Moon gazing 2023-02-25 Evening (Fairbanks, AK, USA)

The skies cleared up a little last night — not enough that I felt comfortable going star gazing, but enough for a good view of the waxing crescent moon.

This also seemed like a fun opportunity to try out my Davis Mark 15 sextant, which I got for Christmas. I can't see the horizon from my neighborhood, unfortunately, so I used the flat part of the end of our road for the horizon, and I didn't try to make any dip correction. After calibrating the sextant, I took a reading of the moon at 33° 20'. Stellarium showed a little over 32° at that time, so I felt that turned out pretty well given the circumstances.

I did my moon gazing with the PowerSeeker 127EQ. I tried out the new slow adjust cables which had recently arrived, and these made the experience dramatically better. I'd even say that it is pointless trying to use the telescope without them. Now I just have to use the elevation handle once to center on the moon vertically, and then turn the RA handle a little every few minutes to keep the object centered horizontally.

I had some trouble with telescope wobble: each time I would touch any part of the telescope, including the focus knobs or slow adjust handles, or even the eyepiece, the telescope tube would vibrate badly left and right along the RA plane, settling after two seconds or so. This was very annoying. Maybe it has something to do with the balance of the system after I clip the tube onto the mount.

As far as moon gazing, I focused on the area starting at Mare Nectaris, down along the terminator line. Here is a Stellarium screenshot reproducing what I saw in my PowerSeeker, which has the view rotated 180°. However, my telescope view looked better and sharper than the Stellarium bitmap.

Stellarium screenshot of moon view

Some features of interest to me where

- Fracastorius

- Piccolomini

- Rabbi Levi

- Metius and Fabricius

- the Vallis Reheita

These can be seen in this clip from the USGS image:

USGS moon map

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