Star Log 2022-10-24 (Fairbanks, Alaska, US)

The last two weeks have been almost nonstop overcast weather, during the night at least. The last few days have had a solid sheet of cloud covering the whole sky. I think we were stuck in some kind of warm, moist air mass.

Last night was thick as well, but the skies suddenly cleared up in the late morning, so that I was able to get in about 30 minutes of star gazing. Only my 4x binoculars were handy, and I didn't have time to draw anything. I was able to look for a few minutes at Taurus, and I also got a decent survey of some star patterns in Perseus.

Something of interest I learned to recognize lately is the asterism known as the "Winter Hexagon":

Winter Hexagon

In the Stellarium screenshot above, if you trace these bright stars, you get a hexagon-like shape: Rigel (Orion's foot), Aldebaran (the bright star in Taurus), Capella, Pollux, Procyon, and Sirius. I noticed it first on my planisphere. It shows up in the evening sky in late December, which I'm guessing is the reason it is called the Winter Hexagon. But it is also visible in earlier months during the early morning hours. This morning, Mars was brightly visible in the middle of the Hexagon.

Because of the clear skies during the day, I was able to take another solar observation with my solar binoculars. I observed three spots in two groups near the east and west edges, which matches what I see on the SOHO continuum image, except the SOHO image shows a dim third group in the middle of the sun.

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