General Category

Last month's presentation at NCRAL went really well. On Friday night, a group of about 35 attended the workshop where we practiced deep sky (M51/NGC 5195), planetary (Jupiter), and lunar (Cassini Crater: Thanks to Mike Wirths for the use of his image) sketching. Each attendee was supplied with sketch templates...
A few months ago, I set up a reference page about how to determine cardinal directions through the eyepiece so you can add them to your sketches. After setting up the placeholder for that page, I completely spaced-out adding the actual content. I'm very sorry to anyone who followed the...

Why the Dry Spell

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I've been falling behind here, I know. I've still got some doubles to post, and a new full-disc Lunar sketch. I'm also hoping to get a look at the latest McNaught (C/2009 R1) in the next few days...I'll be sure and post when I do! One of the things that...

April 2009 Update

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The May 2009 issue of Astronomy Now is out. The Drawn to the Universe column in this issue features a graphite sketch of M3 which focuses on using stippling technique to convey granularity. While preparing for upcoming issues, I've been working with a wider selection of materials and techniques so...

Oops...

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If you checked the site in the last 24 hours and ran across a 'published material' entry on the main page--that was an accident. Sorry for the train-wreck that you had to see :) (I'm hacking a resource page together, and inadvertently lobbed it to the wrong spot.) I FINALLY...
If you subscribe to Sky and Telescope, keep your eyes open for the article More of My Favorite Double Stars by James Mullaney in the September 2006 issue. I was invited to submit a few double star sketches to help illustrate the article. The author lists a couple dozen autumn...

Still Here

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Hi folks, I haven't abandoned this site. I promise. I've actually been working very heavily on a couple of astro-related projects during my nights and weekends and lunch breaks and whenever I can squeeze in an extra moment. It hasn't left much time for anything else unfortunately, including getting new...
A couple weeks ago, while at the SAC meeting at Lowell Observatory, Padraig Houlahan noted that an Iridium Satellite was going to flare up to -8 magnitude shortly after the meeting. I had never seen one of these reflective rascals before, so I made sure to set up the camera...

January 7 Update

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As you've probably noticed, things haven't been very busy in the realm of astronomy around here lately. Over the past month, I did manage to make 1 minor planet and 3 DSO observations. I've added them as follows: M50 M29 Asteroid 3 Juno NGC 869 and NGC 884 (The Double...

Digitizing Tutorial Added

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I just added a tutorial for digitizing scanned sketches. I hope you find it helpful if you're interested. I also hope it doesn't have too many typos or errors. Please give me a heads-up if anything jumps out at you. Also, I apologize for the heavy load time for the...

Absence

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Woah. I'd like to apologize for not having updated is so long. I've been wiped out by cold and flu for over a month. I haven't been able to get out and observe at all. The weather is getting nicer, and I'm hoping to finally get rid of this nagging...

Belt of Venus over Flagstaff

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Seeing as I've named this place The Belt of Venus I figured I should at least get a picture of the phenomenon. So I drove up Mars Hill a couple days ago at sunset, parked just outside the entrance to Lowell Observatory, faced east and got this shot--...

Orion Constellation Addition

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I've added an older observation of Orion from January 1, 2005....

Published Material

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Updated December 25, 2010 Books Astronomical Sketching: A Step-by-Step Introduction (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) By Richard Handy, David B. Moody, Jeremy Perez, Erika Rix, Sol Robbins.Published by Springer, 2007. Contributed three chapters: Comets, Star Clusters, and Nebulae. Stargazing with Binoculars Firefly book by Robin Scagell and David Frydman -...

Astrophotography Gallery

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I am in the process of upgrading, adding and moving photos to my new photo gallery. Click Here for New Astronomy Photo Gallery I believe the new gallery will eventually do a better job displaying and navigating photos. Apart from the planet section, photos in each section are listed in...

About the Site

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On a clear evening, if you can peel your eyes away from the vibrant pinks, reds and oranges of a fading sunset, and turn to the east, you might take a few minutes to treat yourself to the Belt of Venus--a band of soft, glowing color that hovers over the...

Clouds, rain, and logjams

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Just so you don't think I've bailed on this site... I've been out of town on a couple trips lately and then there's been the clouds. And the drizzle. And the snow. And trust me, with the longstanding drought, I'm not complaining. In general. But it is a little discouraging...

M27 and M57 added

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FYI, I've added a couple legacy observations--M27 and M57--to the site. Sorry folks, but don't expect great sketches with those two. They are from my hasty-pen period....
I've added a few more legacy observations--M29, M31, M32, M71, and M110. The M31 entry is an addition to a previous observation....

M22, M74 & M77 Added

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3 more previous observations have been entered: M22, M74, and M77....

M28, M55, & M73 Added

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I've added 3 more legacy observations: M28, M55 and M73....

M2, M8, M39, M45, and M80 Added

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I've added the last of my backlogged entries: M2 M8 M39 M45 M80 And so now, the pressure is on to get some fresh observations posted, right? :-D...
I was going through my astronomy log book and ran across a couple observations I made back in March that never got plugged in here. Because this site is chronological, I need to link you to them: M48 Vallis Alpes Thanks for stopping by....

Added M16, Mars and Neptune

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I added some observations from earlier in the month. You can find them here: M16 Mars Neptune...

Double Star Entries Added

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I had five double star entries that needed to get added. The Astronomical League Double Star list is excellent. These are beautiful star pairs. Anyway, here are the new observations: Eta Cassiopeiae [ALDS 1] Gamma Andromedae [ALDS 8] Iota Trianguli [ALDS 9] Otto Struve 525 [ALDS 83] Epsilon Pegasi [ALDS...

Recent Additions

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What with posting my Mars observations as quickly as possible, I've just gotten around to uploading some Messier observations from last week that are a little out of place due to chronology: M21 M23 M26 M24 M18...

Planning a Major Observing Night

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So, I'm still working on this big astro project. Which involves a lot of not-at-the-scope research and exposition. Which has been a bit of a bummer. But now, a major portion of it has come to a head and requires a field trip. Especially the hunt for dark nebulae...and a...

Double Star Illustration Update

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If you thought new double star observations and sketches were getting pretty skimpy around here, you'd be right. It looks like I went through most of 2009 with only one double star sketch added. The reason is that I've been trying to work on a new process for my digital...

A Few Site Problems

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If you tried to access my site over the last couple weeks, you've probably had trouble loading pages, especially from the 11th to 14th of September. It turns out the commenting script for my site was suddenly getting hammered really, REALLY bad by comment spammers--100 or more separate spams at...

Bio Page

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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...
I've added a couple more of my observation sketch/note forms in pdf format: a Naked Eye observation form and a Condensed observation form. You can get them here. There is also an entry for M63 from a few weeks ago that I realized I hadn't added....

Astronomical Sketching Resources

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UPDATED: JULY 17, 2014 I am in the process of gradually re-organizing this page. I hope the updated layout will be easier to scan. Links in the updated sections below will be listed alphabetically by the name of the page. Belt of Venus Sketching Resources Astronomical Sketch Gallery Gallery of...
I just received a copy of the November 2008 issue of Astronomy Now. The Focus section this month is dedicated to visual observing and sketching. I had the pleasure of preparing one of the articles, "How to Draw the Universe". Peter Grego wrote the article "Moonwalking". Neil Bone and Keith...
In case you hadn't noticed, I'm a big fan of astronomical sketching. Which is why I'm excited to direct your attention to a new site that was launched last week. In the spirit of the Astronomy Picture of the Day, and the Lunar Photo of the Day, this new site...

Broken Comments

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OK. The comment feature was messed up again due to a 'fix' that broke more than it fixed. If you've tried to leave a comment over the last week or so, I fear that it was lost into the nothingness. Sorry about that. It appears to be working now. :)...

Double Star Sketches

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The following sketches are listed in alphabetical order (not by constellation). Click the thumbnail title to go to the observation report. Click the image thumbnail to go to the full-size image. Updated NOV 2, 2008 Alpha Canum Venaticorum Alpha Capricorni Alpha Geminorum Alpha Leonis Alpha Librae Alpha Piscium Alpha Scorpii...

Huge Site Update

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You might have noticed some visual and functional differences here over the last couple weeks. Hopefully, they're all for the better. This site is administered by Movable Type software. The templates I was using were pretty old, and for the past 2 or 3 years, every system upgrade I loaded,...
On Sunday (AUG 19, 2007), Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-118) undocked from the International Space Station a few days ahead of schedule. This was to allow them to return from orbit before Hurricane Dean could threaten to depopulate Mission Control in Houston. One of the seven occupants of the Shuttle is...

Links

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Groups and Organizations Cloudy Nights Forums Comprehensive Astronomy Discussions The Coconino Astronomical Society Flagstaff & N. AZ Astronomy The Astronomical League Great source for observing programs Scientific Frontline Science news site with much astronomy related news and information. Images and sketches can be found in the member gallery. Mt. Lemmon...

Lunar Sketches

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Sketches are listed in chronological order with the most recent first. Click the thumbnail title to go to the observation report. Click the image thumbnail to go to the full-size image. Vallis Schröteri& SurroundingsAPR 28, 2007 Schiller andBayer CratersSEP 4, 2006 Hippalus CraterOCT 12, 2005 Promontorium LaplaceSEP 12, 2005 Clavius...

Messier Object Sketches

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Click the thumbnail title to go to the observation report. Click the image thumbnail to go to the full-size image. M1(37.5X) M1(120X) M2 M3 M4 M5 M6 M7 M8 M8Hourglass Nebula M9 M10 M11 M12 M13 M14 M15 M16July 3, 2008 M16July 5, 2005 M17 M18 M19 M20 M21 M22...

Minotaur DARPAS Satellite Launch

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Before tonight, I've never witnessed the shimmering plume of a distant rocket launch. I've seen pictures on the news and in print of the spiraling, swirling, opalescent clouds the rockets leave behind, but I've always wanted to see it for myself. Well today, I got an email, forwarded by the...

Naked Eye Sketches

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Sketches are listed in chronological order with the most recent first. Click the thumbnail title to go to the observation report. Click the image thumbnail to go to the full-size image. WinterMilky WayOCT 31, 2009 CruxJUN 04, 2007 C/2006 P1(McNaught)Synchronic BandsJAN 20, 2007(Inverted Charcoal) C/2006 P1(McNaught)Synchronic BandsJAN 20, 2007(White Conté)...

Non-Messier DSO Sketches

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Updated DEC 14, 2008 Click the thumbnail title to go to the observation report. Click the image thumbnail to go to the full-size image. NGC Catalog NGC 206 NGC 404 NGC 436 NGC 457 NGC 604 NGC 663 NGC 654 NGC 869 NGC 884 NGC 891 NGC 1023 NGC 1501...
I've been collecting photographs and information for several of the observing sites I've used or scouted around Flagstaff. My intention has been to eventually put together a list of Northern Arizona observing sites with detailed information, maps and photos of each. My inspiration has been the excellent Tucson area observing...

Site Update

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I regret that I haven't had any new observations to post recently. I have, however, been putting a lot of work into the structure of the site. I'm a print-media designer by trade, not a web designer. So I knew there were probably a lot of inefficiencies and poor choices...

Sketch Gallery

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Messier ObjectSketches Deep SkySketches Double StarSketches Solar Sketches Lunar Sketches Comet Sketches Planet Sketches Naked Eye Sketches BinocularSketches...

Sketch Gallery Added

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Years ago, I was in a 4-H entomology group and I had this huge collection of insects in a large box under glass. They were all arranged by taxonomical order and size in rows and columns. It was a nice little piece of structure and fascination in my life. It...
A few months ago, I put together a presentation called Sketching the Deep Sky that I delivered to the Coconino Astronomical Society. It covered the Why and How of astronomical sketching for deep sky objects, including two step-by-step tutorials. Over the last few months, I've made some improvements to it,...
You may have noticed I suddenly stopped sketching comet Lulin. I got jackhammered by some sort of cold/flu/fever/virus thing last week and have just had to imagine the comet dwindling away outside my front door. Probably for the best I guess. Lulin could have easily pulled a 'comet Holmes' on...

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