Archive for February, 2016

I had to share this

My dear astronomer pal in Chicago land USA Frank McCabe sent me his superb Lunar sketch drawn a few days ago, I just have to share it with you!

Helicon region

Helicon & Northern Mare Imbrium 

The northern reaches of Mare Imbrium are covered with frozen lava and some dorsa are additionally visible in the low angle sunshine near Cape Laplace. The two largest impact craters in this region I sketched are Helicon (25 km.) and Le Verrier (20 km.). Numerous small craters in the 3 km. to 12 km. size range are scattered over this region. Also visible are a few small mountain ranges and isolated mountains such as Montes Recti and Mount Pico.


The entire region is great to examine at high power but I limited my sketch to lower magnification because of the uncomfortable cold temperatures and unsteady air.



For this sketch I used: black sketching paper, 8”x 12”, white and

black Conte’ pastel pencils and blending stumps, white Pearl eraser.


Telescope: 13.1 inch f/5.95 Dobsonian and 13mm eyepiece 153x

Date: 02-18-2016, 01:30 – 02:45 U.T.

Temperature:  -8°C (17°F)

clear, calm

Seeing:   Antoniadi IV (poor)

Lunation: 9.25 days

Illumination: 76.5 %

Colongitude: 26.8°



Frank McCabe


A couple from Corona Borealis and jelly bean Mars!

Friday Feb 19th 2016


I was too tired to lunar observe on Thursday night but I did get out into the observatory at around 5am Friday morning, I made a couple of deep sky observations in Corona Borealis, both firsts for me, NGC 6104 being of particular interest as it is a rather unusual galaxy, has anyone else observed it? It has ‘2 eyes’ and a bit of a goatie beard 🙂 reminded me rather of M97 in a rather inverted kind of way if that makes sense? Close by was a group of faint small galaxies, the brightest being NGC 6109 (top of my sketch) so I got this and as many others as I could into the same fov.
NGC 6104 a rather peculiar galaxy

NGC 6104 a rather peculiar galaxy

NGC 6109 and friends a busy group

NGC 6109 and friends a busy group

As the sky brightened using the 6″ refractor I took a look at Saturn, so low, at low power, beautiful as always. I then moved onto that ruddy ember, Mars. Seeing was diabolical but I occasionally made out the polar cap and albedo features, the atmospheric conditions making it look like a dancing red and orange jelly bean!

A good deep sky haul

Blog Wed Feb 10th 2016
Here is my tally of observations from a reasonable Deep Sky session last night, SQM at my location read 20.70.
Sadly my camera cannot be fitted with the simple focal reducer as I don’t have enough focus travel in its prime focus location, this meant that I was only able to get around 2/3 of the wonderful Medusa nebula into my fov, still it was a very interesting observation and a first time sketch, my notes say that last observed at Field View astronomy centre with my 20″ Dob, that is an age ago!!
Medusa Nebula PK 205+14.1

Medusa Nebula PK 205+14.1

The Emission nebula & open cluster combo in Orion NGC 2174/5 again is only partial sketch 
due to size, I concentrated on the brightest region of nebulosity, my image only covers a fraction less than the Simbad one and as usual they are quite comparable although orientation differs.
NGC 2174/5 in Orion

NGC 2174/5 in Orion

The 2 ARP’s 63 & 129 in the same Leo Minor fov was very nice, my favourite observation has to be NGC 2964 & 2968 in Leo, lots of detail.
Arp's 63 & 129

Arp’s 63 & 129

A wonderful pair of contrasting galaxies NGC 2964 & 2968

A wonderful pair of contrasting galaxies NGC 2964 & 2968

The remaining 2 observations are quite an interesting pair of galaxies in Gemini NGC 2341 & a structured spiral NGC 2342, the final observation is a rather bland ‘fuzzy’ blob in Leo Minor NGC 2918.
NGC 2341 & NGC 2342

NGC 2341 & NGC 2342

A featureless galaxy  NGC 2918 in Leo Minor

A featureless galaxy NGC 2918 in Leo Minor

3 good deep sky observations

As I write this on the evening of Feb 3rd 2016, I have to admit I have quite a number of lunar observations that I have not written up, I also have a deep sky observing session to catch up on too, rather than add this one from last night to that list I thought I would post quickly as I should have done with the others! Sorry


I am rather pleased with these 3 observations and sketches from late on Tues 2nd Feb 2016 made after I returned from a yoga class 😉
The first is a busy galaxy group NGC 2340 grp in Lynx, this is the Webb Deep Sky Society galaxy of the month, assigned by Owen Brazell, I caught 11 galaxies in the fov, some are  very small and faint, down to approaching Mag 20 I suspect!
NGC 2340 galaxy group, 2340 is the largest galaxy to the lower left

NGC 2340 galaxy group, 2340 is the largest galaxy to the lower left

Next we have a re-visit to Hubble’s variable nebula in Monoceros, wow this looked bright, fantastic detail was seen, far superior to my previous observations.
Hubbles Variable nebula NGC 2261

Hubbles Variable nebula NGC 2261

And last certainly not least, probably the best in my humble opinion, this was a first time observation for me of NGC 2346 in Monoceros, a Bi-polar planetary nebula of incredible beauty, with patience my set up revealed a considerable of its amazing structure.
The stunning bi-polar planetary nebula NGC 2346

The stunning bi-polar planetary nebula NGC 2346

I hope you enjoy looking at this sketches. Dale
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