Archive for October, 2016

Nice Lunar photograph

photo from 6:30 am this morning 23-10-16. Clear sky, twilight Chicago USA

photo from 6:30 am this morning 23-10-16. Clear sky, twilight Chicago USA

Frank McCabe

More from Frank McCabe

A great low power sketch from Frank made with a small scope

Furnerius to Langrenus on the terminator

Furnerius to Langrenus on the terminator

60 Degrees East Longitude

Just two days past full Moon the four walled plain craters along the 60° E longitudinal line were just about to experience sunset.  I was hoping to sketch crater Langrenus but the seeing was terrible and the wind was gusting over 40mph. I returned indoors to get my 4.25 inch f/5 Dobsonian and put away the larger telescope. It is not my best effort but the warm air and clear skies were calling.




For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 9”x12”, white and

black Conte’pastel pencils and a blending stump.


Telescope: 4.25 inch f/ 5 Dobsonian and 9mm eyepiece 60x

Date: 10-18-2016 4:45-5:15 UT

Temperature: 21°C (70°F)

Clear, very windy

Seeing:  Antoniadi  IV poor

Co longitude: 113.8°

Lunation:  17 days

Illumination:  95 %


Frank McCabe J

Good work from Frank

I have just had the pleasure of receiving this in my in-box from Frank in Chicagoland, well worth sharing I think 🙂

Northern Crater J Herschel and surrounding area

Northern Crater J Herschel and surrounding area

Northern Lunar Crater J Herschel


The sun was rising across the 165 km wide irregular floor of this walled plain

crater at the time of this observation. J Herschel is a pre-Nectarian crater and

in the observing light was showing off its rubbly, slightly convex floor. With the Imbrium basin formation taking place a couple of hundred million years after the J Herschel forming impact; it is easy to see why this crater looks so old and battered. The well-defined outer rim to the south (up in

this sketch) has its rampart buried under the lavas of Mare Frigoris.



For this sketch I used: Black Canson sketching paper, Black and White Conte’ pastel pencils, a white Pearl eraser, blending stumps and a small brush.

Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece 241X

Date: 10-12-2016, 01:45-02:40 UT

Temperature: 18° C (64° F)

Clear, calm

Seeing: Antoniadi III

Colongitude 39.3 °

Lunation 10.9 days

Illumination 76.4 %


Frank McCabe


I hope to be back with some of my own stuff soon 🙂  Dale

Inspired by Kelling

Arriving home from Kelling Heath on Monday 3rd of October I was obviously fired up with this astronomy business so when the Sun set leaving a cool clear evening I fired up my observatory and made a few sketches. The Webb Deep Sky Society’s web page showed Wolfgang Steinicke’s object of the summer season to be the Saturn nebula NGC 7009 in Aquarius and so I went to this object first. The view on the monitor was interesting rather than striking as this planetary nebula is a bright object and the longer exposure time required to show the ansae thus over exposing the central region making it impossible to detect structure and the central star.

NGC 7009 The Saturn nebula

NGC 7009 The Saturn nebula

I made a drawing and then moved onto some of the other local attractions, M72 a stunning globular looked spectacular on the monitors through both the 20” mirror and the 6” refractor displaying simultaneously. I started a white on black sketch but soon made a proportional error and abandoned it and moved onto the very much simpler M73 an asterism that Charles Messier mistook for a comet in his small optically poor telescope on October 4th 1780, so here I was observing this wedge of stars just one day before the anniversary of its discovery, I like that 🙂  Thinking that I had not sketched this before, I did so, finding out upon filing in the Messier folder that I had sketched it already, well at least it was easy.

M73 an asterism of stars

M73 an asterism of stars


I noted that close to the Saturn nebula there was a galaxy indicated so I took a look, the video camera showed NGC 7010 readily with a bright core extending one end looking rather square compared to the other a tiny faint galaxy was noted off to the left and was captured in my sketch. I doubt this galaxy is observed very often, being passed over for it more glamorous neighbours.

NGC 7010 a galaxy close to the Saturn Nebula in Aquarius

NGC 7010 a galaxy close to the Saturn Nebula in Aquarius


Until next time, Dale

A great time at Kelling Heath

My close friend Es Reid and I spent 4 nights at the Autumn Equinox ‘Star Party’ at Kelling Heath, North Norfolk in the comfort of my aging touring caravan.

We enjoyed observing on 3 of the 4 nights with some memorable views using my 14” Darkstar Dob, Andrew Robertson’s 24” Dob, Rod Greening’s 22” Dob, Mike Atkin’s & Tom Moss Davies 16” Dob’s and last but far from least, Steve Loveday’s amazing 8” binoculars.


The views that stand out in my mind are everything that I looked at through Steve’s binoculars, 2 eyefuls certainly exceed mono observing by quite a margin, and detail in the huge 8” binoculars appeared very similar to that shown in my 14”, especially of the Veil nebula in Cygnus which got lots of attention over the 3 nights.


Andrew’s mighty 24” with its ultra precise goto and super steady tracking blew me away with easy sightings of the central stars in M57 ‘The Ring nebula’ in Lyra and NGC 7662 aka the ‘Blue Snowball’ in Andromeda.


Other interesting observations were made in the seemingly numerous pairs of the low power Vixen 2.1×42 Constellation binoculars×42-Super-Wide-Binocular-p/19172.htm  that were floating around, Harvey Scoot let me try his out. The views through which were just what you wished your unaided eyes could show you under a dark clear sky, namely, M13 easy, M33, the North American neb etc. It would be great to be able to wear these binoculars like glasses as terrestrial vision was undistorted and not overly magnified too so you could safely walk around with them on, perhaps such a development will happen in the near future? If they do we can all walk around at Kelling looking like ‘Minions’



For me a chance to brush up on my totally rust encrusted star hoping skills from the past to locate objects was great if somewhat frustrating fun! Night one I was pretty useless but night by night I improved finding objects such as NGC6229 the 3rd globular cluster in Hercules with ease, the beautiful Crescent nebula in Cygnus and NGC6207 a faint galaxy close to star central M13.


Star gazing forms only part of the joy of Kelling, the laughter, banter and pranks are endless, day & night they continue with friends, making it such a precious time  🙂


Curry night with Spadge (Graham Sparrow) cooking up another superhot veggie curry in my caravan will go down in ‘hedgerow history’ I will say no more but others who were there or close and read this will know what I mean. I must mention an early morning visit from Jack Martin the ultra passionate Londoner Spectroscopist totally bent on demonstrating to Es and I the Suns spectrum via a Victorian grating and using the reflection of the Suns rays from the handle of his tin opener! All the time Jack was protesting about the fact, or possibly his fact that only 1% of astronomers understood and appreciated the importance of spectroscopy in understanding the Universe and its formation and composition.


Unfortunately I took few pictures being too busy sampling fine Malt Whisky and home made beer, but I did catch one of Gain Lee’s incredible scope display on his pitch, proving that one just can’t have enough telescopes 🙂

Gain Lee's many telescopes

Gain Lee’s many telescopes

Looking forward to Spring Kelling next April 2017 with perhaps a visit inbetween to the Haw Wood star party!


Bye for now, Dale

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