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Planetary Observation and Sketching

Started by Martian, 10/24/2002 01:46PM
Posted 10/24/2002 01:46PM Opening Post
To All Observers,

I would first like to thank Astromart for the creation of the Solar System Observing forum site on which we are able to dispense our experience for others to learn from.

I have been involved in solar system observation for nearly thirty years. My primary planets of interest (as many other observers) are Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Mars, in general, is a very difficult object to observe, especially when presenting a small apparent diameter (less than 7 arc-seconds). The albedo features (bright and dark areas and markings upon the surface (or even atmosphere)) are difficult to make out even under steady seeing conditions. An instrument with good (at least 1/4 wave) optics, solid mount, and a steady atmosphere are required to detect features upon the God Of War. I have attached an observation of Mars that I made during the last opposition (June 13, 2001) in color using a 4-inch (10-cm) Off-Axis Reflector. The colors upon this planet are very delicate and will be more diffuse if obscured by clouds and dust (not necessarily a dust storm). The observer must be very patient and train their eye for this planet in particular. Jupiter normally presents the opposite dilema as too many features are noted over the dark belts and bright zones with it's beautiful pastel colors. The Great Red Spot (GRS), unfortunately, is not always prominent but may now be darkening a bit and therefore easier to pick out. Sky and Telescope provides the approximate longitude (System II) of the GRS for the amateur to refer to. Saturn with it's magnificent ring system is probably everyone's favorite target. As some observers point out this is a treat for many novices as they gaze upon this celestial wonderf for the first time.

I primarily use graphite (2H to 6B) for my planetary renditions. I am experimenting with color pencil (Berol Prismacolor) for my observations as well. I congratulate you all on your efforts to record the planets as this is the est way to train the eye to detect faint detail. No one is expected in being a great artist as it is the effort to record what one observes that matters most. I look forward in more observers posting their respective observations on this forum in the future.

The best of luck to everyone in their observations.

Carlos E. Hernandez

Attached Image:

Martian's attachment for post 2040
Posted 10/24/2002 04:07PM #1
Beautiful sketch, Carlos! Inspiring.

Ed Moran
Equipment Forum Moderator - Two of Five
Posted 11/10/2002 08:17PM #2

After 2 decades of observing,I have just recently started to sketch the planets for the last month and half.

I reading through the messages, I see that some of you are drawing in color. Right now I an going for detail and for right now that necessitates the use of filters as a means to more easily uncover them.

Additionally, rigging up a white light source to draw by that would allow for for showing what I had drawn as close to the same contrast as when I saw the finished drawing after it was brought into normal roomlight was my first big obstacle. My early drawings were looked too dark when brought inside. Now I use an old polarizing filter over a mini Mag light to control its brightness.

Attached is my most recent sketch of Jupiter. This only my second attempt of the great planet.

Thanks, Sol Robbins

Attached Image:

Sol R.'s attachment for post 63295
Posted 11/10/2002 08:20PM #3

Attached is my most recent Saturn drawing.

Sol Robbins

Attached Image:

Sol R.'s attachment for post 63296