I thought I would share these here. Back on May 9th, 2016 we had the transit of Mercury. I am not sure if I posted my sketches from that event but here they are. Not my best, I was very sick that day, but I did get a view in with the Lunt 35mm Solar Scope I own. The top image with with the 20mm Pentax XW and the bottom is 10mm Pentax XW in the Lunt 35mm. Mercury is the black dot coming up from 7:00 o'clock and in toward the middle, but not center. It was cool to view this event. May be my last one for May for a while (next May transit for Mercury is May 7th 2049 and IF I am still alive, I will be 84; possible but we'll see). The next three transits of Mercury are November events on November 11th, 2019; November 13th 2032; November 7th 2039. So in terms of my limited mortality/time on this Earth, I hope to see the transits through 2039. I guess time will tell. See this LINK to NASA for the Transit Dates.
I am NOT a great planetary observer nor sketcher. This is a humble attempt to capture what I saw on Mars on May 13th, 2016 at 5 Mile Pass in my 14" dob. Conditions were alright at Antoniadi III-II, and I was able to use my 5mm Pentax XW. In the sketch the bottom feature and the feature on the right side are much darker than in my sketch, probably a setting on my camera when I took the shot. The polar ice cap was easily seen as were the features listed. I spent a good hour and a half on Mars, eeking out the details. The sketch is okay and I added a few items for practice (trenches).
The following sketches were done on June 3rd through June 4th 2016 at Pit n Pole, Rush Valley, West Desert, Utah. They are not in order sketches or by time.
1. NGC 4639 (middle), NGC 4654 (upper left); NGC 4659 (Lower Left); Galaxies in Virgo. June 4th 2016, 1:02 am MDT; Pit n Pole, Rush Valley, Utah; Clear, Cool, 44 degrees F, Antoniadi III; 17.5" dob; 26mm NaglerT5; 12mm Delos; Paracorr Type II.
NGC 4639 is a spiral galaxy in Virgo. The galaxy is moderate in size, elongated NW-SE. It is bright and easy to identify. Even edge that is uniform in brightness and grows brighter as you move in to the inner core region. Small bright stellar core is evident.
NGC 4654 is a large, bright galaxy elongated NW-SE. Magnitude 10 Star and several others in the FOV. Edge is uniform, surface brightness in areas near the core is brighter, leaving a bright core in evidence, some hints of structure.
NGC 4659 is a small, rather faint galaxy. Faint halo with slightly brighter core region. A
2.NGC 4654 Spiral Galaxy in Virgo. June 4th, 2016, 12:03am MDT; Clear, cool, 43 degrees F; Antoniadi III-II; Pit n Pole, Rush Valley, Utah; 17.5" dob; 26mm NaglerT5; 12mm Delos, 10mm PentaxXW; Paracorr Type II.
This is a large and bright spiral galaxy that lays WNW to ENE. Very bright inner core region with brighter patches running in the center. Dark arm evident on the north end of the galaxy. Fun galaxy to observe.
3. NGC 4689, June 4th, 2016, 1:45am MDT; Pit n Pole, Rush Valley, UT; Clear, cool, 42 degrees F; Antoniadi III-II; 17.5" Dob; 26mm NaglerT5, 22mmNaglerT4, 10mm Pentax XW; Type II Paracorr.
A bright and large spiral galaxy. Lays ENE-WNW and has a large, loose concentration with a rather ill defined inner core. Some mottling is evident. High magnification does not improve the view, may be conditions. The view in the mid power range seems the best on this object this night.
4. NGC 5139 Omega Centauri, Globular Cluster, June 3rd, 2016, 10:55pm MDT; Pit n Pole, Rush Valley, Utah; Antoniadi III, 17.5" Dob, 22mm Nagler Type 4; 26mm Nagler Type 5; Type II Paracorr; clear, mild 48 degrees F; SQM 21.61.
This is the third time I have seen Omega Centauri from Pit n Pole over the years. I also saw it at Notch Peak several years ago also. It is REALLY low and the 10mm Pentax XW I tried on it just smudged it out. The 26mm Nagler T5 was better but the best view, and the one I sketched was with the 22mmNaglerT4. Stars were evident, and a couple of chains. Some brightening toward the core with averted vision. To be fair, this is probably the best view I have had of NGC 5139. Surface brightness was uneven, diffused edges in vident. A pleasant view!
Sketches June 5th to June 6th, 2016 Forest Road 006 Juniper Gove Site. This evening started off cloudy and not promising. Then it cleared up and I had a wonderful evening, just me and the coyotes and it was my most productive sketching. I set up, settled in, and as night fell, I got to work. I was listened to the sounds of the night for a while, then played Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds and a PodCast while observing.
1. NGC 5068 Face On Spiral Galaxy in Virgo; FR006 Juniper Gove; Clear, Mild, 52 degrees F; Antoniadi II; 17.5" dob; 22mmNaglerT4, 10mm PentaxXW, Type II Paracorr.
Large, bright and diffused galaxy with a central core region that is brighter than diffused edges. Core has a bar that is easily seen, running ESE-WNW. Galaxy is oval in shape, dust is evident and mottling is easily seen. Structure also hinted at and observed in terms of arms. Lots of details to tease out of this one, FUN one to come back to!
2. NGC 4298 (Face On Spiral in the Middle) and NGC 4302 (edge on thin galaxy above and to the left of 4298). FR006 Juniper Grove; June 6th, 2016; Antoniadi II; 17.5" dob, 22mmNaglerType4; 14mm & 10mm PentaxXW; Paracorr Type II.
NGC 4298 is a face on spiral galaxy. It is large and open oval in shape. Well defined with details easy to observe. Brightens gradually to the middle. Elongated SE - NW. Field Star easily seen next to it ENE. Bright inner core and spiral arms discernible.
NGC 4302 is a bright streak that is flat, orientated N-S. One field star at its SW tip and another on the NE. Dust lane is evident in the 17.5" Fun pair.
3. NGC 4303 Face On Spiral Galaxy in Virgo. 11:15pm MDT; June 5th 2016; FR006 Juniper Gove Site; Antoniadi II; Clear, mild, 51 degrees F; 17.5" dob, 10mm & 7mm PentaxXW; Type II Paracorr.
The spiral arms are strongly hinted at as structure and mottling is easily seen. Large bright galaxy with uniform edges. Core is really bright and a non-stellar bar is not really seen, just the inner brightness of the core; Structure is seen coming off that inner bright core though with dark areas SW to S and E of the core. Nice, VERY nice galaxy (realize it is me, going through the Herschel 2500 so don't expect a Messier, Galaxy but this is still nice!).
4. NGC 4496A& 4496B; Galaxies in Virgo. June 6th, 2016, 12:50am MDT; FR006 Juniper Gove Site; Antonadi II-I, clear, mild 46 degrees F; SQM 21.8; 17.5" dob; 26mmNaglerT5, 7mm & 10mm Pentax XW; Type II Paracorr.
The galaxy A is the main and large one in the center. Galaxy B is the smaller companion next to it on the left of the large galaxy. Possible merger? 4496A is faint, a bar is visible in the core region. Ill defined edges and a low surface brightness. Seems to radiate structure/arms per the sketch. NGC 4496 B is the much fainter galaxy needing averted vision for me to really see it. Averted vision also brings out a strong small bar in the core of this galaxy. Nice pair.
5. NGC 5170 Spiral Edge On Galaxy in Virgo; June 6th 2016; FR006 Juniper Grove Site; Antoniadi I-II; Clear, cool, 43 degrees F; 22mm NaglerT4; 10mm Pentax XW; Type II Paracorr.
Bright edge on galaxy. Flat in shape, well defined (I sketched it upside down on the pad!) and the core region is bright and easily seen. Brightness fades and surface brightness fades off into the elongated tips. The lower right edge did not show up that well in the photograph of the sketch. In my original it is faint but there.
NGC 5426 is rather small, and condensed in the middle, possible core showing. NGC 5427 is brighter and larger than its neighbor, NGC 5426. NGC 5427 is rather diffused on the edge, gradually brightening towards the center core. Envelope appears roundish and there is a hint of core. No hint of other structure though.
As I mentioned, I have observed a lot more than this, these were the ones I felt worthy of my time to sketch. I love sketching, I'll keep sketching but I also love observing and am doing that as well. If as I work through my lists I find something I want to take the time to sketch, I do. If not, I keep observing. So keep pointing up, keep looking in whatever ocular you use and enjoy the wonders of the night sky!