It was a period of days during a lunar cycle that would normally seem easy to watch the moon, but it demanded persistence to observe for a number of reasons. The story comes after the sketches.
The first opportunity we had to observe together during this lunar cycle was May 29th. We aimed our observation at the crater “J. Herschel” but also set up the time to broadcast a sketch lesson on Night Skies Network. This means I set up before sunset, as you can see in the inset on my sketch below.
I set up the scope with astro-video, which I run into the house to a monitor that both of us can see together. Each of us watch the monitor but also use laptops to communicate on NSN. I controlled the broadcast details that go to NSN, which can be the output from the telescope or an output from a little security camera at our sketch station. The latter is used so we can broacast our sketch development, which helps the NSN “students” follow the same steps at their locations. Usually people from 3 or 4 nations are involved, so this is a wonderful way for them to learn how to observe, whether it is night or day, have equipment or don’t have any. The sound for the sketch lesson uses the microphones embedded in one of our laptops, although we can text in the NSN chat box also.
Linda set up her sketch area a few feet from mine in the house just before we started a couple hours later. The room becomes sort of jumbled with wires and equipment, so we have to tip toe through the maze when we take breaks. You can see her area in the her sketch below along with an inset that shows her sketch area.
She did her work on black paper but also answered questions on the chat box while she worked. At various times, when I needed to run out to the scope and adjust settings, she would answer questions on NSN. I had to keep the scene centered, too, since everyone was trying to sketch at once. Sometimes I had to cover the 60 foot distance pretty quick as we would get engrossed in the process and start losing the scene.
A few days later repeated the whole arrangement again, but made the target the whole full moon. This is a wonderful exercise for any sketcher, but especially newcomers that have never tried to get the whole disc. I had to switch to a special lens on the scope to get the wide field.
Linda and I both worked at the same sketch station in the house we did a few nights before. Like the night with Herschel, we had 10-15 folks with us on NSN. Several followed the process and sketched or just enjoyed the view. Linda’s sketch (to the left) was the first time she had ever tried sketching the whole face of the moon.
I caught a contrail from a jet when we were almost done, so I talked about how to capture an instant event like this. We wrapped up in a couple hours. As with Herschel, she used black paper but I used white. As we explained, the steps to do a sketch like this are the approximately the same. The whole process keeps us pretty busy during the 2 hours.
It has been a few days as we considered the two evenings, which were done under not-so easy circumstances. In addition to the extra time and effort to broadcast the lessons on NSN as well as sketch, Linda is limited because of ongoing chemotherapy, which causes side effects. So why bother? Why be so persistent? Why bother when life may be limited (her endometrial cancer is Stage IVB). Why not vacation and take it easy?
…because, you never know what is ahead. God may heal her. His sustainment as sure been obvious over the last 20 years and five cancers. It can happen.
…because you never know what is ahead. He may not heal her or He can take me home first. In either case, we would have limited opportunities together to teach kids and adults about the created heavens. We need to make sure they are done well. Would God want any less?
…because you never know what is ahead. Some of the greatest things done are small things during very brief moments. If we do things with an eye of faith in Christ Jesus, the things most important for us to do may yet lie ahead. Do we dare back off of keeping skills current and our testimony active if this is the case?
…because we never know what is ahead. We don’t recall scriptures like the one below having any time limit or stage of life in which they are not true….
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:23-24
Note of thanks: Thank you, Jim Turner, for the capabilities of NSN that make our lessons possible.