Star Gazing and Aurora 2023-02-16 Morning (Fairbanks, AK, USA)

When I got up this morning at around 3:30am AKST, I was surprised to see "few clouds" in the PAFA hourly report. NWS surface report showed a higher pressure over much of northern two-thirds of Alaska, though with a low pressure trough some ways south of Fairbanks, and the cloud cover showing in GOES basically harmonized with that. Temps were down to -19 deg F. This was all contrary to the weather forecasting which had shown at least 50% cloud coverage and lows of only -11 deg F. So, I was a bit confused, but I decided to rush down to the boat launch.

When I arrived, I was happy to be greeted with a phenomenal Aurora display that was dynamic green and pink, and covered much of the sky, in north, south, and west directions especially. At one point, toward the south, I could distinquish three dynamic and distinct layers, with the middle layer curving into a circle shape in the middle. Unfortunately I did not get any photographs. I was aware yesterday of Kp4-Kp5 geomagnetic storm conditions, but I didn't think I would get to observe any Aurora because of the cloudy weather forecasts.

this morning's Kp report from

With the aurora going on, even making it somewhat difficult to see the stars, I decided to not use the telescope, but do mainly naked eye stargazing. I played around with the binocs, but it was so cold that it was difficult to use them much. Temps dropped down to -22 deg F by the time I left, around 5:30am. I did, however, have a decent view of constellations to the north and to the west, and have a pretty good memory of Gemini, Auriga, Perseus, and Cassiopia:

north-west view in Stellarium

north-west view in Stellarium, with constellation art

I focused on Cassiopia especially, which for some reason was more clear.

Cassiopia, zoomed in

I also noticed a dot about 5 degrees SE of Ruchbah (δ Cas) which was blinking briefly about once a second, for about a minute. Airplane...?

It was pretty cold out, which created some challenges, but I am thankful for another wonderful opportunity to see the Creator's amazing light display in the Aurora and in the stars.

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.