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May 5, 2007


Filed under: , — chuckwood @ 12:01 am

drawing project organized by Sally Russell, England

The bizarre footprint shaped crater Schiller (number 59 of the Lunar 100) is a popular target with photographers and sketchers alike. This composite image represents the work of six astronomical artists from across the USA and England, covering a time period of nearly three years. Schiller is seen most dramatically at or around days 10-12 of a lunation, and this is reflected in the lunation days annotated on each individual sketch. A variety of sketching media and techniques (including white pastel or Conte crayon on black paper, and graphite pencil or charcoal on white paper), plus an array of telescopes, and a wide range of magnifications, were used for these renderings. Though they are individually unique, they are complementary to each other, and as a group have captured much subtle detail in this feature under the various librations and fractional lighting differences.
(With the kind permissions of Michael Rosolina, Rich Handy , Eric Graff, Jeremy Perez and Erika Rix, and with my thanks to them for generously sharing their sketches and making this project possible.)

Sally Russell

Technical Details:
Sally Russell ( England ), 105mm F/6 refractor @ 480x
Michael Rosolina ( West Virginia ), 8″ F/10 SCT @ 200-170x
Rich Handy ( California ), 12″ SCT @ 639x
Eric Graff ( California ), 6″ F/6 reflector @ 240x
Jeremy Perez ( Arizona ), 6″ F/8 Newtonian @ 240x
Erika Rix ( Ohio ), 70mm ETX @ 88x

Related Links:
R√ľkl chart 71
An imaged view

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  1. Sally,

    Thanks for compiling and sharing this wonderful collection of drawings. They very nicely show the changing pattern of light and shadows as the Sun rises over this region, but as your labels indicate, the Moon’s “age” is not a very accurate indicator of what the features will look like.

    The sun angle over Schiller can be judged from the depth of the shadows in Bayer (the round crater to the upper right of Schiller), the amount of the bright ridge visible on the NW floor of Schiller, and the length of pyramid-shaped shadow cast by Schiller’s NW tip. Using any of these as a guide, Eric’s drawing was made with one of the highest sun angles, yet the Moon’s age is one of the youngest.

    Assuming the “ages” given here were computed in the conventional way (fractional days since previous geocentric New Moon), it is possible to back out the approximate Universal Time (UT) at which each drawing was made, and from that the actual sun angle over Schiller (39.0W/51.9S). The results (sun angles in degrees in ascending order) are as follows:

    Angle —- UT Date/Time ——– Observer
    4.2 — 2004 Jun 29 / 01:30 UT — Michael
    4.5 — 2006 Sep 04 / 04:30 UT — Jeremy
    4.8 — 2007 Apr 28 / 20:15 UT — Sally
    8.4 — 2006 Dec 01 / 03:30 UT — Eric
    9.0 — 2005 Jun 19 / 03:00 UT — Erika
    9.3 — 2006 Dec 31 / 21:15 UT — Rich

    Viewed in this sequence the drawings make a more orderly progression, although your own drawing really appears to have been made at a sun angle between Michael’s and Jeremy’s. Perhaps the shadow positions were recorded an hour or so earlier than the stated drawing time?

    And there is clearly something wrong with the last item. When the Moon was at an age of 11.3 days on Dec. 31, 2006 — at about 21:15 UT — not only would the sun have been much higher over Schiller than indicated in Rich’s excellent drawing (the angle looks very similar to that in Jeremy’s drawing), but the Moon would not have been visible from Rich’s home near San Diego. If the drawing was actually made on Dec. 31, 2006 (UT), then the sun angle over Schiller would have matched Jeremy’s at about 5:45 UT; and that “10.66 day old” would have indeed been well positioned for drawing from San Diego. Assuming the date is correct, this it would make Rich’s drawing the “youngest” in the sequence, even though (because of the poor correlation of age with sun angle) the shadows are not the shortest.

    – Jim Mosher

    Comment by JimMosher — May 5, 2007 @ 12:19 pm

  2. Hi Jim,

    Thank you for pointing out an error that I made in recording the date. It was done on Dec 30th
    not the 31st as indicated on the sketch. I have made this mistake before, sorry about the confusion!

    Rich Handy

    Comment by kraterkid — May 5, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

  3. Jim, thank you for your comments and deep analysis of the sketch montage.

    When I put this together I was working from (even though I didn’t list) the UT as given by the individual sketchers themselves, and I used the VMA to calculate the Moon’s age for those particular dates and times as given. Interestingly, using my version of ‘Starry Night Pro’ there was some discrepency, approx 0.3 lunar days, compared to the age as given by the VMA for my own sketching time. So perhaps this will help explain some of the variation between what we actually sketched and what we perhaps should have sketched given the times as listed - it would seem that particular software, and maybe even particular versions of software, play their part when we look up this data to accurately complete our observing notes!

    Regarding your comment on the timing of my own sketch, perhaps I listed the time as being British Summer Time rather than UT, though I really don’t think that I did, as I have pretty much trained myself to always write down UT for just the very reasons we are discussing now.

    I think it would be fair to say that even though I was striving for a fair amount of accuracy when I put these sketches together, it was more to showcase the various sketching styles and media that are widely used amongst the astronomical sketching community! The order in which they were placed in the montage was mainly down to the order in which the sketches arrived for inclusion in the project, and also I tried to give the final piece an artistically balanced look rather than concentrating on absolute lunar chronology.

    Thanks again for your interest,


    Comment by Sally — May 5, 2007 @ 2:59 pm

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