Star Log 2023-01-17 Evening (Fairbanks, AK, US)

Yesterday evening the skies cleared up unexpectedly, so I started a stargazing session about 8:30pm AKST at the Chena Pump rd boat launch. I decided to take a gamble this time and bring the PowerSeeker 127EQ telescope, instead of my familiar 60AZ-M. The 127 still lacks a working targeting scope, so I just stole the one off the 60AZ-M.

I started off with the 25mm eyepiece, and I was blown away by how much brighter the stars were in the 127 vs the 60AZ-M, and how many more stars I could see. I didn't imagine there would so much difference. Patches of sky which used to look like a few dim stars suddenly became bright clusters of dozens of stars. M42, for example, previously just looked like a little glow of light, but now I could see definite shapes of nebula cloud. Here is a drawing I did of M42 with the 12.5mm eyepiece:

Logbook 2023-01-17

If I can see this much better with a the 127, which is more of a budget 5-inch model with a flat mirror, it makes me eager to try something like a pricey eight-inch model. But that doesn't seem likely to happen soon, unless I get another donation.

I wanted to provide a similiar screenshot from Stellarium, but somehow the view in Stellarium didn't seem very similar to what I drew — like a number of stars were missing in Stellarium. Instead I cropped and rotated a public domain NASA photo from Wikipedia:

Similiar M42 photo

Here is one screenshot from Stellarium to show where M42 is located:

Stellarium screenshot of Orion

I really wanted to look at Jupiter, but unfortunately it was stuck behind some trees. I tried to look at Mars, but I had a lot of trouble fidgeting with the scope positioning. I kept running into this problem where I would swing the scope up to the elevation I wanted, to bring the target within view, but after tightening down the screw, I would release my hand and the scope would move another 1 degree or so away from the target. And the exact amount of movement kept changing so I couldn't simply factor that in. I'm going to have to take a closer look at that system before I try to use it again in a real stargazing session.

I saw some green Aurora as well, in the last thirty minutes of my session (about 10-10:30pm AKST) but it wasn't a very dynamic show so I didn't take any pictures.

Proxied content from gemini://

Gemini request details:

Original URL
Status code
Proxied by

Be advised that no attempt was made to verify the remote SSL certificate.