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Moonrise over Chuckwalla Mountain

Moonrise over Chuckwalla Mountains July 3, 2010 about 11:30 p.m.

Third quarter moon, a half hour later

My small 70mm Televue Ranger was used for the moon images

Summer dark sky observing means short nights, and it’s usually too hot for comfort in the Colorado desert location we love. But Mojo and I decided [...]

Jupiter: Past and Present Spots/Impacts

December 1690 sketch of new dark spot on Jupiter by G. D. Cassini and changes to the spot over 18 days

My first sketch of SL 9 impacts on Jupiter July 18, 1994.

My July 26, 2009 sketch of the impact on Jupiter, discovered by Anthony Wesley (upper left 11-o’clock spot)

Anthony Wesley's preliminary [...]

Chasing Galileo - 21-day old moon comparison

My sketch of the moon same lunar day as Galileo’s sketch

Image take at eyepiece of 70mm TV Ranger while sketching on 7/14/09

Galileo’s drawing of the third quarter moon was made on December 18, 1609 according to widely accepted dates calculated by lunar scientist Ewen Whitaker. He used the solar colongitude and [...]

Chasing Galileo - 17/18-day old moon

Eighteen-day moon

The moon rises later each evening now. That means a late night for sketchers. Luckily my small 70mm Televue Ranger on a telepod mount requires no setup. I keep it permanently set up in the garage.

The features I’ve sketched on the 18-day moon begin with sunset on Mare Crisium – on the terminator [...]

Chasing Galileo: Jupiter and Neptune in the same field of view

Galileo noted a fixt star (at left), now known to be Neptune on this sketch from December 28, 1612

Skymap Pro chart of Jupiter and Neptune (the square at left), December 28, 1612

My sketch of Neptune with Jupiter and the Galilean moons

Galileo made the first recorded observation of Neptune in 1612 when Neptune [...]

Chasing Galileo - fourteen-day moon

fourteen-day (full) moon

The full moon rises as the sun sets on the 14th day of the lunar month. A small telescope, such as the 70mm f.8.7 Televue Ranger I’m using for this series of sketches is a perfect instrument for full moon viewing. So are binoculars. The moon is [...]

Chasing Galileo – sketches of the eleven-day moon

It’s showtime! Sunlight reveals most of the lunar surface and the moon is visible all night long.

Sinus Iridum — the Bay of Rainbows — is visible near the north part (left in my sketch) of the terminator. It’s the little half circle. The Jura Mountains ring the western edge and catch the [...]

Chasing Galileo – Head of Orion cluster

Galileo’s Head of Orion cluster

Jane’s Head of Orion cluster

Astrophoto of Orion Head cluster by Morris Jones

Map of the constellation Orion

Galileo looked at the fuzzy patch surrounding the head of Orion through a telescope, and resolved many starts not previously known. He called it Nebulosa Orionis.

Look between the shoulder stars Betelgeuse and [...]

Chasing Galileo – Jupiter and the four Galilean satellites

Galileo’s drawing

my drawing

my sketch of Jupiter’s rotation

Galileo published his observations in Sidereus Nuncius in March 1610: “On the 7th day of January in the present year, 1610, in the first hour of the following night, when I was viewing the constellations of the heavons through a telescope, the planet Jupiter [...]

Chasing Galileo – sketches of the nine-day moon

nine-day moon

Lunar creature features

Rabbit on the full moon

Night owls can enjoy the nine-day moon – it’s up all night long. In my sketch, the magnificent crater Copernicus is visible on the sunlit side of the terminator – on the right side of the lunar center. It looks so insignificant right now, but [...]