Pluto’s Sputnik Planum


This is a painting of the Planet, or currently known as Dwarf planet Pluto.

The painting is of Pluto’s Sputnik Planum. An area lay in the center of Pluto’s predominant feature the heart.

Pluto’s Sputnik Planum. The view is from an orbit or a flyby distance.

The artwork depicts the view from orbit of the dwarf planet Pluto and it moons Charon.

You can also see the two moons Hydra and Nix.

Also, lost with the background stars, the other last two moons Styx and Kerberos are included in this view.

The painting started in 2015 and finished today’s morning. It started right after the Space craft New Horizon beamed back to Earth its data after it made its flyby in 2015 after nearly 10 years journey.

The view imagined as if it would look like from a camera with a telescopic lens 21,060 miles (33,900 kilometers) above the surface.

The brightness of the sun was calculated and simulated to resemble how it would look like from there.

The moons were also simulated and the apparent size was calculated with a telescopic lens point of view in mind.

The Moon Charon, which is the largest satellite of the Plutonian system is re-imagined in a different position of its orbit than what it was like when the Space Craft made its flyby. This shift was done to fit the Plutonian system and the Sputnik Planum to be in the same frame of the image.

I assume the colors of the surface would be less saturated to the naked eye, however, a long exposure camera with the right white balance would bring a similar color.

The work done on this painting took several sessions, and many hours, and was done between two or three years.

I hope you enjoy this work, and there will be many paintings to come about this Dwarf planet and many other celestial objects in our Solar System and beyond.




Arrival to Ceres

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The dwarf Planet Ceres has been taking a considerable time from space news feeds in all sort of media. The new latest images from Ceres Dawn Mission is provoking many imagary for the imagination, specially the bright spots at the bottom of some of it’s craters.

The space craft Dawn will arrive to Ceres orbit within the next 10 days.

I can’t wait my self to see a higher resolution of the surface, and more data and knowledge of the dwarf planet Ceres and it’s elusive water, from this mission, however, until then, here is a painting of what it might look like out there soon.

Dawn Spacecraft in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres
Dawn Spacecraft in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres
The painting is inspired by the new images that was received from the spacecraft Dawn.

Let’s hope to see more updates and understanding of this celestial object very soon.

Until then…



Asteroid Ceres & Vesta July viewing

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The sky this summer has two visitors from the asteroid belt that are getting with close range to each other visually to an observer from the surface of Earth. Recently both were promoted to be called dwarf planets by the text books.

For most of the year, (from observations and public open source data on the web) the two asteroids will be within few angular degrees from each other, and just recently, there at their closest point in July 4th/5th.

At the night of July-9th-2014, both asteroids were in the Virgo constellation area in the sky. Around 10 pm, the asteroids looked above the planet Mars and the star Spica (Mars and Spica were two degrees and a quarter apart from each other). As shown in the pictures taken this night, Ceres and Vesta were trapped between the stars Spica and Zeta Virgo.

Ceres and Vesta

Ceres is the one in the left, and Vesta is on its right side. Vesta looked brighter with magnitude of 6.38~6.7 than Ceres which had a magnitude of 7.69~8. (Again, the smaller the magnitude number, the bright the object is). Ceres roughly is twice the size of Vesta, however, due to asteroids locations from the Sun, and from Earth, it worked out for Vesta to be brighter in this time of their orbits.

The distance of Vesta that night was 1.818 AU, and Ceres to be 2.38 AU from Earth.

AU = Astronomical Unit = the average distance of earth from the Sun = 150 million Kilometers (93 million miles).

The visual separation of the asteroids was nearly 18 arcmin and a half. (Roughly, 2 thirds the appearing size of the Moon from earth surface).

The location in which the observations were taken was at South Fork trail in Santa Clarita, near the old bridge (Pictures included of the bridge) which had less light pollution than down town Los Angeles.

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July – 9th -2014

Santa Clarita, California.