Re: Sketching Method: (was (IAAC) Your deep sky projects)

Like Patrick, I also find that sketching at the telescope is not terribly 
time consuming. Admittedly, I am not going to sketch the Orion Nebula or Veil 
in their full glory! I sketch mostly faint fuzzies. In fact, one reason I 
don't sketch rich open clusters is because of the lack of comfort during the 
time it would take to make a decent sketch. I don't sit at the scope unless 
the object is quite low. 

The most time consuming aspect for me is accurate placement of the field 
stars, and even then it isn't a pain unless I'm doing a lower power sketch in 
a Milky Way field. Then I go for stars within a selected brightness range. 
The amount of effort in recording an  observation is directly associated with 
a particular goal. My sketch helps me "remember" objects I observed -- months 
or years later. I am not in competition with anyone to have the "best" 
drawing of an object. 

I have used everything from 3" to 6" circles to sketch, and have settled with 
the smaller diameter. I also have a negative view of the universe -- that is 
pencil on white paper. I keep my sketches in a field notebook, but transfer 
them to my desk notebook after I do any necessary touch-ups and filling in 
the associated data. 

I make an effort to keep my paper as dry as possible. Sometimes I can't win 
with the dew, but usually I am adequately fatigued to "call it a night" for 
sketching and observe old friends until I am a little more tired (but not too 
exhausted to drive 45 minutes home). 

My observing notes are arranged in R.A. by object type. This allows me find 
things quickly since I more often write articles about observing certain 
types of objects rather than areas of the sky. I'd love to convert my files 
to a database, but that won't happen anytime soon.

Alan Goldstein
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