New Astronomy magazine columnist Erika Rix. // Credit: Erika Rix
I’m delighted to announce that experienced sky observer and longtime amateur astronomer Erika Rix of Liberty Hill, Texas, will join Astronomy
magazine as a columnist beginning with the January 2013 issue. Erika is a wonderfully talented artist whose eyepiece drawings of astronomical objects preserve memories of great nights out under the stars. Erika’s new column, “Astro sketching,” will replace the page that I’ve created over the past few years, “Deep-sky Showcase.” Erika’s column will feature her own eyepiece drawings and those of others, depicting both solar system and deep-sky objects.
Erika’s fascination with the stars began at an early age, but it wasn’t until her adult years that she bought her first scope. The Moon initially caught her eye, and soon thereafter, she brought charcoal and paper to the eyepiece in an attempt to somehow visually record her observations and hone her observing skills. Meanwhile, the hobby grew, and along with it, the techniques she uses to render her views.
Outreach and sharing observing and sketching techniques form Erika’s interest in astronomy outreach. She wrote a beginner’s tutorial for Christian Legrand and Patrick Chevalley’s Virtual Moon Atlas
software and eventually co-authored two sketching books: Astronomical Sketching: A Step-by-Step Introduction
(Springer-Verlag, 2007) and Sketching the Moon: An Astronomical Artist’s Guide
Erika’s astronomical sketches have been displayed in the International Year of Astronomy 2009 Astronomical Art Exhibit held in Birr Castle, County Offaly, Ireland, where William Parsons, the Third Earl of Rosse, made his historic observations of “spiral nebulae.” Many of Erika’s drawings have been published in astronomy websites, newsletters, magazines, and other astronomy books. In 2010, she presented a solar sketching workshop at the Northeast Astronomy Forum & Telescope Show (NEAF) in Suffern, New York, and she’s delivered sketching presentations and workshops for other local astronomy clubs and events.
Erika and her husband, Paul, recently moved to the vicinity of Austin, Texas, where they now enjoy a warm climate with a more southern latitude. She is a member of the Austin Astronomical Society and volunteers at outreach events as well as serves as the club’s newsletter editor.
All of us at Astronomy
are proud to have Erika joining the team. Look forward to her writing and her magnificent drawings soon!