Star Log 2022-10-28 (Fairbanks, Alaska, US) + Aurora Photos

Despite previous forecasts to the contrary, God opened the skies up in the evening, and I had clear skies to work with from 8pm AKDT onward. So I was unexpectedly given a great opportunity for stargazing late in the evening, and I was not disappointed. I got to do some work with my 60mm refractor, drawing some star fields near Cassiopia and Perseus, which was good. But the highlight of the evening was an awesome, dynamic display of green aurora, which started sometime around 9pm and was very energetic around 10pm-10:30pm. The display was still ongoing when I quit for the evening at about 10:30pm.

Aurora Photos

I was able to get a few beautiful but slightly fuzzy photos using my wife's cell phone, which has a night-time long-exposure mode:

Aurora 2022-10-28 (Fairbanks, AK, US)

Aurora 2022-10-28 (Fairbanks, AK, US)

Aurora 2022-10-28 (Fairbanks, AK, US)

Aurora 2022-10-28 (Fairbanks, AK, US)

Aurora 2022-10-28 (Fairbanks, AK, US)

Aurora 2022-10-28 (Fairbanks, AK, US)

There was not much diversity in color — just green with some flecks of red occasionally — but it became very dynamic around 10pm, with enormous waves rippling across the sky, like a visualization of some celestial music. I was overwhelmed at that moment with a profound sense of God's power and majesty, and found myself desiring to chant a hymn in the cold air. The one which came to mind was a Christmas carol:

O Holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appears and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees; O hear the Angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night, O Holy night, O night divine!


The evening felt very cold, with the temp at +4°F and a dampness from high-humidity. But I had put on some good cold weather gear and I was able to do a little exploring with the 60mm refractor, though my fingers got colder and stiffer than I would have liked. I started with a drawing of Jupiter, being able to see four moons as usual. Next, I want to see if I could find certain deep sky objects south of Cassiopia and north of Perseus. In the end, I missed what I was looking for, but I did get drawings of two groups of stars, which I should be able to use later for star-hopping to find other objects. Here are scans of all the drawings:

Stargazing Notes 2022-10-28 (page 1)

Stargazing Notes 2022-10-28 (page 2)

Sorry if they are not very good drawings, but one must hurry when it is cold out and the fingers are getting numb.

44 Cas

I was looking some deep sky objects which were below and to the left of Ruchbach in Cassiopia. I don't think I observed them, but I took a drawing of the stars around 44 Cas, with my 25mm eyepiece.

Location of 44 Cas

Stellarium representation of my view around 44 Cas (inverted horizontally)

It was fun to draw, and this should help me to find other objects in the future.

V425 Per

I took a drawing of the stars around V425 Per.

Location of V425 Per

Stellarium representation of my view around V425 (inverted horizontally)

Interestingly, the star cluster NGC 957 was within my field of view, but I didn't realize it. If I had, I would have tried out the 12.5mm eyepiece on that lower section. The stars seemed rather dim that night — maybe a combination of the humidity, light pollution, and the light from the aurora which was just warming up.

Wikipedia image of NGC 957

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