Thursday 31 December 2015
Low magnification Copernicus
There is a trap we can fall into with the Moon – we want to push magnification as far as possible all the time. And if conditions are not up to scratch, we abandon efforts.
A recent sketch I saw on an astro forum reminded me that any telescope is better than no telescope. So if your scope is of a small aperture, it is still an exquisite asset.
So, what do the two above statements have to do with anything? Well, it means that you make use of what scope and conditions present.
This forth straight night of clear skies, conditions were particularly poor. Even at 100X, the image of the Moon was showing a shimmering boil. At another time I would just have packed up the old orange tube C8. But the memory of that earlier sketch done using a smaller aperture had me take courage at looking at using much lower magnification than I would typically use.
This night, magnification at under 100X showed a minimal amount of boil, and this was to be the magnification to sketch the Moon with.
Even 91X, the amount of detail is staggering to behold. The image though smaller, is much more concentrated. This night I chose to revisit an old friend, Copernicus, and the surrounding maria and mountain ranges. For me, mountain ranges prove the most difficult to replicate. The detail is frightfully complex, and my eye struggles to accept just one point of detail, instead trying to absorb a dozen! Tonight was a chance to take up a mountain range challenge too.
Copernicus was staggering. The mountain range Montes Carpatus to the north appearing from over the terminus into the morning light with spectacular shadows. To the south is Reinhold, with its crater floor still in complete shade. To the east is Erastothenes, another big crater that is surrounded by a ring of secondary impacts created by ejecta material, just like Copernicus has. Erastothenes is located off the end of the western spur of Montes Apenninus mountain range.
Further north of Copernicus, the terminator is rolling over the middle of Mare Imbrium. The terminator here has a lovely, smooth rolling appearance.
And of course, there is the ray system radiating out from Copernicus, spread out over the surrounding maria.
I hope you enjoy this piece.
Object: Copernicus and surrounds
Scope: C8, 8” SCT
Gear: 22mm LVW, 91X
Date: 20th December, 2015
Location: Sydney, Australia
Media: Soft pastels, charcoal and white ink on black paper.