Note about Erika

at the scope
Erika Rix
PCW Memorial Observatory
Liberty Hill, Texas

Welcome to PCW!

I’m a co-author of “Astronomical Sketching: A Step-by-Step Introduction”, Springer 2007 and “Sketching the Moon: An Astronomical Artist’s Guide”, Springer 2011″

To encourage other visual observers who want to try their hand at astronomical sketching, I author a monthly column called “Astro Sketching” for Astronomy magazine. The articles feature sketches of viewable celestial objects, including tips on how to observe and sketch them.

If you’d like access to articles or books that I’ve written concerning astronomical sketching, please see the list of published material.

My husband, Paul, and I share our love of astronomy.  Paul enjoys the imaging side of the hobby, and I’m a visual observer who sketches my observations while studying the views through the eyepiece. I’m a member of the The Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers, the Austin Astronomical Society, The Astronomical League, and the NASA Night Sky Network.

After the purchase of our first telescope, it was the Moon that initially caught my eye. It wasn’t long before charcoal and paper accompanied me at the eyepiece and along with my lunar sketches and reports, I wrote a beginner’s guide for the “Virtual Moon Atlas”. Soon I joined the website “Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews” where sketching tips and tutorials were freely shared and where I volunteer my time as an administrator.

While at a star party in Michigan, I received my first dose of solar observing through a hydrogen alpha filter and there was no looking back. I log observations of the Sun with reports and sketches when sky conditions allow with my internally double-stacked Coronado 60mm Maxscope and white light solar filters. I strive for improving my sketching technique at the eyepiece for accuracy and sharing techniques with others in the process.

The original PCW Memorial Observatory, built by Backyard Observatories, remains in Ohio after Paul and I relocated to Texas. The PCW Memorial name will be carried until such time that a new observatory is built at our new home in Texas.


5 Responses to “Note about Erika”

  1. Erika, I read your article in Astronomy October 2013 with your hand drawings of the moon from a telescope. Well done! My interest is trying to find if anyone made hand sketches of the moon’s features BEFORE the invention of the telescope? I have made some rudimentary sketches of features I can identify from my poor observing location near Houston, TX, so I wonder why when in earlier times no one such as Tycho Brahe for instance took the time to sketch the moon based on naked eye observations. Have you tried?

    • Hi Mike, thanks for chiming in here! I have sketched the Moon naked eye, but mainly as a landscape scene or lunar aureoles. There’s just not a lot of detail compared to what you can see with a little bit of magnification. An astronomer named Gilbert make a pre-telescopic lunar sketch in 1603. And although there are lunar calendars from the Paleolithic Age and petroglyphs depicting the Moon, Gilbert’s rough drawing in 1603 is the most detailed sketch I’ve seen prior to Harriot’s or Galileo’s.

  2. Thanks Erika!
    I am not the artist you are by any means. I will look for Gilbert’s drawings. What I find is that if you look at the moon’s image in still water or a mirror laid on a table before you, that it makes it more stable and you are able to concentrate on it more and see more detail. It still escapes me why no one, other than Gilbert, ever tried to draw accurately what the moon looks like to the naked eye. It makes you wonder if anyone noticed the dark areas at all and that they never moved. I am even able to see Plato as a dark spot with averted vision – not during a full moon of course. I cannot believe it is just because I have seen it so many times in high detail with telescopes and photos. Perhaps you might give it a try?

  3. […] Sketching. A Comprehensive Guide to Drawing the Sun. Erika Rix, Kim Hay, Sally Russell, Richard Handy. The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series, Springer, […]

  4. […] Sketching. A Comprehensive Guide to Drawing the Sun. Erika Rix, Kim Hay, Sally Russell, Richard Handy. The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series, Springer, […]

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