Scott Mellish Memorial Pages

Tributes to Scott Mellish  - From his work at the Australian Museum and his collegues in the astronomical field.

Scott Mellish Sketching or Drawing Competition. Scott Mellish was a long time and valued member of the Astronomical Society of NSW. His knowledge of amateur astronomy and dedication to observation and sketching was unrivaled within the society and much admired by all those who knew him.

In honour of his memory, the ASNSW is proud to announce the inaugural Scott Mellish Amateur Sketching or Drawing Competition. This competition will be held annually at the South Pacific Star Party and aims to promote the art of Sketching and Drawing within the world-wide amateur astronomical community. The competition is open to any member of an amateur astronomical society throughout the world and will be judged by popular vote during the star party on the 21st April 2012. Winners will be announced on the day.

Article on the Mellish Technique by his friend Alexander Massey. "Scott said to me “if you need averted vision to see a detail, then you should use averted vision to see it on your sketch”!!!  Yep, that’s right!"

Scott was Section Leader of the ASNSW's Deep Sky Observing Section.

As Section Leader for Deep Sky my duties are to ensure that members have enough information on various objects in the journal and on the website so as to enable them to get an idea as to what the sky has to offer. My articles on a variety of objects in my regular Sky Sketchers Post Mortem series has hopefully given some members the urge to go out and do some observing.

Whilst my knowledge is not one that delves into the scientific side too much, I have none the less a vast amount of information available for those who wish to start observing the many faint and wondrous objects that are on the threshold of visibility. My interest in the Deep Sky is one of a purely aesthetic nature; the feeling of being in harmony with the Universe can be quite humbling.

My specialty is observing Abell galaxy clusters and I am slowly working on a catalogue which will contain about a hundred or more galaxy clusters for amateur telescopes. Some of these clusters are among the faintest objects that amateurs can observe.

My other interest is also in the artistic side. I have done close to 300 sketches over the years and I am gradually placing them onto CD and will at some stage make them available for members. As with most hobbies, one likes to keep them that way. I therefore intend not to get too technical or make the section a Biblical epic and then find I have neither the time nor the means to keep up with matters at hand.

My observing is done at the Society’s superb Wiruna Deep Sky observing site at Ilford NSW where I use a homemade 16” (41cm) Dobsonian telescope, affectionately named the “Coffin”. This telescope has given me many years of enjoyment on my trek to the far reaches of the Universe. I also have a 22” (56cm) Dob under construction which will allow me to delve even deeper into the Cosmos when I finally get it up and running.

Scott's images and writings:

The pages that follow contain some of Scott's drawings and articles that he wrote. I have done some editing for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. I acquired some of Scott's images and writings from his sister, my partner Jodie. These pages are dedicated to Scott and to his sisters, Jodie and Tracey and to his Mum. I will be adding to them as time allows. Click on the links below to access his work.


GLOBULAR CLUSTERS - a selection of globular clusters with sketches made by Scott.

GALAXIES & GALAXY GROUPS - a selection of galaxies and galaxy groups with sketches made by Scott.


COLUMBA - Columba was created by Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius in 1592 in order to differentiate the 'unformed stars' of the large constellation Canis Major. Plancius first depicted Columba on the small celestial planispheres of his large wall map of 1592. It is also shown on his smaller world map of 1594 and on early Dutch celestial globes. Plancius originally named the constellation Columba Noachi ("Noah's Dove"), referring to the dove that gave Noah the information that the Great Flood was receding. This name is found on early 17th-century celestial globes and star atlases, the constellation was incorporated in 1603 by Johann Bayer in his sky atlas Uranometria.

SCULPTOR - A veritable mecca for galaxy hunters. The constellation of Sculptor was formed by Lacaille in 1752 from a bunch of inconspicuous stars lying between Cetus and Phoenix. There are few bright stars of note in the constellation, with most being no brighter than mag 4.5.

SERPENS - This constellation bears the name of the Serpent that Ophiuchus carries and it appears on both sides of him. With this in mind the constellation is then in two parts (Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda) with a total area of 637º sq.  It is one of the star groups contained in the Almagest of A.D. 150. Ptolemy assigned eighteen stars to it. The first portion is a scattered star group north of Libra which culminates at midnight around May 17th.


FIRST VIEW THROUGH A TWENTY TWO - The July new moon at Wiruna presented some more clear skies at Wiruna, and the new 56cm scope fitted with a ServoCat goto drive got another chance to inspect some more deep sky objects as part of the initial setup of the ArgoNavis and drive system.

THE DARK ART OF DEEP SKY SKETCHING - With all the new innovations with CCD photography and image processing amateur astronomy has become a little bit more sophisticated over the last 10 years or more. I must admit that I am rather impressed by the many amateur CCD images that one can view on the Internet and in various magazines. However being an observer who likes to enjoy the night sky by getting out there with my telescope, far away from the light pollution of urban areas, and enjoy observing the Cosmos with my very own eyes is something that can make you feel very humble and very noble all at once.


SKY SKETCHER'S POST MORTEM 1 - Hickson 16 (Galaxy group), NGC 7293 (Helix Nebula) and Palomar 8 (Globular cluster).

SKY SKETCHER'S POST MORTEM 2 - Charles Messier (26 June 1730 – 12 April 1817) was a French astronomer most notable for publishing an astronomical catalogue consisting of deep sky objects such as nebulae and star clusters that came to be known as the 110 ‘Messier objects’. The purpose of the catalogue was to help astronomical observers, in particular comet hunters such as himself, distinguish between permanent and transient objects in the sky. With this Post Mortem we will look at three Messier objects from the constellation of Virgo.

SKY SKETCHER'S POST MORTEM 3 - I have selected three objects for this Post Mortem which I have observed over the last few months at the ASNSW dark sky observing site Wiruna which I thought may be of interest for keen observers - NGC 1904 (M79), NGC 360, ESO 243-35, 243-37, 243-38.

SKY SKETCHER'S POST MORTEM 4 - Phoenix is one of those constellations that does not have too much in the way of bright objects, but despite this it makes up for the deficiency with a number of fine galaxy clusters of which Abell 2806 is one of the better examples.

SKY SKETCHER'S POST MORTEM 5 - It is always refreshing to do an annual trip into the constellation of Virgo and scratch another couple of galaxies off the observing list (which never seems to end when it concerns this constellation). Renowned as it is as the home to innumerable extra-galactic nebulae of which the vast majority can keep an avid deep sky observer gainfully employed for hours, if not years.

SKY SKETCHER'S POST MORTEM 6 - "The Galaxies in Praesepe". The open cluster M44 (Praesepe) in Cancer is an interesting enough object on its own. But here, with this article, we will look at the faint galaxies that lie within its boundaries. The Society's 17.5 inch f/4.5 Dobsonian telescope targeted these objects over the weekend 12 - 14th March at the Ilford property.

SKY SKETCHER'S POST MORTEM 7 - "A Couple of Spirals in Leo". I had the opportunity of a full night's observing with the club's 17.5 f/4.5 telescope after the regulars went home on the Sunday and Monday morning over the weekend 12th - 13th March. Monday afternoon started to look promising at around 4pm with a lovely blue sky, mild temperature and generally perfect conditions. Although Steve Mencinsky was up at the house, I still have misgivings about being in the paddock on my own. However as evening fell, my anxiety gave way to engrossing observations as I was in for an entire cloud-free, dewless and windless evening.

SKY SKETCHER'S POST MORTEM 8 - "M10 and M12 Twins in Ophiuchus". There is definitely no shortage of globular clusters to observe in the night sky, with the best of all residing in the far south. That is not to say that the notthern regions of sky do not have their little "gems" as well. Though most of us Southern Hemisphere observers are privy to the vast heavenly riches that abound in the antipodean skies, and gladly torment our poor northern cousins.

SKY SKETCHER'S POST MORTEM 9 - "July 1996 at Wiruna". It may be a bit late to be writing about objects that I observed and sketched in July, but I held off with this article because the objects dealt with are all galaxies which do not print too well in the journal.  Firstly we have here a semi edge on spiral in Grus, NGC 7410. Basically your regular type of cigar shaped faint galaxy at around mag 11.0 Some brightness towards it's centre is apparent, but not a stand out feature. I would say this galaxy is about 4.0' x 1.0' in size.

SKY SKETCHER'S POST MORTEM 10 - "3 Objects in Fornax" The constellation Fornax would have to be synonymous with galaxies. They abound within its confines and can keep one engrossed in observing for hours on end. However with this small article we will not visit a galaxy to start with, but a splendid planetary nebula which I had not bothered to observe in the past until Max Gardner mentioned it in passing which in turn sparked my interest.