Thursday, 11 October 2018

Berkeley 4 and open cluster sketching

Loyal readers will have noticed that I've neglected this blog for a bit. The thing is that currently I'm having so many other things on my mind that astronomy sketching had to move into the background. I will keep posting new sketches every now and then, but for the coming months probably not at the pace I used to. Astronomy sketching, at least the way I do it, is an incredibly tedious passtime and apart from the one to several hours at the telescope, each and every single of my sketches involved a couple to many hours behind the pc, sometimes even days. 

Take a good look at this sketch of open cluster Berkeley 4 in Cassiopeia (unfortunately Blogger doesn't allow to magnify an image to its real dimensions so it'll be difficult to see). There must be at least 400 to 500 stars on it and none of them were randomly added. They were all observed at the eyepiece, put on paper and redrawn on the computer in an attempt to render the telescope view as realistically as possible.  

This brings me to another argument. I've been using my binoscope for over two years now and I've come to realise that I've been so terribly busy sketching that I've completely forgotten to observe. Yes, when you're sketching you're also observing in a certain sense and perhaps even more intensely so as you're trying to catch every little star or object detail that there is to see. But it's not the same thing. Last week I was standing behind the eyepieces, observing, being so carried away that I didn't feel like sketching anymore. I just wanted to relax and enjoy myself. Sketching has become too much of a race, lately. So I hope that you'll forgive me but for the coming months I'm going to enjoy my telescope a bit more and share a bit less. 

Yet, here's Berkeley 4, 10 million years old, a respectable 8.000 light-years away but yet a fabulous object in any telescope or even binoculars. It's slowly falling apart... the gravitational bonds between the many hot giant stars is ruptured by the pull of our galaxy. I think this is a fitting sketch to end a very busy chapter and initiate a more quiet one.

Cheers to all of you!

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