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Re: [comets-ml] Comet Prints

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  • RICHARD MILES
    Hi Chris, The drawing by Edmund Weiss of Donati s Comet (1858) appeared in his Bilder-Atlas der Sternenwelt. Eine Astronomie fur jedermann published in
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 1, 2010
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      Hi Chris,

      The drawing by Edmund Weiss of Donati's Comet (1858) appeared in his
      "Bilder-Atlas der Sternenwelt. Eine Astronomie fur jedermann" published in
      1887/88. It was used by Springer as the basis for the cover illustration of
      Martin Mobberley's book, "Hunting and Imaging Comets" which by the way was
      published last month - a very excellent and readable book, I might add.

      Note that there were several drawings and paintings made of Comet Donati the
      same evening as Weiss's, it being 1858 October 5. It was notable in that
      the comet's nucleus passed within about 0.3 degrees of the bright star,
      Arcturus, just a few days after perihelion and at its most spectacular.

      There is a watercolour painting of the comet by William Turner in the Paul
      Mellon art collection (it has been shown at the Royal Academy in London in
      1973 and again in 2007/8, when I viewed it) depicting the same view of the
      comet as seen from near Oxford at 19:00UT on October 5, a little earlier
      than the view by Weiss. The remarkable thing about this painting is that at
      the very time depicted, Arcturus was located 20 arcminutes behind the
      nucleus embedded centrally in the head of the come*t. Commentaries on the
      painting made in 1973 refer to "some dear little stylised stars in the
      blueing sky", and in 2007, "'Donati's Comet' is a surreal night-time view
      almost reminiscent of Magritte" and most particularly "Dozens of artists
      painted it while the comet became the first to have its photograph taken,
      which is why we know that Turner must have painted out the comet's secondary
      plasma tail as well as the bright star Arcturus which would have appeared
      near its head when the comet was at its brightest. Why Turner elected to
      airbrush astronomical truth is not known. Artistic licence is a funny
      thing."

      In actual fact, although William Turner was fairly elderly (about 69) when
      he painted Donati's comet, his rendition is very much true to life in that
      the "stylised stars" are indeed the ones visible at the time in the
      constellations of Corona Borealis, Bootes and Ursa Major. Furthermore if
      you look closely at the painting you can clearly see the star Arcturus
      within the bright head of the comet exactly where it should have been - so
      Turner did not airbrush out astronomical truth as the arts critics attested,
      they merely failed to look closely at the painting. Reproductions of the
      original painting fail to replicate Arcturus as a distinct feature owing to
      a loss of contrast in the copies. Also, Turner's view was of the comet in a
      bluish sky and so the fainter plasma tail might have been lost from view
      especially since the gas tail would have itself been bluish in colour.

      Returning to Weiss's drawing, if you look at the ephemeris for Donati's
      Comet (C/1858 L1) it depicts the comet as it would have been seen from North
      America and not Europe at the time, given the relative position of the comet
      and Arcturus. Weiss was aged 21 at the time and was working as an assistant
      at the old Vienna Observatory. So he could not have seen the comet as
      depicted with his own eyes. Instead, I suggest that because he visited some
      North American observatories in 1872, he based his illustration on an
      astronomical drawing made in the U.S. and then added a foreground of his own
      choosing. He seems to have used this approach for other illustrations in
      his Bilderatlas der Sternenwelt, which was published several times during
      the late 19th Century and which probably proved a useful source of income
      for him.

      Richard Miles
      BAA


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Mr Wyatt" <carlec@...>
      To: <comets-ml@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 2010 2:28 AM
      Subject: [comets-ml] Comet Prints


      > Hi all,
      >
      > I got bored the other day after all the rain we are having and found some
      > nice antique style posters of comet Donati (1858) and Great Comet of 1861
      > (Tebbutt) on this website (see down the bottom of the page):
      >
      > http://www.iscra.nl/celestial_maps_and_prints.htm
      >
      >
      >
      > E. Weiss made the drawings, I was wondering if anyone had heard or seen
      > these drawings. The heads of the comets are quite intricate, do you think
      > these drawings bona-fide?
      >
      > The posters would be a good addition to my astro collection.
      >
      >
      >
      > Cheers!
      >
      > Chris Wyatt
      >
      > Walcha, NSW
      >
      > Australia
    • jbortle@aol.com
      ... some ... Chris - Indeed I did and copies of some of those drawings have appeared in various past issues of the ICQ and Sky & Telescope magazine. In
      Message 2 of 8 , Dec 1, 2010
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        >Hi John,
        >
        >Thankyou for your reply.
        >
        >Did you ever sketch the comets you mentioned?
        >
        >I have sketched a few, I am no artist by any means but looking back on
        some
        >of mine they really do illuminate things that photographs can't.

        Chris -

        Indeed I did and copies of some of those drawings have appeared in various
        past issues of the ICQ and Sky & Telescope magazine. In addition, some
        years ago the ICQ ran an article I prepared on different methods of how to go
        about depicting these sorts of delicate, or subtle, features occasionally
        seen in the heads of very bright comets. That article, too, included some of
        my drawings.

        J.Bortle





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Mr Wyatt
        Hi Richard, Many thanks for your reply, I have Martins book marked down for future Christmas/birthday presents and I made sure my gf knows about it! Lol I
        Message 3 of 8 , Dec 1, 2010
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          Hi Richard,

          Many thanks for your reply,

          I have Martins book marked down for future Christmas/birthday presents and I
          made sure my gf knows about it! Lol



          I checked out William Turners painting on the web, it is a really nice
          painting!

          It is able to be purchased as a print as well, which is good.

          I enjoyed reading the breakdown of the painting, which is important in my
          mind as taking this information into the field you can really grasp the size
          of the comet.

          I remember explaining to some American gents with a laser pointer, who came
          out observing at Coonabarabran in 2009 ( http://www.3rf.com.au/AA_DSTSS.pdf
          ), the size of C/2007 P1 McNaught how it was to the naked eye and it still
          blows my mind today!



          From what you describe with Weiss' drawings do you think that some of the
          details in the comets head could have been imagined as well?

          Interesting stuff!



          Cheers,
          Chris W



          _____

          From: comets-ml@yahoogroups.com [mailto:comets-ml@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
          Of RICHARD MILES
          Sent: Wednesday, 1 December 2010 10:42 PM
          To: comets-ml@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [comets-ml] Comet Prints





          Hi Chris,

          The drawing by Edmund Weiss of Donati's Comet (1858) appeared in his
          "Bilder-Atlas der Sternenwelt. Eine Astronomie fur jedermann" published in
          1887/88. It was used by Springer as the basis for the cover illustration of
          Martin Mobberley's book, "Hunting and Imaging Comets" which by the way was
          published last month - a very excellent and readable book, I might add.

          Note that there were several drawings and paintings made of Comet Donati the

          same evening as Weiss's, it being 1858 October 5. It was notable in that
          the comet's nucleus passed within about 0.3 degrees of the bright star,
          Arcturus, just a few days after perihelion and at its most spectacular.

          There is a watercolour painting of the comet by William Turner in the Paul
          Mellon art collection (it has been shown at the Royal Academy in London in
          1973 and again in 2007/8, when I viewed it) depicting the same view of the
          comet as seen from near Oxford at 19:00UT on October 5, a little earlier
          than the view by Weiss. The remarkable thing about this painting is that at
          the very time depicted, Arcturus was located 20 arcminutes behind the
          nucleus embedded centrally in the head of the come*t. Commentaries on the
          painting made in 1973 refer to "some dear little stylised stars in the
          blueing sky", and in 2007, "'Donati's Comet' is a surreal night-time view
          almost reminiscent of Magritte" and most particularly "Dozens of artists
          painted it while the comet became the first to have its photograph taken,
          which is why we know that Turner must have painted out the comet's secondary

          plasma tail as well as the bright star Arcturus which would have appeared
          near its head when the comet was at its brightest. Why Turner elected to
          airbrush astronomical truth is not known. Artistic licence is a funny
          thing."

          In actual fact, although William Turner was fairly elderly (about 69) when
          he painted Donati's comet, his rendition is very much true to life in that
          the "stylised stars" are indeed the ones visible at the time in the
          constellations of Corona Borealis, Bootes and Ursa Major. Furthermore if
          you look closely at the painting you can clearly see the star Arcturus
          within the bright head of the comet exactly where it should have been - so
          Turner did not airbrush out astronomical truth as the arts critics attested,

          they merely failed to look closely at the painting. Reproductions of the
          original painting fail to replicate Arcturus as a distinct feature owing to
          a loss of contrast in the copies. Also, Turner's view was of the comet in a
          bluish sky and so the fainter plasma tail might have been lost from view
          especially since the gas tail would have itself been bluish in colour.

          Returning to Weiss's drawing, if you look at the ephemeris for Donati's
          Comet (C/1858 L1) it depicts the comet as it would have been seen from North

          America and not Europe at the time, given the relative position of the comet

          and Arcturus. Weiss was aged 21 at the time and was working as an assistant
          at the old Vienna Observatory. So he could not have seen the comet as
          depicted with his own eyes. Instead, I suggest that because he visited some
          North American observatories in 1872, he based his illustration on an
          astronomical drawing made in the U.S. and then added a foreground of his own

          choosing. He seems to have used this approach for other illustrations in
          his Bilderatlas der Sternenwelt, which was published several times during
          the late 19th Century and which probably proved a useful source of income
          for him.

          Richard Miles
          BAA

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Mr Wyatt" <carlec@... <mailto:carlec%40northnet.com.au> >
          To: <comets-ml@yahoogroups.com <mailto:comets-ml%40yahoogroups.com> >
          Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 2010 2:28 AM
          Subject: [comets-ml] Comet Prints

          > Hi all,
          >
          > I got bored the other day after all the rain we are having and found some
          > nice antique style posters of comet Donati (1858) and Great Comet of 1861
          > (Tebbutt) on this website (see down the bottom of the page):
          >
          > http://www.iscra.nl/celestial_maps_and_prints.htm
          >
          >
          >
          > E. Weiss made the drawings, I was wondering if anyone had heard or seen
          > these drawings. The heads of the comets are quite intricate, do you think
          > these drawings bona-fide?
          >
          > The posters would be a good addition to my astro collection.
          >
          >
          >
          > Cheers!
          >
          > Chris Wyatt
          >
          > Walcha, NSW
          >
          > Australia





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • john@menkescientific.com
          re comet prints, I unfortunately had only film (not CCD) when Hale-Bopp visited. But I was particularly interested in the structure of the gases around the
          Message 4 of 8 , Dec 1, 2010
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            re comet prints, I unfortunately had only film (not CCD) when Hale-Bopp
            visited. But I was particularly interested in the structure of the
            gases around the nucleus, but I've seen very few images or drawings of
            same--most show the tails, but not the inner coma/nucleus structure. My
            own images from that time were of low quality, but did show at least
            some of the structure. If someone has good sources or links, I'd be
            interested. Thanks.

            John Menke
            menkescientific.com

            On 12/01/2010 6:41 AM, RICHARD MILES wrote:
            > Hi Chris,
            >
            > The drawing by Edmund Weiss of Donati's Comet (1858) appeared in his
            > "Bilder-Atlas der Sternenwelt. Eine Astronomie fur jedermann" published in
            > 1887/88. It was used by Springer as the basis for the cover illustration of
            > Martin Mobberley's book, "Hunting and Imaging Comets" which by the way was
            > published last month - a very excellent and readable book, I might add.
            >
            > Note that there were several drawings and paintings made of Comet Donati the
          • sabiajohn
            I was able to photograph the inner coma of Hale-Bopp on film and a number of evening. Once I interupted public viewing to attach camera to telescope before the
            Message 5 of 8 , Dec 2, 2010
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              I was able to photograph the inner coma of Hale-Bopp on film and a number of evening. Once I interupted public viewing to attach camera to telescope before the comet would be very low by the time the crowd would have gotten a look.

              Here is link to low resolution image. I do have a few more digital copies from different evening. I may have my sketch from a morning. If memory serves me right it was Feb. 25, 1997 that I made the sketch and first viewed some activity in the coma, not sure of that date at the moment.

              http://www.keystone.edu/observatory/photo_gallery.dot?indexFolder=/observatory/photogallery/CometsandMeteors/&crumbTitle=Comets and Meteors

              I believe it is on one if NASA pages on the comet, but that site may be gone by now.

              John D Sabia
              s a b ia j o h n @ a o l . c o m

              --- In comets-ml@yahoogroups.com, john@... wrote:
              >
              > re comet prints, I unfortunately had only film (not CCD) when Hale-Bopp
              > visited. But I was particularly interested in the structure of the
              > gases around the nucleus, but I've seen very few images or drawings of
              > same--most show the tails, but not the inner coma/nucleus structure. My
              > own images from that time were of low quality, but did show at least
              > some of the structure. If someone has good sources or links, I'd be
              > interested. Thanks.
              >
              > John Menke
              > menkescientific.com
              >
              > On 12/01/2010 6:41 AM, RICHARD MILES wrote:
              > > Hi Chris,
              > >
              > > The drawing by Edmund Weiss of Donati's Comet (1858) appeared in his
              > > "Bilder-Atlas der Sternenwelt. Eine Astronomie fur jedermann" published in
              > > 1887/88. It was used by Springer as the basis for the cover illustration of
              > > Martin Mobberley's book, "Hunting and Imaging Comets" which by the way was
              > > published last month - a very excellent and readable book, I might add.
              > >
              > > Note that there were several drawings and paintings made of Comet Donati the
              >
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