Observations, July 15th through July 16th, 2010; NGC 5689, 5557, 6543, 5322, 6144, 5897, 6171, 6356, 6342, 6369, 6401, M 27

Edit: I've decided to start adding my original sketches next to the digital. I will openly admit I like many of the originals but in most cases of galaxies etc. I prefer the digital as it conveys to me what I saw. In the end each person must decide. Remember I don't claim to be a world class sketcher, just someone who does it to record what my experience and what I saw. Star placements will most likely be off. If you see a correction on the digital from the original, it is because I probably checked the star field and attempted to correct it. I hope you enjoy both and that someone besides me learns from this experience. It is a worthwhile one taking up cloudy nights.

Well back to a "normal" entry I guess. I have wanted to do some lunar observing but tonight is the first night I've had and there are relatives in town. I believe the moon is almost 90% of full so it may not have been good seeing. You'll find in this post that I open up some more about me and this hobby. Hope you don't mind, its part of who I am. You can always ignore it.

Here are my observations from three nights. By the way, I almost have completed the July observing list for O'Meara's book this month. Just one or two objects which I hope to get in a week or so. It has been a LONG time since I have been able to do that type of observing. Spring was not good for observing this year in Utah. As always, the observation details are included in the sketch if you wish to observe them.

1. NGC 5689 Barred Spiral Galaxy. I like the digital sketch I did of this one, a lot.

2. NGC 5557 Elliptical Galaxy

3. NGC 6543 Planetary Nebula Cat's Eye Nebula; The color reflects how my friend Daniel and I observed it that night. It was a great night for viewing and this sketch captures what I saw. Central star is there, as it was that night. You just have to focus on it.

The original sketch:

4. Messier 27, The Dumb-bell nebula. Two sketches that I've posted, I'm posting the one I like the best . . . It brings up a point I constantly go back and forth on. I really enjoy making my digital sketches yet I also like enhancing my actual sketches. I just don't share my actual sketches too much so I may start posting both so people can decide which they like and why. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to the question . . . Which do I prefer, the actual sketch inverted and cleaned up or a digital rendering of the sketch? I will say this sketch means a lot to me, because it was for that moment that I re-captured the thrill of seeing things for the first time, things that really stood out, that my experience and learning have brought out to me. It reminded me of why I drive miles and observe, for moments like this. They are those magic moments I speak of; of the times when I become absorbed in what I am viewing, in what I am recording. I have to remember to breathe, to not jump around the scope and to get on with the business of capturing that moment via a sketch. I guess that night on this object, I realized that yes, sketching has vastly improved me as a visual observer and that is one reason that I sketch. Yet for me, it is not THE reason why I sketch. I sketch because I want to recall the experience, to recapture the emotions, the intellectual thought process, and thus strengthen my memory of the event. So I post my sketches for me, to have a place where they are (one of several sites) so I can see my improvement as a visual observer and as a sketcher, and to show others that if I can do it, so can you.

5. NGC 5322 Elliptical Galaxy:

The original sketch:

6. NGC 6144 Globular Cluster

and the original:

7. NGC 5897 Globular Cluster

and the original:

8. NGC 6171 or Messier 107 Globular Gluster

I observed this but did not sketch it because of time. I've observed it over 5 times over the last several years, and it takes magnification wonderfully. The globular sits at the bottom of an equilateral triangle. Even at low power a bright inner core is evident with individual stars clearly visible. Inner core is 1/4 the size of the entire globular which the remaining 3/4 is the outer halo with individual stars. Summarize this one as small, tight and bright.

9. NGC 6356 Globular Cluster

10. NGC 6342 Globular Cluster

11. NGC 6369 Planetary Nebula and I feel, my best sketch of all my sketches in this set. I really like how I captured what I saw in this sketch. The central star is very close to how I saw it with its outer ring around it.

12. NGC 6401 Globular Cluster

13. NGC 6284 Globular Cluster

Clear skies and good luck in your observing.


  1. Hi Jay

    Well I, for one, like to know a little bit about people so it's nice to read a bit about your approach to sketching. Your reasons for sketching mirror, to a large extent, my own. It's nice to try and capture the essense, not only of an object but an entire session. I look back at my old stuff and am immediately transported back to that moment.
    I'd love to see your original sketches. Your digital sketches are great but there's something magic about originals. :)

    Clear skies to you

  2. Thanks Faith for the input.

    Looks like I have a project for the full moon period when my observing grinds to a halt. I think I'll post the recent ones since I have them easily available and then start posting the digital with the original as a compare and contrast. I think that process may actually help to improve my both sketches as I think about what I like about both and then how to transfer those to each method.


    Clear skies,


  3. This has been a wonderful introduction into astro sketching, as well as the capabilities of the xx14i. My expectations for both are much clearer, and the Wow factor being more from your sketches than the scope.