Bill Greer's Astronomy Site

"To Sketch Is To See"

Orion's Sword as seen with 25x100 binoculars.

This painting shows the full 2.3 degree field of the tripod-mounted binoculars. All stars and all nebulosity depicted in the 8-inch by 10-inch painting were seen with the binoculars on February 11th and 12th 2005 from a dark, rural location. I sketched the nebulosity on February 11th. The stars were verified on the 12th. The faintest stars are depicted brighter than they appeared. All stars are shown larger than they appeared.

In the binoculars the stars appeared as 'pinpoints' of various brightness levels. The brightest single star in the central nebula was resolved as four individual stars (known as the "Trapezium") by the binoculars; but the individual stars were too close to show separately in the painting. It's not possible to depict in a painting the small size as well as the widely varying brightness levels of the stars. There's no substitute for seeing astronomical objects "live" through an eyepiece (or in the case of binoculars -- eyepieces).

Jovian Double Shadow Transit

Jupiter with the shadows of Ganymede (top) and Io in transit across the planet. The famous Great Red Spot (GRS) is near Jupiter's central meridian. The original rough sketch was made at 3:19 on 8 January 2001 UT using a 13cm refractor at 170x. South is up and preceding (west in the sky) is to the left.


I've been creating rough sketches at the telescope using pencil and paper since the late 1960's. My earliest sketches (mostly of the sun, moon, and planets) were lost long ago. The oldest sketches on this site are among the oldest that I'm still in possession of.

In 1999 I started re-doing my rough sketches in ink. This site was originally created to display those finished sketches. As time progressed I added other sketches, paintings, and articles.

Over time my equipment, observing skills, and sketching abilities have changed. Some of those changes can be detected in various sketches, particularly if one pays attention to textual information and dates.

A special "Thank You" goes out to the individuals who frequent the newsgroup sci.astro.amateur. Some of the changes that have been made in this site are a direct result of the discussion and input that has occurred in s.a.a. The very existance of this website is partially due to the gentle pressure that some s.a.a. posters have exerted. The rest of the pressure came from my wife and son, both of whom assisted in some aspects of getting this website up and running. Thanks Ann and Andrew.

Links Within this Website

Solar Sketches-----------------------------------Lunar Sketches
Planetary Sketches-------------------------------Planetary Sketches - page 2
Jupiter-SL9 Sketches----------------------------Comet Sketches
Comet Hyakutake Sketches----------------------Comet Hale-Bopp Sketches
Deep Sky Sketches------------------------------Deep Sky Sketches - page 2
Rough Sketches----------------------------------Paintings

Why make sketches?-----------------------------The Art of Astronomical Sketching
Character Sketch---------------------------------Links to Other Websites
Home-made Binocular Mount-----------------Home

Copyright © 2001 William H. Greer
All rights reserved

Site Creation Date: 9 February 2000
(Last Modified: 15 February 2005)