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Lunar Trio: Theophillus, Cyrillus, and Catharina

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 07:16 PM

Hi All,


We are often encouraged to make resolutions at this time of year. Some resolutions aim to change undesired habits or behaviours by cutting things out of our life, or denying ourselves of guilty pleasures. Other resolutions tend focus on the continuation of good practices, or introducing new ones.


Unfortunately, most resolutions fail miserably because the resolution was too ambitious; too vague; or there were too many.


As someone who is no stranger to 'failure', I wholeheartedly believe in the adage of "it's better to try and fail; than fail to try." After all, life is about taking chances, trying new things, having fun, making mistakes and learning from them.


For these reasons, I have decided to attempt to sketch the lunar surface throughout 2020. Of course my sketches will be far from perfect, and I'm sure I will make several mistakes along the way. But, by the end of the year I'm hoping to see an improvement from my initial lunar sketch.


To help me along the way, I am planning to submit one lunar sketch per month to this forum. I'll continue to sketch open clusters, but I'm hoping that by sketching the Moon I'll get to know more about our closest celestial neighbour. What is more, by submitting one picture each month for the next twelve months it will hopefully be a fun and engaging way to monitor any progress I make in my ability to sketch the night sky.


With the above in mind, I am submitting my first lunar sketch of 2020. I decided to sketch Theophillus, Cyrillus, and Catharina because they were the most prominent lunar features at 17:50 UT during the the evening of 01/01/2020. I finished the sketch at 18:34 UT from my back garden in Dundrum, Dublin. The night sky above Dundrum is estimated to be Bortle 8.

Equipment used for the sketch included the following: Black sketching paper; black, and white charcoals; a clipboard, and a blending stump. In terms of the scope I used my f/8 150mm Newtonian reflector on a Dobsonian base, and a 9mm Orion Expanse eyepiece that has a 66 degree AFOV. Meaning, it provided me with 133X and .49 TFOV.


According to Stellarium, the Moon had a magnitude of -11.59. It was at a waxing crescent phase with 37.3% of the lunar surface illuminated. While I estimated the seeing to be good (6Pk),transparency was very poor (2) because my neighbour had the heating on and the vent of the boiler was blowing steam into the atmosphere.


Very many thanks for taking the time to read the above, and to look at the sketch.


As always any comments, critique, feedback, or suggestions are very much welcomed.


Clear skies to all,


Attached Thumbnails

  • Trio of Craters 1 January 2020 - Copy 600 px.jpg

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#2 frank5817


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Posted 03 January 2020 - 08:08 PM



I like your lunar sketch of these three craters. You have a great idea to make at least one sketch of the Moon each month for a year to see your progress. If you have extra time also attempt sketching photos of the moon for practice using different media (experiment a bit, you may surprise yourself how much an exercise like this will help when sketching at the eyepiece and build confidence).


Clear skies to you


Frank :)

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#3 sunnyday



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Posted 03 January 2020 - 08:18 PM


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#4 astronz59



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Posted 03 January 2020 - 09:31 PM

What a great target to start with, Darren. Your sketch has a 3 dimensional quality to it, so well done. Expecting great things during 2020! waytogo.gif

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#5 Uwe Pilz

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 02:48 AM

I try to sketch at least once a month too. Most astronomers look slightly unhappy if the moon dominates the sky. I enjoy the moon every month.

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#6 acr_astro


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Posted 04 January 2020 - 03:48 AM

Hi Darren,

this is a fine sketch of that well-known lunar trio.
And I like your plan of submitting new lunar sketches once a month. Looking forward to them!

Clear skies

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#7 pedrovillamiel


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Posted 04 January 2020 - 08:49 AM

Nice work. Hard to represent area. I like the final appearance.
Greetings. Pedro

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#8 jlcop


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Posted 04 January 2020 - 10:43 AM

Very nice sketch and an excellent resolution! I am new to astronomy and astronomical sketching having started observing just one year ago and sketching for only a month or two. So I am going to "steal" your idea and resolve to post at least one sketch per month as well. They may not always be lunar but I think it is an excellent way to push myself a little. Thanks for the inspiration!!



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#9 niteskystargazer


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Posted 04 January 2020 - 11:48 AM



Very nice sketch of Lunar Trio: Theophillus, Cyrillus, and Catharina smile.gif .




thanx.gif ,



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#10 AdirondackAstro



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Posted 04 January 2020 - 12:59 PM

Great sketch of one of my favorite crater groups. I used to despise the moon, but with getting into sketching I find myself enjoying the moon more often, which also means I don't turn down a clear night when the bright moon is visible. No deep sky because of the moon? Might as well look at the moon!

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
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#11 DDEV


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Posted 04 January 2020 - 06:47 PM

Dear Frank, Ian, James, Uwe, Achim, Pedro, John, Tom, Mike, and those who liked my post 'thank you!'


Thank you for your words of encouragement; your supportive messages; and your wonderful suggestions. 


As I have said before, the sketching forum is wonderful place where the tone, and general atmosphere is always positive. 


May I wish you all the very best for your 2020, and I am very much looking forward to seeing what other astronomical sketchers submit over the year.

Clear skies,


#12 Warmvet


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Posted 05 January 2020 - 12:56 PM

Darren, bravo on your commitment to sketching lunar features once a month. A great way to pick out the intricacies of craters and the changes in appearance from differing angles of light. I agree with Uwe, I enjoy when the moon is the centerpiece in the night sky. Looking forward to see more.



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#13 Aquarellia



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Posted 05 January 2020 - 03:43 PM

That's a good idea, I'm now looking to see your month of February Moon. 

Anyway you begin already high in the scale of quality.


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#14 DDEV


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Posted 06 January 2020 - 07:03 AM

Hello Cindy and Michel,

Very many thanks for your lovely messages. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how this project all pans out over the year. I'm already blown away by the level of interest and encouragement each of you here have shown, and I'm excited to see where these conversations go over the next 12 months.

For example, a friend, and fellow Irish amateur astronomer who is a great source of inspiration to me, pointed me towards Antonin Rukl's Atlas of the Moon when he heard about my plan...by all accounts it is a wonderful resource.

It is things like this i.e., the willingness of the community to share knowledge, that I find one of the best things about our hobby.

Now all I need are clear skies! Kindest regards,


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