Messier 13

Ever since I became interested in deep sky observing and sketching nearly 20 years ago, I have mostly used 6, 8 and 12 inch telescopes for my observations, plus the odd big ones (20, 36 and 48 inches) at star parties such as Texas. My new 18 inch dob has now brought my observing into a Whole New Realm – the magnitude or so difference over my 12 inch means that there is a lot more to see.

The other night, October 15th, as the conditions were a bit lousy (nearly-full Moon plus some mist) I forsook my usually faint galaxy-hunting and decided to sketch M13 instead. I haven’t done a lot of sketching while using the 18 inch yet, as I have spent the time in my six sessions with it so far searching for more detail in objects and things such as faint galaxies in the field of view.
While sketching M13 I found – totally unsurprisingly – that the big and more detailed objects are far more challenging to sketch when viewed in larger apertures. You’re just overwhelmed with the profusion of detail and M13 is a prime example of this; while it isn’t totally resolved in the 18 inch, it is a very large glittering ball of many stars.

Here’s the sketch I made the other evening:


And the same sketch inverted for a more natural look:


And, for comparison, here’s a sketch I made back in the 1990s with my old 8.75 inch f/4.5 Newtonian:


I am looking forward to M42, that will ┬ápresent an interesting challenge later in the winter – weather permitting…