Gallery of astronomy art pieces

This page will contain a set of older astronomical sketches that I have completed.  Some of these will be occasionally  featured in the main blog when weather and other work commitments don't allow for new and regular pieces to be created.

As with those new art works featured in the main blog, most of these works are available for purchase through the Gondwana Telescopes website.  If the piece is not listed in the Gondwana Telescopes site, just drop an email to them to find out the availability of any piece that interests you.

(4th Dec, 2014)

2 Lunar 'X's!
One aspect about observing with a telescope is the mind's propensity to look for familiar shapes.  These shapes include faces, geometric shapes, alphanumeric characters, and so on.  The Moon greatly lends itself to such artifact finding.

There are several well known alphanumeric features on the Moon.  One thing that is in common with all of them is that they are visible only briefly as these features are dependent on the coincidence of surface features and the angle of the incident sunlight, and as the Moon is rotating, these shadows are only transitory.

On this particular night in 2011, my initial scan of the Terminator revealed to me what I thought was the famous 'Lunar X'.  It did seem to me curious that this particular apparition was somewhat squashed in appearance, but I thought nothing more of this, just shrugged my shoulders and started the sketch.

When I had completed the section of the Moon with this X, to finish the sketch I continued with a flourish of crater outlines down the page.  In doing so I suddenly came across another 'X', this time by chance it happened to be the 'true' Lunar X! the one formed by the intersection of the craters Blanchinus, Purbach & La Caille.  And by sheer dumb luck, it happens to be one of the very last features I came across while completing the flourish.

This was most unexpected and exciting.  From a lucky chance find of an X, to an even luckier find of TWO.

Object:  Two Lunar 'X's
Scope:  C8, 8" SCT
Gear:  9mm TMB Planetary Type II, 222X
Date:  4th October, 2011
Location:  Sydney, Australia
Media:  White soft pastel and charcoal on A5 size black paper

(25 Nov, 2014)

Jewel Box and Coal Sack
This piece was created during the Ice In Space Astro Camp in April this year.  Arriving at the Camp only an hour before sunset (I took a wrong turn and set me back close to an hour...), being in a huff I just was not up to setting up a big scope.  Instead the first night I set up my smallest scope and enjoyed a whole evening of wide field viewing and sketching.

For some time I had wanted to sketch this region of the sky.  It is only with a rich field scope that the glorious juxtaposition of the brilliance of Mimosa (beta Cruxis), the richness of the Jewel Box, and the dark insidious fibrousness of the Coal Sack be appreciated all at once.

At first glance the Jewel Box displayed a mottled texture.  As the sketch developed and more time was spent, the level of detail just increased and increased.  Variations in density, skeletal fingers, previously unnoticed clusters all became visible.

A truly spectacular area of the sky that requires the right tool to make the most of it.

Object:  Jewel Box and Coal Sack
Scope:  100mm f/5 achromatic refractor
Gear:  30mm 82deg Explore Scientific, 17X, 5deg true field of view
Date:  25th April, 2014
Location:  Lostock, Australia.

(13 Nov, 2014)
Omega Centauri
Omega Centauri is the largest globular cluster in the whole sky.  It is an easy naked eye object, seen as a fuzzy blotch in the sky.  It can also be resolved into its individual stars with as small an aperture as 70mm.  Astonishingly, I've managed to resolve it in my 11X70 binoculars, proving that high magnification is not always necessary.

Omega Centauri is also not a typical globular cluster.  Its true size and number of stars far outstrips any other 'normal' globular.  Also, unlike normal GC's, the age of its constituent stars is highly varied and rich in heavy metals.  Normal GC's are very ancient, the lack of heavy metals in the spectra of their stars testament to their age.  The only plausible reason for these traits of Omega is that it is NOT a true globular, but of other origins.  Omega is thought to be the remnant core of a galaxy that our Milky Way galaxy swallowed up a long time ago.  Further evidence for this is that from its sheers size, the only mechanism that could hold so meanymillions of stars in such a stable tight orgit is that there is a black hole at its core, typical of spiral and eliptical galaxies.

Omega also has a curious signature feature - and 'eye' at its centre.  This is a line of sight quirk where ithere is an apparent lack of bright stars in this direction.  Photographs of Omega tend to burn out this 'eye' and is lost as its signature.

This sketch of Omega Centauri was done in 2011 from my home in Sydney, Australia, using my 17.5" Karee dob.

Rimae Hippalus
The extraordinary south east series of fracture rilles formed out of the impact that created Mare Humorum.

Globular Cluster 47 Tuc
This is the second largest globular cluster in the entire sky.  A massive ball of stars that are gravitationally connected and that orbits our Milky Way galaxy.

M16, Eagle Nebula

This sketch was done on my first visit to Wiruna, the dark sky site of the Astronomical Society of New South Wales, just outside the little village of Ilford, some four hours west of Sydney.  Wiruna is where Scott Mellish had honed out the sketching technique that now bares his name.  It was a bitter-sweet occasion this visit to Wiruna as it was soon after Scott's passing.

I managed three sketches that night.  This is the first of the three and the other two I'll post over the coming weeks.

Object:  M16, the Eagle Nebula
Scope:  17.5" Karee push-pull dobsonian
Gear:  16mm Konig, 125X, OIII filter
Date:  2nd July, 2011
Location:  Ilford, Australia
Media:  Soft pastel, charcoal & white ink on A4 size paper

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