Messier 45 and Venus, April 3rd, Sketching M42 over time.

On Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 the clouds cleared enough here in northern Utah, that in the early evening I was able to capture Messier 45 and Venus next to it.  I did several sketches, taking from 7:30p.m. until 9:30p.m. to try and capture it.  One I did in my 9x50 finder and the other was in my 10 inch dob with a 27mm Panoptic.  Venus gave a very heavy glare and being in light pollution with only so so skies meant no other details.  Here are the two sketches.

Messier 45 and Venus.  I tried to capture the glare of Venus in each sketch.  This is in the 9x50 RACI Finder. Again, you can click on the sketches to simply view them in order in a larger format.

 This is in the 10 inch dob using my 27mm Panoptic.  I tried to capture some of the glare in Venus and the original sketch had this, but I picked up some of the pastel dust so when I went to adjust the contrast and brightness, I lost some of the glare that I had sketched in from Venus.

 I haven't published a sketch of Messier 42 in some time.  Well, to be honest, it was this sketch that I did and it reminds me more of a nightmare than of a sketch.


 Later came this attempt at Messier 42.  An improvement over the nightmare but still leaving much to be desired in my opinion. 

 Well, I finally put together a sketch that I'll post here of Messier 42.  It's not great, but I can see the improvement in both my sketching and in the amount of detail I am actually taking in. Hunting, observing, writing down or recording all the details on the Herschel 400 and 400 II is paying off at the eyepiece.  I use to feel bad about only observing ten to fourteen objects when others would get thirty or more.  Yet for me, I think sketching has done what I always wanted it to do, make me a better observer of details while teaching me patience. In terms of my artistic skills, as I put in practice time and actual time at the eyepiece, I think I am improving slightly.

 I would say that aperture, the ones above were done in a XT8 and then a XT10 scope and this sketch was done in my 14 inch and 20 inch dob also helps in observing details of DSO's.   I used 40mm Pentax XW, the 27mm Panoptic and a 10mm and 7mm Pentax for some of the details.  You can decide for yourself if you like the black and white version or the one where I added some green to it.  I feel I added to much green as the green should be more transparent. Next time.  I will also admit that Messier 42 scared me.  It is one of those items as you can see above that I think many people don't nail because it takes time to develop the skills to be able to sketch it. I used the Mellish technique that Alex Massey introduced and I shared on my blog a while ago.  This technique has by far increased my enjoyment of sketching.  Anyway, I look forward to the North America Nebula, the Veil Nebula and other such large and wonderful targets both this spring and this summer.

Here is after I added color to the sketch. I darkened the background to cover up that annoyance I have of getting some of the pastel on the edge of my hand and having it rub off on the black paper.  I'll have to be more careful in the future.

Feel free to leave a comment on which sketch of Messier 42 you like, the Black and White or the color if you want. I'd be interested to read them. 


I posted the second image back in February after re-observing and sketching it and then for fun, I found the original sketch I had done of it digitally based on a field sketch. Since I'm comparing some of my objects of late I thought I would post both sketches of NGC 2467 a reflection nebula around an open cluster in Puppis.

Here is the original done in my old XT8 back in 2009. 

 Here is the one I did in February of NGC 2467 from a dark site with the 14" dob.  I think they make for a fun an interesting comparison.