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I'm an art director / graphic designer, working in Flagstaff, Arizona (USA). I got my start designing for print media in 1990, down the hill in Phoenix. I especially enjoy working with technical illustration, and amateur astronomy has provided a great outlet for that.

I've been interested in astronomy since I was a kid growing up under the light-polluted skies of Phoenix. I made my first rough sketches while tracking Jupiter's moons with binoculars for a couple weeks during the '80s.

One evening during the summer of 2004, ten years after moving to Flagstaff, we had a lengthy power failure. So, my wife, two kids and I went outside, laid down on the driveway and feasted on the fat, marbled, summer Milky Way. With all the lights out on our side of town, it was magnificent beyond words. And it was peaceful. Quiet. Dark. Beautiful. I couldn't stand it. I felt that I really needed to explore this spectacle and see with my own eyes what I had been fascinated by for so long. And after living mere minutes from some of the darkest skies in the country for ten years, it seemed like it was about time.

After investing in my 6-inch (150 mm) Equatorial Newtonian, I got busy exploring the night sky every chance I could. Loads of online research had encouraged me to be sure I documented my observations as a means of learning how to see these marvelous objects, to track my progress in detecting them, and to just keep them as records. Several astronomy websites I browsed encouraged not just note-taking, but sketching. I decided to give it a try, and began with very casual, messy drawings of the first Messier objects I encountered. At first, those sketches helped me to confirm that I had indeed spotted the right object, and I was happy with that. After a few observations though, I realized that the process really was helping my ability to pick out details. I started to see each object not just as another splash of stars or lump of mist, but as unique marvels, rich with personality and detail waiting to be extracted by a patient eye. I also realized that I actually enjoyed trying to accurately capture the visual impression of those wondrous forms on paper. And that's what I've been working on since then, and what I hope to convey on this site.

I had the pleasure of working with four other amateur astronomers/sketchers to co-author a book published in May 2007:

I currently write and illustrate a column on astronomical sketching for Astronomy Now and provide sketches to Astronomy Now (UK), Astronomy Magazine (US), Sky and Telescope, and a few other publications. I'm trying to keep a list here: Published Material

I hope you enjoy the site,
Jeremy Perez

38 Comments

Jeremy,

I live here in Flagstaff, too. I tried to view the comet on Sunday the 14th and it was too cloudy and the sky was filled with high altitude ice clouds. Pretty frustrating. Had I bittered the cold I think I would have gotten a glimpse of it as you did on that day.

However on the 15th the sky was much clearer. I saw it immediately after I left the house at 10:15 AM.

I got the glimpse of it when I covered the sun with my hand. I would say that it was maybe 6 deg away and my estimation of its magnitude was about -4 or more as Venus at the time was -3.9. It is hard to tell the magnitude when the comet is still so close to the sun. But I certainly think that it must have been brighter as it was so close the sun's glare.

When I got to work at Quality Connections here in Flagstaff on Huntington Drive. I stood outside and viewed it again. That was at 11:00 AM. It was quite visible and I scanned to the east and was able to spot Venus. Still my sense of the comet's brilliance was that it being closer to the sun was certainly brighter than Venus.

I could see with without optical aid a very faint cone shaped cloud like tail. Perhaps .5 degree or maybe more long.

I called out some of my co-workers to view it as well to confirm my sightings. At first they did not see it but when I showed them how to spot it it quite apparent to them.

I watched it on and off till 3:00 PM when the haze made it more difficult to see. But Venus was still high and very clear. Mag -3.9 to -4?

Then the next day, the 16th, I saw it at the same times 10:00 Am to 3:00 PM. Again I had my co-workers view it and they were amazed to have seen it more clearly than the day before, for it had moved out and away from the sun's glare. My perception of it was that it appeared brighter than Venus, much more so than the day before. The tail was not as distinct though. It with no optical enhancement looked like a lopsided cloud with a starlike point toward the sun.

Then I saw it again on the 17th, and then again on the 18th. At each sighting the location at 12:00 PM was different than the previous day. And the distance from the sun increased so that on the last sighting it is my estimate that it was mabye 10 to 12 degrees away from the sun. One could actually trace the orbit of the comet over these four days it went from 6 degrees to nearly 12 tracking down toward the south and to the west.

Then later that last night on the 18th, I went up to USGS and saw Venus set. The upper part of the tail was visible. Shafts of pale light going up. I counted three very clearly, and maybe several more with averted vision.

All told it was an amazing thing to have finally seen a daylight comet. I missed Ikeya Seki in 1965 because no one then told me how to look for it in the day. I did not even see it in night. So this sighting over those four days was quite gratifying.

Now the only regret I have is that I did not make a record of it other than the impression that I made in showing others how to see it.

However, my memory is quite good of this remarkable comet and how I viewed it and I would like to make a drawing with my hands up blocking the sun and showing what I could see with my naked eye.

I can draw well and I think that that is what I will do. However, do you know if photoshop can be used? I could take a photo of my hand as I held them up against the sky and then after that is done draw in how I remember seeing the comet. Do you think that this could be done? I don't have any experience with photoshop.

Steve Schoner
Flagstaff, AZ

Steve, that was a great report about your midday observations of the comet. I tried to find it on the 15th and 16th from work during lunch, but didn't spot it. I was definitely not dressed for the chill and wind we had on those days and wasn't feeling very patient as I tried to find it. I'm glad you were able to observe it multiple days in a row as well as catch some of the emerging synchronic bands later in the week. I think that photographing your hand against the sky and using that as a template for a sketch of the comet is an excellent idea. It's definitely possible to sketch the comet in Photoshop. That's what I did for all three of my twilight observations. The problem is that it can be a bit tricky to get Photoshop to produce a sketch that looks the way you want, particularly if you are new to the program. On my list of things to do, I plan to draw up a tutorial about how I produced those digital comet sketches with Photoshop. I'm not sure when I'll be able to put that together though. Have you considered taking a photo of your hand against the sky, printing that out, and then using it as a template to do a hand-drawn sketch of the comet? If you end up doing it, let me know. I'd love to see the result.

Jeremy

I love your site! Of course I could be prejudice remembering our fun times together.

Recently I went down to Rocky Point and slept out on the patio of the beach house where we were staying.
Incredible vision at night. Awesome is a word used to often. Should be reserved for a star filled night. Oh,,,,,,,,the milky way. Almost too much to take in. Night after night the beauty of it all.
Thanks for your great site!
I shared it with one of my employers who is a school teacher.

Joan Benton

Hi Joan! I'm glad you stopped by the website.

Staring up into an unpolluted, star-filled sky is something that goes beyond words to describe. All too often, people don't even realize that the night sky can look so majestic. Let me know if you or your employer have any questions. Sorry we missed you when we were in Phoenix last month.

Take care,
Jeremy

Hey Jeremy!
I found that you added my site to your links and I thought I would pay you back and now I have your site in my links. I wanted to know if you were interested in some sort of partnership between our websites, meaning that we could make "guest" appearances on each other's websites, mutually posting articles and creating a bond between our readers, and therefore increasing our audience... Drop me an email if you're interested

Hi Clement, thanks for your comment. I've sent an email your way.

Jeremy

You stated above that, "I got busy exploring the night sky every chance I could. Loads of online research had encouraged me to be sure I documented my observations as a means of learning how to see these marvelous objects, to track my progress in detecting them, and to just keep them for general posterity. A number of astro websites I landed on encouraged not just note-taking, but sketching."

Can tell me what were the best sites that gave you the most help?

Interested teacher,
Sammie

Hi Sammie, when it comes to sketching observations, I have a pretty extensive list of sites here: Astronomical Sketching Resources. In particular, take a look at the "Astronomical Sketching Essays" section for sites that discuss the benefits of sketching as a way of improving observing skill.

Overall though, the sites I benefited from the most are:

Bill Ferris' Cosmic Voyage
Bill has a great deal of content at his site. Including observing notes and sketches of hundreds of objects. Be sure to browse the discussion links from his main page as he describes the joy of visual observing and helpful methods for doing so.

Cloudy Nights
Be sure to browse the articles and forums here. There is an enormous wealth of information about every topic related to amateur astronomy.

Astronomical Weblinks by S. Waldee. Is an exceptional astronomy portal. He has a great selection of excellent websites covering all manner of topics. He thoroughly reviews each site, so you can determine whether you would like to spend time browsing it before you even go there.

For visual observing, this article: Visual Astronomy by Auke Slotegraaf is a great primer.

There are a number of other sites I found useful along the way for a variety of reasons. I hope these links provide a starting point. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Jeremy

Hi Jeremy,

Enjoyed your talk very much Friday at SAC in Phoenix on sketching. Are you going to the Messier Marathon? I think I will sketch all 110 in one night, you have shown how easy it can be!

Jack

Hi Jack, it was a pleasure to speak to the SAC on Friday. I got some helpful feedback during & after the talk. Getting to this year's Messier Marathon is something I'm really hoping to do. And I was chewing on the same idea of doing a very basic sketch of each. Instead of an Imaging Messier Marathon, it's a Sketching Messier Marathon. I look forward to seeing or hearing about your results! Here's hoping gobs of cirrus don't plug everything up.

Jeremy

Hi Jeremy, I was staying at my ranch east of Showlow between 5/13 and 5/21 09 and awoke about 4:00 am on at least 2 mornings (about 5/17-18 I think) to see a fairly large bright object in the eastern sky to the lower left of the moon. My first thought was Venus but it was far bigger than any star I have ever seen. It remained there until after sunrise. Any idea as to what this was?
Thanks,
Keith

Hi Keith, that sounds a lot like Venus. It can be distractingly bright at this point in its orbit. Here is a bit of info from Sky and Telescope: Sky at a Glance. With a crescent moon nearby, it can be a fantastic sight.

Jeremy,

Fantastic web site--a work of art. This is just what I have been looking for! The section on double stars is incredible. It has inspired me to start observing these celestial gems again. The last time I viewed Zeta Bootes with a telescope in the late 1970s the seperation was 1.2 arc seconds. It is know just under 0.7. It is great to be back.

Michael, thanks very much, that's great to hear! Tracking the progress of a fast/close double is just amazing. I hope you enjoy the views.

Jeremy

Dear Jeremy,
I've really been enjoying your astro-sketches. As a beginner sketcher myself, I've found your information very handy to help get me going. I'm going to get a copy of your book now.
I maintain a weblog on nature and astronomy observations "Bishopthorpe Nature" from my home near York in the UK, which includes a sketch gallery. I'd be very happy if you could provide a link to it:
http://bishnature.wordpress.com/
Keep up the good work and I look forward to future posts!
Peter Mayhew

Call for Entries for “Navigating by the Stars: Art Inspired by the Night Sky”

True North Gallery is seeking submissions for “Navigating by the Stars: Art Inspired by the Night Sky,” a juried exhibition that will run from November 14 to January 30.

IDEAS FOR EXPLORING THE THEME
All works must in some way address the theme of the exhibit. Subjects, motifs, forms, and ideas for possible exploration include (but are not limited to): stars, constellations, astronomical star charts/maps, planispheres, sextants, astrolabes, celestial phenomena (such as the aurora borealis and meteor showers), night migrations (such as those by birds and other animals that navigate by the stars), and astral religions and myths.

For information about True North Gallery, visit: www.truenorthgallery.net
For complete guidelines, please email: gallerydirector@truenorthgallery.net
Or visit True North’s blog: http://truenorthgallery.net/blog/

Jeremy,
Your site is awesome it really give s a idea that astronomy is not confined to only to
costly scopes and dark skies it can be enjoyed
seriously in light polluted skies also with a
bit patience , yes it is cool!!!!!!

Debayan

Thanks very much, Debayan.

Although I have to admit, even when I observe in town from my home, the sky quality compared to most urban/suburban areas is still very good. I just have to be sure to shield my eyes from direct glare, but otherwise, the high altitude keeps any light pollution from otherwise lighting the sky up heavily.

It can definitely be frustrating to observe where the skies are milky white or orange from light pollution and haze. However, by taking time to examine an object carefully, and (you knew I was going to say it :) by sketching, an observer can really get the most out of whatever conditions they have to deal with.

And when the light pollution is really bad, the moon, sun, planets, double stars, and brighter deep sky objects are still fascinating subjects.

Thanks for the comment and the enthusiasm. I hope you enjoy some more observing soon.

Jeremy

Hi Jeremy,
Just visited your site. Awesome, and well-organised. Can I include a link from my website? I have just written a book called "Handbook of Binocular Astronomy" and some of it is on my site (go to the "read the book" link). Love to add you to the links page.
Michael Poxon
Norwich, UK

Hi,

I've been asked by Springer to revise the book `Observing and Measuring Visual Double Stars' and wondered if you'd like to contribute a chapter on how to sketch double stars?

Regards

Hi Bob,

I've sent you an email.

Thanks,
Jeremy

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the note about your site. I've enjoyed browsing the entries. And certainly, feel free to add the link if you wish.

Clear skies,
Jeremy

Dear Jeremy:

Your site is exceptional. The drawings are excellent, and as astronomy's teacher always a big problem to explain how you see the deep sky Object through the telescope, until now. Your drawings are accurate visions of the stars through the telescope in dark skies.
I put a link to your site from my blog.
Congratulations on the excellent work.

http://infobservador.blogspot.com/2010/09/como-se-ven-los-astros-traves-del.html

Thanks Claudio, very nice work on your site as well.

Jeremy

Hello Jeremy,

Many months ago I ventured to do a lunar eclipse sketch and enjoyed it very much.

Early today I was enjoying the clear skies with Orion and Cassiopeia. While tweeting about that a few minutes ago, it occurred to me to do a search in Google for Orion sketch and that is how I found your site.

I also had power blackout experience when I was a little kid, I couldn't believe how amazing the sky looked and also wished for the power not to come back :) - To this day I have not experienced such lack of light pollution as I did when I was young.

Great site you have here. I will have to come back to read some more.

Before I leave, I wanted to share with you an International sketching event we have every few months. It would be great if you could participate and share your astronomical sketches with us. Our next event is on January 22, 2011. The URL is: http://www.sketchcrawl.com/

Thanks again for sharing your site with us.

Hi Gus, thanks for your comment. I hope you get to catch some dark skies from time to time.

The sketch crawl is a great idea. Not sure if I can manage a full day of sketching, but it would be an outstanding challenge. I'll be sure to drop by the next time I pull an all-night sketched Messier Marathon though!

Jeremy

Hi Jeremy,

I'm doing a short (10min) Sky Diary for our society's February meeting.

http://www.imagepalette.com/_mas/

And I want to ask you. Can I please use one of your drawings of the Orion nebula in my talk.

I think your drawing Is an accurate rendition of what you expect to see through a telescope, instead of a bright and colour full CCD image which gives you a false impression.

http://www.perezmedia.net/beltofvenus/archives/images/2010/img2010011401_M42lg.jpg

Many thanks

Paul Anthony Brierley.

Hi Paul, thanks for the request. Please feel free to use it for your Sky Diary presentation. If it helps, you could use the sketch found here instead:

Drawn to the Universe JANUARY 2011 - Messier 42/43 Sky Quality Comparison

This one shows sketches of M42 as seen from a dark sky and a light polluted sky.

Jeremy

Hi, I really like your site. I live in Spain and I have been asked to do the Stars of the month part of a blog run by an astronomy club. I would like to know if it would be possible to use some or your drawings as examples for the stars I include. Thanks Lori

Hi Lori, thanks for the request. I have sent an email.

Jeremy

Jeremy,

You are doing a great job in the promotion of visual observing and sketching. I really enjoy visiting your site. We at the Las Vegas Astronomical Society are attempting to do the same. In February 2009 we started the Observers Challenge to promote visual observing and sketching. We select one deep-sky object per month (objects selected in advance) and then compile all contributions. We present a report at the end of the month, which includes individuals notes, sketches and also digital images. We then post on the LVAS website. In a short time we have gained readers from almost every state, and now our greatest gain is outside of the US. It is open to anyone with an interest in astronomy, primarily the visual observer.

www.lvastronomy.com then the Observers Challenge link.

Thanks, Roger Ivester

Great pages, wonderful information,presented very well. I've admired you contributions to Cloudy Nights for years. I just had to say thanks.
Be Well
Grey

Grey, thanks very much for the comment, I'm glad the site has been helpful!

Dear Jeremy Perez,

I like to use your sketch of M87 (with NGC 4478 and 4476) of Apr 21, 2009 for an article about the constellation Virgo in Zenit, a magazine for popular astronomy (in Dutch) in the Netherlands.

Can you give me permission to do so? I'll mention the author !

Best regards,

Mat Drummen

Hi Matt,

Thanks for contacting me about the sketch. I've sent an email your way.

Kind regards,
Jeremy

Hi there, Jeremy.
Do you have an email address I could reach you at?
Cheers

Hi Jeremy,
Your drawing of Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS is lovely. I also enjoy your most recent image which makes me wish for clear skies in Duluth sometime soon. My name is Bob King and I write a daily blog called Astro Bob (astrobob.areavoices.com) and I would love to use your drawing and possibly photo of PANSTARRS in a short update tomorrow March 15. May I have your permission? I will be sure to credit you. Thank you for letting me know.
Best regards,
Bob

Hello Jeremy,
I came across your site when looking for reports of weather in Flagstaff for the week of March 12, 2013.

I'm writing a book and the main characters go to university there at NAU. Although the bulk of the story is in the future, it began last October. I had written it a few years ago when last October and this spring were still in the future! I am having fun now updating situations in the book to match actual facts (snow, temperatures, etc.)

At this point in time (the week of Mar 12), they are separated and she is telling him (via email) about her experience going out and seeing the comet! This is certainly nothing that I could have foreseen a few years ago! How exciting! I wanted to make sure that the weather conditions were favourable to see it, and that's when I came across your fantastic pictures! I loved the ones from McMillan Mesa and have included that in the book. Do you remember an imaginary woman peeking through your telescope? That was her!

I just wanted you to know that I really enjoyed 'being there' with you and your family, and imagine how my character felt when she was able to see this magnificent sight!

Clouds in Calgary have not cooperated, but they did clear up last night in time to see the Moon pass between Jupiter and Aldebaran. Beautiful!! Maybe tonight we'll be able to see the comet!

Thank you again, for sharing the experience!
Peggy

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