October 16, 2018

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Sculptural Sketch

Originally published August 2, 2009 LPOD-Aug2-09.jpg
image by Rich Handy, Jacumba, California

Here is a "sculptural sketch" created at the eyepiece of my telescope. It started as a flattened rectangular slab of modeling clay about 1/4" inch thick and 11" by 13" in size. As I observed, I laid down thin strips of clay to form the glacis around each crater. I then used a butter knife to excavate the crater floors. I tried to keep in mind the true topographical relief of each feature. For example, Aristillus, the deepest crater is merely 5/16" deep from rim crest to floor. I "normalized" the sculpture by imagining what these features would look like if I were to see the view from directly above the area. The next morning, I sanded white and black dry pastels into a powder that was blended and applied by sponge to approximate the albedo features. What really surprised and delighted me was that despite the shallowness of the surface details, when the light source was adjusted to approximate the phase, the highlights and shadows created a very realistic scene. As I was working, I remembered Nasmyth and Carpenter’s beautiful plaster scuptures of the Moon for their classic The Moon: Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite (1885); page 114 shows their exquisite sculpture of this area.

Rich Handy

Technical Details
7-31-09 Time: 0540-0730 UT. 12" Meade LX200 SCT with UHTC + Denkmeier Model DII SCT 2X binoviewer with Pentax 20mm XW eyepieces (152X and 305X). Antoniadi III Weather: Clear and calm. Modeling clay sculpture with dry pastel powder, 11" x 13".

Related Links
Rükl plates 12 & 22

Yesterday's LPOD: What is Undarum?

Tomorrow's LPOD: Slip Sliding Away


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