August 2006 Archives

NGC 7009 - The Saturn Nebula

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Observation Notes: With a prominent Zodiacal Light rising in the northeast, I headed for a planetary nebula. I had a look at the Helix Nebula, but didn't feel like re-sketching it at this point. It's going on two years since Brent Archinal helped me find the Saturn Nebula while...

NGC 663

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Observation Notes: Riding the rush of just finishing a sketch of M17, I considered looking for the "Owl Cluster". However, I couldn't recall the designation, so I went after this beautiful cluster instead. The shape of the cluster seemed to be divided into 4 main clumps arranged north, south,...

Messier 17 - The Swan Nebula

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Click above image to view larger sketch. Observation Notes: From Anderson Mesa, this nebula appears much larger than the typical swan shape that I see from home--even without the UltraBlock filter. The back of the swan is the brightest portion with the neck second brightest. The head appears to have...
Move mouse over upper image for labels. Observation Notes Because I was observing at Anderson Mesa this comet was fairly easy to find, a bit more than a degree southwest of Alrakis in Draco. It was large--about 9 arc minutes--and very diffuse. It was only very slightly condensed, as...

NGC 1502 and Struve 485

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Click on image above for larger version (86K). Observation Notes: This little knot of stars was a stop I made while cruising through Perseus, Cassiopeia and Camelopardalis. As I navigated to the area, I ran into Kemble's Cascade. It was a pleasant surprise--I'm not very familiar with the area...

NGC 1023

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Observation Notes: While browsing my star atlas for likely targets in the cloud free northern stretches of the sky, I ran across a reference to NGC 1023. Even at low power, while centering the view, the galaxy displayed an elongated profile. The 120X view was the best magnification, and...

Messier 8 - Lagoon Nebula

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Click above image for large version. Observation Notes: M8 has been on my list of "ambitious" sketches to do or re-do for a few months now. I observed and sketched it nearly 2 years ago, and have been waiting for the right opportunity this summer. I tried observing and sketching...

NGC 6302 - The Bug Nebula

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Observation Notes: After a very lengthy hiatus from dark sky observing, I headed out to Anderson Mesa in hopes of escaping a summer monsoon cloud-out. Right on qeue though, a load of choppy strato-cumulus gushed out from some nearby storms, and I had to change my observing plans. I...
Table of Contents Introduction Step 1 - The Observation Step 2 - Sketching The View Step 3 - Scanning, Inverting and Cleaning Up the Sketch Step 4 - Softening Star Edges Step 5 - Adjusting contrast Step 6 - Adjusting White Star Cores Step 7 - Adding Color Step 8...
Step 4 - Softening Star Edges To lay the groundwork for adding color to the stars, I like to soften their edges a bit. The coloring method I use causes color to adhere to varying shades of gray, but leaves the white areas alone. If the star has a pretty...
Step 7 - Adding Color Now comes the fun part--aw heck, it's all fun, right? Anyway it's time to colorize the stars as you described them in your sketch or notes. Grab a soft paint brush that is slightly larger than the star, set the paint brush to "color" mode,...
Step 8 - Adding Additional Glow This last step is a bit of a personal preference. I like to add an additional soft glow around brighter stars to enhance the sense of brilliance. To do this, select a soft brush that is 2 to 3 times the diameter of the...
Digital VersionClick image for larger version Pencil Version Sketch Refinement - August 4, 2006 This is another sketch that I ended up refining recently. I wanted to make the weights of the fainter stars less bold to provide a better sense of variation in stellar magnitude that is apparent through...
Click image for larger version. Sketch Refinement - August 1, 2006 I've been wanting to redo the sketch on this observation for some time now. In the original sketch, I plotted a couple key stars near the second dust band too far away from their neighbors. Since I was using...

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