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Preview: Clear Skies On Demand - an astronomy blog

Clear Skies On Demand - an astronomy blog

Astronomy blog of

Modified: 2015-06-25T19:34:11-08:00

Copyright: Copyright (c) 2015, Math



Old friend watching over us.....

Beautiful Uranus


On Octobre 30 I finally had a chance to observe Uranus. The sketch is made using the 12 inch Dobson from Orion Optics mounted on an Equatorial Platform. I used a 12mm Nagler. The magnification is 133x and the FOV is 37'. The observation and sketch were made from my backyard, between 22:00 and 23:00 local time. The seeing was somehow stable, but the transparency was bad. With the 2x powermate installed I could barely see a hint of green-blue color on the planets disk. there were no details visible. However, it was a very pleasing observation. Uranus really stood out as a little disk from its starry surroundings.


Enif and Picot 2


On Octobre the 21th between 20:30 and 21:30 I observed the bright orange star Enif in Pegasus. I used the 80mm Zeiss with a 20-60 zoom eyepiece, mounted on a Manfrotto-tripod. At maximum zoom (60x) Enif nicely fitted into the same field of view with the asterism Picot 2 (in the upper half of the sketch), which looks like a cooking pan with a lid on it. The sketch was made from my backyard in Landgraaf. The faintest star is of magnitude 10.95, not bad for an 80mm scope.


North is up and East is to the left.

Sketchlight, getting ready to sketch M31 ....


I am planning to sketch M31 this autumn. Until now I was struggling with my red lights while sketching at the eyepiece, but think this flexible arm will be the solution (image)



Mirror cleaning time!


Getting the mirror of my dobson ready for the autumn.... and it needed some cleaning as you can see (image)





The beautiful coat hanger......


Here's a sketch I made two weeks ago, from my backyard. It is the starcluster Collinder 399, or as most of you will know, "The Coathanger". I made the sketch using 15x80 Vixen binoculars mounted on a mirror mount. The field of view is about 3.5 degrees.


Rigel and Betelgeuse


On february 8th 2011 I made sketches of Rigel and Betelgeuse. Both stars were observed through the Orion Optics 300mm. The sketch of Rigel represents a field of view of 52' and a magnification of 94x (17mm Nagler Type 4). The sketch of Betelgeuse represents a field of view of 37' and a magnification of 133x (12mm Nagler Type 4). South is up and east is to the left.





Observing Orion


In the last few weeks I observed a few interesting objects in Orion. I started in januari with Collinder 70, Orions Belt. Last week I had a look at Collinder 69 and Collinder 72, one of Steven James O'Meara's hidden treasures. Today I added another three wonderful objects to my sketchbook: Rigel, Betelgeuse and Collinder 65.

Rigel was observed with the 12 inch dobson. The double star did not show itself as a double initially, due to a lot of turbulence in the tube (the scope was just outside for a few minutes. However, after switching on the fan, the weaker B companion popped into view, just like that. The image was stable right from the moment the fan started to make a laminar flow in the 12-inch tube. Amazing. Betelgeuse was also observed with the twelve inch, and the deep orange color was simply overwhelming, especially at lowest power. However, in the 85mm Zeiss, the color looked even much deeper than in the 12-inch.

Collinder 65 is a large open cluster, which actually belongs to Taurus, but lies on the Orion-Taurus border. I observed and sketched this large open cluster (3.3 degrees) using the Skywindow and the 8x42 Orion binoculars, field of view 8.2 degrees. Until a few days ago I didn't know this cluster was actually there, but when scanning the area between Collinder 69 and Messier 1, you cannot miss it. You immediately will recognize it as a cluster.

In the next few weeks I hope to publish my observing reports and sketches on On the map below you can see where the objects I observed can be found.


image from Voyager by Capellasoft

Markarian 6


A few weeks ago I observed a very small and bright open cluster on the edge of the Heart Nebula in Cassiopeia, Markarian 6. The cluster looks more like a small asterism than a real open cluster, as you can see on the sketch below. Follow this link to my other website,, for the complete observing report, finderchart, and a beautiful image of the heart-nebula by Dominique Suys (thanks Dominique for granting me permission to use your image for my report!)


The belt of Orion


At the end of 2010 I added three new objects to my StarObserver website. The two open clusters: NGC 129 and Stephenson 1 and a very interesting triple star, 40 Eridani. Just click on the links to have a look at some very interesting facts and stories on these fascinating objects.

Last week I made my first ever sketch of an OB Association, Orion OB1b, also know as Collinder 70, or just as The Belt of Orion. This large group of stars is a perfect binoculars. It is centred on the three bright belt-stars of Orion, and offers stunning views. I observed them with my 8x42 (8.2 degrees FOV), 12x60 (5.6 degrees FOV) and the 15x80 (3.5 degrees FOV). In the end I used the SkyWindow and my 15x80 to make this sketch. In time an article about this wonderfull object will be added to my website, but for now, here’s the sketch to enjoy.