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Lunar volcanism

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#1 maroubra_boy


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Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:00 AM

Hi all,

Since my last sketch, I've been itching to have a go again at Alphonsus. Along with its two buddies, Arzachel (to left) and Ptolemaeus (at right), this trio are a time line of Lunar history.

Ptolemaeus is the oldest. The crater floor is totally flooded, even the central peak is covered. It was fromed when the Moon was still very hot and lava readily flowed with a large impact.

Arzachel is the youngest. The crater floor is intact with no flooding, the crater walls are terraced with land slides both inside and outside of the crater.

Alphonsus sits bewteen the two in age. The crater floor is only partially flooded with the central peak still visible. The Moon has cooled since Ptolemaeus and lava flow has slowed. BUT, volcanic activity was still occuring after the flooding process had stopped. This is seen from the pyroclastic deposits that sit within Alphonsus. Four deposits lie within this crater and are marked in the labelled pic, and are seen as the darker shaded areas that are easy to see through the eyepiece.

Quite remarkable to consider that from here on Earth we can see the effects of ancient volcanism on a body that isn't Earth.

Another treasure of the night was the Celestron Ultima LX 8mm eyepiece I used. These eyepiece are much underrated, but are surprisingly good. The 8mm in particular is easy to use for extended viewing. It made the 2.5 hours much more bearable, and my eyes were not as fatigued as they have been after with other sketches that have taken less time to do. It's one of my favourite eyepieces.

Object: Pyroclastic deposits in Alphonsus
Scope: C8, 8" SCT
Gear: 8mm Celestron Ultima LX, 250X
Location: Sydney, Oz
Date: 19th March 2013
Media: Soft Pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper
Duration: approx 2.5 hrs


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#2 maroubra_boy


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Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:01 AM

Labelled sketch.

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#3 Aquarellia


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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:31 AM

Too nice Alex, your sketches and related story are always a very nice time for us !
Thank you +++ to share this

#4 frank5817



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Posted 21 March 2013 - 09:19 AM


A beautiful capture of the three and fine description of these lunar treasures.
You captured perfectly the way the lunar surface reflects sunlight. Very impressive work.

Frank :)

#5 JimP


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Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:21 AM

Wow! Magnificent.

Do you use chalk or oil pastels?



#6 Jim Nelson

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:55 AM

Really interesting scientifically, and a truly gorgeous sketch to boot. Thanks for the great post!

#7 JeanB



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Posted 21 March 2013 - 11:31 AM

Amazingly detailed, Alex! This is a materpiece. Sometimes I decide to frame one of my sketch. Very few of them deserve this. But as far as I can see from your work, all your sketches deserved to be on a wall well in sight!



#8 kenrenard


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Posted 21 March 2013 - 12:06 PM

Beautiful Job. Bravo!

I learned something new as well. Thank You for sharing

Clear Skies


#9 niteskystargazer



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Posted 21 March 2013 - 02:22 PM


Very good sketch of the Moon :).




#10 Jef De Wit

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:15 PM


#11 AlexxxAA


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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:36 PM

Amazing Alex!
I was getting into the idea of sketching Lunar features too...
But suddenly I feel my work would pale in comparison. It's, too good! Lol

#12 cpl43uk



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Posted 22 March 2013 - 06:35 PM

Beautiful images. True art...

#13 Ibmelrod


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Posted 22 March 2013 - 10:16 PM

Superb illustration of these three magnificent craters with their different morphologies and ages.

#14 frank5817



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Posted 22 March 2013 - 11:19 PM


It almost looks as if you used "real lunar regolith" to create this wonderful sketch.
So tell us -- you used pastels made of real lunar dust didn't you.. Don't be shy tell us. :poke:

Frank :)

#15 Andrev



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Posted 23 March 2013 - 05:13 AM


You are so talented and your skill to sketch is exceptionnal. We all really enjoy looking at your sketches, please let them coming...

Congratulation Alex.


#16 maroubra_boy


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 05:20 PM

Thank you all for you great comments.

Jimp, I use soft pastels, which are like fine grade chalk. The charcoal mentioned is a charcoal pencil.

Jean, I've been thinking of ways to best look after my work. I might need to invest at least on some inexpensive framing system to prevent them from damage.

Frank, I've recently heard a little more on Lunar regoliths (moon dust as Frank says) - nasty stuff! The Apollo astronauts had such a problem with it. As there's no weathering on the Moon, Moon dust remains sharp and angular even at its finest, sticking to absolutely everything. They couldn't clean it off their gear, & their Moon walk suits held so much of the stuff it actually added a significant amount of weight to the material returned to Earth. This stuff alone apparently is what has presented the greatest health hazard to these men, and they are still being checked medically to make sure there haven't been any adverse health problems from this stuff. Don't forget, most of it is silica, and lungs and silica don't mix.

The learning aspect of sketching for me has also been an unexpect bonus. This too is a passion of mine to share astronomy and science with young folk, and showing them that it isn't mind numbing stuff, but can be very tangible applications of what we do everyday - just needs some of the mystery and hi-tech mumbo jumbo simplified. If you'd like to see how I show the sky to novices under light polluted skies, see this thread in video astronomy and the kit I've just created for myself. I made it from modest bits and pieces that many folks wouldn't even look at, and gear that was destined for the junk yard. Video is such a powerful teaching tool, and the only way some people with mobility difficulties and experience a telescope. There is no way that a novice can see a galaxy under light polluted skies, but video can make it happen, instantly. But sketching at the eyepeice is still my ultimate passion, :)


#17 mdowns


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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:38 PM

Perhaps the most impressive lunar sketch I've ever seen.You've raised the bar for the many talented lunar artist here on cnights.Awesome!

#18 astronz59


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Posted 28 March 2013 - 10:44 PM

Alex, simply stunning and accurate sketch of one of my favourite lunar areas. Thanks!!

#19 Uwe Pilz

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 01:16 AM

Such a wonderful and very realistic sketch! Thank you for sharing.

#20 Tommy5



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Posted 30 March 2013 - 02:51 PM

Wow so detailed the tone and texture so realistic bravo!

#21 darthwyll



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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:50 AM

The detail here is amazing. The lighting is spot on. The texture is perfect. Awesome work!!!!

#22 PeterDob


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Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:00 AM

I fully agree with all above. This is probably the most impressive astronomy sketch I've ever seen. My wife actually couldn't believe it was a sketch, that's how amazed she was. I also concur that the accompanying story is very interesting. Thank you so much for sharing all this, Alex. And if I were you, I'd contact a couple of museums for contemporary art. They'd be daft to refuse your work. :D


#23 maroubra_boy


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Posted 25 April 2013 - 06:45 PM

Thank you for your comments.

Museum pieces! Gee, I dunno about that. I'm flattered at the thought and suggestion though.

There's one good thing about these pyroclastic deposits, as they are so dark they can easily be identified even during full Moon. I saw them clearly a couple of nights back, no mistaking them. Have a go at chasing them down now at full Moon - I find these quite remarkable.

#24 JimPie


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Posted 28 April 2013 - 09:24 AM

Wow!, Fantastic Sketch! I've been away from CN for awhile. I'm glad I didn't overlook this sketch. Brilliant!

#25 ericj


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Posted 28 April 2013 - 02:29 PM

Hi Alex,

Really nice sketch thanks for posting it.


Eric Jamison

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