jean and Ed. I guess I just pick, and pick, and pick my work to pieces.

Yes, I did get a "new" wide field scope. It's a little DIY 80mm F/5 Achro with a 2" focuser. And a couple of new EPs to try out with it. Need to decide between a 36mm Aspheric Hyperion that gives me a 6.5deg TFOV, and a 34mm Meade SWA giving a 5.8deg TFOV. I've only had one shot with these EPs, and the 34mm has a slightly better edge to edge performance. But! the thing is the TFOV! The Southern Cross JUST miss's fitting whole in the Meade, but it just squeezes in Whole in the 36mm Aspheric. Decision, decisions, decisions... Again, I need a good dark sky session!

#5 Andrev



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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:08 PM


To be honest, its the most beautiful rendition of M42 I ever seen. Its very similar to what I'm use to see in my scope. Its really a beauty you have made.


#6 frank5817



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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:06 PM

Hello Alex,

Gold doesn't rust, it is a wonderful sketch.
While I was reading what you wrote, I thought of how I have always associated the Orion nebula with cold winter nights.
You most often associate it with warm, short, summer nights.

Frank :)

#7 JayinUT


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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:28 PM


Just another tremendous sketch in your impressive gallery of sketches. Is it over at APOD? I haven't been over there as I haven't observed since early November and it isn't going to happen this month either. So much for the drought winter we were suppose to have. I may have to do some practice sketches to stay in sketching shape. Again, great sketch from the master. Have you sketched NGC 1931 in Auriga? It's not as wonderful but is called a mini M42 with a trapezium of stars. Its a fun object I've sketched a few times. If I ever get to observe I may do a contrast of sketches between the two. I may practice on both also.

#8 mike73


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Posted 08 January 2013 - 03:58 AM

Great to see you back in the saddle Alex, I'm not a huge poster here but always keep an eye out for the pastel sketches and yours are always top of the list. :)

#9 Chopin


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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:15 AM

Alex...rusty??? Holy cow, I only hope I can pull off such an image when I take to such sketches. Amazing, my friend.

#10 stray1


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Posted 08 January 2013 - 03:19 PM

I agree with everyone else. Rusty? Heck, NO! Not even slightly corroded.

Beautiful sketch! This is pretty much what I see through a 32mm EP (including that faint greenish tint).




#11 vaztr


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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:35 PM


Gorgeous, and V similar to what I am seeing through my 12" over the last week from suburban Canberra. In fact I'm so 'un-used' to my new 12" that I thought the extended nebulosity might have been a problem with my scope HAHA

Fantastic sketch - reminds me that I should start my sketching again, 'tho I'm not sure I'll ever have anything as pretty as yours.

Great Job


#12 niteskystargazer



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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:39 PM


Good sketch of M-42 :).




#13 Jef De Wit

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:41 AM


#14 PeterDob



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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

Absolutely stunning sketch, Alex! Moreover because it's a real drawing and not a Photoshopped one. Congratulations!


#15 Ibmelrod


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Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:52 PM

A beautiful sketch that has been on my mind all day. Thanks for this brilliant image.

#16 drbyyz


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Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:14 PM

Awesome sketch, if that you being rusty I'd like to see your work in full form!

Very similar to what I see in this object, only wish I could express my view on paper as well.

#17 Aperturefever


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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:26 AM

Was looking at that very same sight on Saturday night with the dob and wondering if you had the tools out, Alex. Another masterpiece ... you're not afraid of the hard stuff. Just tuning up some new gear and I'll be ready for the next clear night, I hope. Nice suggestion from Jay for a good target too - I might take a look!

#18 maroubra_boy


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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:42 AM

Many thanks y' all for your comments. I find your words encouraging.

Jay, thanks for the suggestion. I'll chase it up. But for this new Moon my night's observing has been planned. I've got some 8 or 9 targets, but I may only get to sketch 2, maybe 3 as the period between twilight to twilight is less than 6 hours. One target I have planned is NGC 3324 and the nearby cluster NGC 3293, both in Carina. I'll just be happy to get one good sketch done, it's been so long.

Aperture, hopefully we'll be partners in spirit this weekend. Friday night I'm out under the stars as Saturday is looking dodgy. Tonight's taken a bit of a turn for the better too. Might try out an EP or two.

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