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Astrophotography and Sketching >> Sketching

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Reged: 08/30/07

Loc: Lancashire, UK
Re: Why do you sketch? new [Re: IVM]
      #5594831 - 12/29/12 06:15 PM

I feel a connection when sketching that I didn't get when I used to image.

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professor emeritus

Reged: 02/17/05

Re: Why do you sketch? new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5597753 - 12/31/12 11:18 AM

Hi Pete,

Good question. I first started sketching because I wanted to make a permanent record of what I saw through the telescope.

Although I began observing the night sky with the unaided eye in the late 1950's, I did not buy my first telescope until 1972. One of the first telescopes I bought back in the early 1970's was not very good. It was a small 60mm refractor designed for terrestrial viewing and only gave powers up to 60x. It had terrible secondary color on bright objects, and the alt-az mount was not very stable.

At the time I did not know what to expect when observing objects other than the Moon, and did not know to find things in the sky.

Then by chance I read the almanac in the local newspaper which mentioned that Jupiter was the bright star-like object in the eastern sky after sunset, and that it had four bright moons that changed position over night to night.

As it got dark I saw the bright star like object in the eastern sky, opened the window and pointed my telescope out it to observe it (back then I did not know that pointing a telescope out a window was not a good idea because it degrades seeing).

Still as I increased the magnification I could resolve Jupiter as a disk with three bands on it, and see the four moons nearby. The fact I could see this on a planet that was over 480 million miles away really was amazing to me.

I wanted to make a permanent record of what I saw so I picked up a piece of paper, drew a circle on it and recorded what I saw. Without realizing it I had started to train my eye to see more detail. This was because each time I observed Jupiter again I made a sketch and could see more detail, even though it was the same telescope and same magnification.

The other reason I make sketches is that when I observe I get a sense of connection with the object, whether it is the Moon, planets, deep-sky objects, double stars, comets, or other objects.

There have been times when I did a lot of astrophotography, in particular of deep-sky objects. However after a while I realized that what I was observing was the guide star, and that I missed the sense of connection I had when observed the object itself. For me, looking at my photos of the deep-sky object did not have the same sense of connection to it.

So this is why I still make sketches at the eyepiece.


Eric Jamison

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