Ohio finally seems to be warming up after a long gray winter, and my inclination to get out and observe the sky has risen in tandem with every increased degree on the thermometer. BRAS had a nice public viewing night on friday, and for the occasion I finally dusted off the borrowed Dobsonian that's been sitting around in my living room for months...I know, I know...considering how many gorgeous sights there are in the winter sky, this is a real crime.
Friday's sky was not pristine--a little hazy with intermittent clouds--but I was still able to catch some great views of Saturn, the Beehive Cluster, the Stargate Asterism...and (with a little help from another club member), The Sombrero Galaxy, and two members of the Leo Triplet. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and got me thinking even more about getting out for some astronomical sketching.
So, because I often have a hard time waiting around with a bee in my bonnet, I got started this afternoon with a sketch of the waning daytime moon. I got everything situated in the backyard with a little help from Rob (who deserves a gold star for spending a good 10 minutes trying to help me center the scope...which is missing its finder at the moment...on the pale thin crescent), and started sketching. Time passed quickly, and in just a few minutes the moon disappeared behind an evergreen.
Below is the result: sketched in colored pencil on light blue construction paper, features are displayed as I saw them through the eyepiece...so they're upside down.
Here are a few things I'll do in the future to improve the daytime sketching experience...
1. Start earlier! This equals more time to complete the sketch, and less time in the harsh midday sun...though I'm not complaining about the sun or the heat...I promise!
2. Wear a hat. I found that sun on my eyelids prevented me from getting a really clear view of anything, and it's a little bothersome to have to hold my hand up while also trying to keep the paper from blowing away.
3. Wear long sleeves rather than sunscreen...even if it's really hot. The sunscreen left an unsightly oily smudge on one edge of the drawing.
4. Bring out only the pencils I'll need--leave the rest inside. At the end of my session today, some of the colors had begun to shed oil...that's right...my pencils were sweating!
***And one final note, for anyone who might try daytime observing...NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN!!! And don't let a telescope without a solar filter point anywhere NEAR the sun--keep lens caps and dust covers ON until a safe position is achieved.***