Since we teach sketching as part of observing the heavens as part of our home-based ministry, it seemed fitting to take our friends through a little tour with a Christmas and New Year’s greeting card. We generally make our own card by sketching mini-sketches of observing sheets that we made during the last year along with a theme.
We typically observe a few times each month. Usually it occurs at home, but sometimes other places with equipment from friends. The objects on the upper section of the sketch are just a few that we saw this year.
The heavens are full of beautiful objects; many we return to observe. The upper corners show two nebulae. In both the original observing periods, we were using friends’ equipment. We cannot see the Tarantula (upper right) at our latitude, but an acquaintance in Australia was observing and broadcasting it on the Night Skies Network. We were watching it from Louisiana at a friend’s house, who captured the frame so we could study and sketch it later. The Iris Nebula (upper left) was observed using another friend’s scope during an observing ‘party’ in Luray, Virginia. The rest were all observed in our backyard at the Day 4 Observing Site. Whether observing the moon, comets, planets, or deep sky objects, they are a pleasure to observe.
At the lower right you can see a larger blue outline, representing earth—the privileged planet on which we live. From space it would appear to be a bright blue emerald with white clouds and a few land masses. The extremely thin ribbon of life on the planet, dominated by the presence of water, makes it utterly unique. From Genesis (Beginnings) to Revelation, the scriptures treat it the same way, explaining that it was purposefully made to be inhabited. In today’s environment, this is a radical premise, since predominant thinking asserts that the complexity and magnificence of what we see is self-generated, although many notable scientists and observers do not subscribe to the popular thought. But, the scriptures go further, announcing the village and other factors on earth surrounding the coming of the Messiah. So we have represented the event with a golden thread to a place in a village at the bottom right.
So with a little sketch, we give our greetings to friends, believers or not, and our hopes that you will close this year with thanks, some friends, some laughter, but also some quiet time to ponder those important questions that daily bustles tend to mask.