2014 06 04, Barocius along the Terminator

•June 15, 2014 • 4 Comments

2014 06 04, 0245-0449 UT Barocius along the Terminator
Erika Rix, Texas

102mm f/9.8 refractor, LXD75, 12mm Burgess, 2x Barlow, 167x
78F, 56% H, Antoniadi I with moments of II near end of observation, T 5/6

Barocius (center crater along terminator)
Type: crater
Geological period: Nectarian (From -3.98 billion years to –3.85 billion years)
Dimension: 85 km
Height: ~3500 meters
Damaged circular formation on the SE slope of Maurolycus.
Rukl map: 66 Maurolycus

The Moon’s southern terrain used to intimidate me, but these days I welcome the challenge to sketch larger sections of it during my observing session. Drawing highlights rather than shadows saves time. This is especially true along the terminator, since using black paper means that the shadowed area of the Moon is already completed for you!

If you want to tackle large, complex areas while lunar sketching, make sure to increase your drawing area. If it’s too small, you’ll have a difficult time filling in the details with a sharp stroke. My sketch area was a little smaller than normal and it’s painfully obvious by the soft, blunt appearance of the final sketch.

20140604Barocius
Eyepiece sketch on black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conte’ crayon and pastel pencil, black and white charcoal pencils. Sketch has been flipped so that north is up, west is to the left.

Solargraphy Experiments

•June 14, 2014 • 1 Comment

I dabbled in solargraphy years ago and decided to delve a little further into it for the vernal equinox. There are several websites with instructions to build your own camera. This set of instructions from Justin Quinnell closely follows my method. I drilled a hole in my cans and film pots rather than using a craft knife, and then filed the ragged edges of the hole with sand paper.

The first trial covered one solar day. The film pot was strapped upright to a fence and then tilted slightly upward to catch the height of the Sun’s path. Processing was simple – remove the film from the canister in a darkened room, place in a scanner and scan at high resolution. It was then inverted in Photoshop. This example shows both the scanned and inverted versions.
test camera 2014

photo paper
The paper I used is Ilford Multigrade IV RC Deluxe MGD.44M Black & White Variable Contrast Paper (8 x 10″, Pearl, 25 Sheets) and results in a cooler green/blue hue.

The smaller the hole, the crisper the sun paths are imprinted on the paper. I used a sewing needle. Make sure to hold the aluminum square up to a light to see if the needle actually went through it before attaching it to your camera.

IMG_4768 I made several cameras and put them up at various locations on March 20th, 2014. One or two of the cameras will be left until autumnal equinox for a 6-month exposure. A few others will be taken down on summer solstice.

I processed a few last night to test the locations and positions of the cameras. This is an example of solargraphy with a tin can pin-hole camera. The upright placement of the camera results in a landscape view. After inverting in Adobe Photoshop CS6, the exposure and gamma settings were adjusted to enhance the tone. The dragon figurine was included in the shot to test special effects. Although it didn’t quite turn out how I envisioned, it was a fun experiment.

20140320 collage

Here is an example of solargraphy with a film canister pin-hole camera. The horizontal placement of the camera results in a portrait view. The camera was tilted slightly upward.

20140320a collage

Sketching Moon Phases

•June 13, 2014 • 5 Comments

at the scopeI love sketching Moon phases and wanted to challenge myself to observe and sketch an entire lunation, weather permitting. The second half of January 2014 was used for practice and the month of February was slated for the actual run.

The Virtual Moon Atlas and local weather forecasts were used as planning tools each day. I used a 102mm f/9.8 refractor on an LXD75 mount for all the observations with the exception of the first February sketch where binoculars on a tripod was used. Magnification was 50x and a 13% transmission filter was incorporated for the majority of the observations.

The sketch kit consisted of black Strathmore Artagain paper, a white Conte crayon, a white charcoal pencil, a black Derwent charcoal pencil, a black woodless oil pencil, and a blending stump. The sketches were scanned and processed in Adobe Photoshop CS6.

Here are the results…

The animation was also created with CS6. The sketches were flipped and rotated for standard lunar orientation. Gamma correction and exposure adjustments were made to improve contrast and stray markings, along with notations, were removed.

201402-phase-animation

2014 02 27, 27-day-old Moon

•June 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Visit the archive for more Moon phases drawings.

2014 02 27, 1150-1250UT (-6) 27.59-day-old Moon
Erika Rix
102mm f/9.8 refractor, LXD75, 20mm, 50x
S: Antoniadi IV, T: 6/6, Temp: 16F, H: 16%
Colongitude: 244.9°
Phase: 205.6°
Lunation: 27.59 days
Illumination: 4.9%

20140227
Eyepiece sketch on black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conte crayon, white charcoal pencil, black Derwent charcoal pencil, black woodless oil pencil, blending stump.

2014 02 23, 23-day-old Moon

•June 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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2014 02 23, 1254-1400UT (-6) 23.64-day-old Moon
Erika Rix
102mm f/9.8 refractor, LXD75, 20mm, 50x
S: Antoniadi II, T: 1/6, cloudy, Temp: 61F, H: 63%
Colongitude: 196.8°
Phase: 259.5°
Lunation: 23.64 days
Illumination: 40.9%

20140223
Eyepiece sketch on black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conte crayon, white charcoal pencil, black Derwent charcoal pencil, black woodless oil pencil, blending stump.

2014 02 22, 22-day-old Moon

•June 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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2014 02 22, 0754-1054 UT (-6) 22.43-day-old Moon
Erika Rix
102mm f/9.8 refractor, LXD75, 13% T filter, 20mm, 50x
S: Antoniadi II, T: 4/6, Temp: 40F, H: 37%
Colongitude: 182.0°
Phase: 274.9°
Lunation: 22.43 days
Illumination: 54.3%

20140222
Eyepiece sketch on black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conte crayon, white charcoal pencil, black Derwent charcoal pencil, black woodless oil pencil, blending stump.

2014 02 21, 21-day-old Moon

•June 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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2014 02 21, 0624-1026 UT (-6) 21.37-day-old Moon
Erika Rix
102mm f/9.8 refractor, LXD75, 13% T filter, 20mm, 50x
S: Antoniadi II-III, T: 3/6, Temp: 29F, H: 39%
Colongitude: 168.9°
Phase: 288.1°
Lunation: 21.37 days
Illumination: 65.5%

20140221
Eyepiece sketch on black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conte crayon, white charcoal pencil, black Derwent charcoal pencil, black woodless oil pencil, blending stump.